Brief season was a blast with the Kodiaks finishing in 2nd place
Article & images by Tim Burgess
Involving speed and constant trickery, what is labelled as the fastest game on 2 feet, Major Series Lacrosse returned this year for the Cobourg Kodiaks with a round-robin series held in Oakville at the Toronto Rock Athletic Center.
“Everything happened so suddenly after the provincial announcement go-ahead with games that we couldn’t get an arena to practice or play. Without the help of Jamie Dawick, owner of the Toronto Rock Athletic Center offering up his facility, the series wouldn’t have happened,” explains John Webb, co-owner and general manager of the Cobourg Kodiaks.
Although abbreviated, the season allowed new draft pick players who haven’t been able to show off their skills due to the lockdown to prove their mettle. “This was their opportunity to show what they can do playing at this level,” says John who brought the team from Kitchener/Waterloo to Cobourg in 2016.
For a year and a half, the team has had no revenue and are very thankful for community sponsorship that has helped them through.
Getting onto a playing court has been a huge frustration. “We haven’t been able to play since our last official game at the end of July 2019,” says Dylan Hutchinson number 55 and in his 4th season with the Kodiaks.
Lacrosse is a very fast-paced game that is sometimes compared to a combination of hockey and basketball. Getting back into the groove for the team has been a great experience.
“We came together and found some success and it really was a lot of fun for everyone,” he explains, “We had a different line up every night, some 40 guys suiting up over 8 games with no practices. It was a tough start but we pulled it together thanks to our coach.”
Another player, Cam Milligan, number 7, in his second season with the Kodiaks said, “I am super excited for the future of the Kodiaks. We had a great season finishing in second place and we have a solid foundation for us to build off of going into the future and I am looking forward to playing again next summer for the 2022 season.”
To prepare for the 2022 season, players will be attending training camps with some will be playing in the NLL and others joining their university teams.
This year’s 8-game series allowed team management to finally evaluate the 11 new draft picks from 2 years ago. The Kodiaks normal player roster has around 25 players that turned into 40 this year as Head Coach Jim Milligan brought the team from 0-2 in the first two games to a very solid 2nd place standing at the end of the series.
“This was a quick and very competitive 8 game series”, explains Coach Milligan who started with the team in 2019, 25 years of experience in lacrosse under his belt, “The players played their hardest, made quick adjustments and you could tell they were playing for something big each game. They are professionals, in how they act and how they play. We will now take some time to process this past season. We have great fans in Cobourg, we have put out a good product and they come out and support it.”
The 6 Major Series League teams get their players from the Ontario Junior Lacrosse league by drafting and trading. Each year when the Major Lacrosse League finishes, players are selected to play at the highest level of lacrosse play, the National Lacrosse League (NLL). These are the best lacrosse players in the world and the Cobourg Kodiaks each year have around 13-14 players move up to the NLL.
Cam Milligan, who led the team in scoring, explains, “The travel was the biggest challenge for this series, having to travel to the other side of Toronto twice a week was a lot different than having the opportunity to play home games in Cobourg or close by in places like Brooklin and Peterborough. We certainly missed playing at the Cobourg Community Centre in front of all our fans. However, I am very grateful that Oakville was able to provide us with a place to play lacrosse again.”
Next year will be a fresh beginning with training camp starting in April. Home games for the 2022 season will begin in June at 6 pm Sunday nights at the Cobourg Community Centre. Games are streamed on YouTube by JVI Sports network.