Armstrong’s Owen Barker has been signed by the newly sold Vancouver franchise in the National Lacrosse League (NLL).
Barker, who turns 24 in late September, is one of 13 players under contract for the Vancouver team once known as the Stealth. The (NLL), the largest men’s professional indoor lacrosse league in North America, announced the sale of the Stealth to Canucks Sports & Entertainment in June.
The new Vancouver franchise will begin play during the 2018-19 season at Rogers Arena under a new team name, logo and brand. Their head coach, Chris Gill, previously coached Barker with the Senior A Western Lacrosse Association WLA) Maple Ridge Burrards in 2016.
The NLL will hold a combine at the Langley Events Centre Saturday, Sept. 8 for players from the Vancouver region. The combine will encompass one full day and consist of fitness and lacrosse testing and a practice run by NLL team coaching staffs.
Barker, meanwhile, helped boost the Maple Ridge Burrards to the WLA title Saturday night with a 9-8 win over the host Victoria Shamrocks at the Q Centre. The Burrards took the best-of-seven series 4-1.
The feisty 5-foot-11, 205-pound Barker led the Burrards in penalty minutes with 67 during the regular season. The former Armstrong Junior Shamrock pocketed eight goals and 11 points in 16 games and added two goals in nine playoff tilts.
Maple Ridge swept the New Westminster Salmonbellies, who finished atop the league this season, in four straight to reach the WLA final.
The Burrards will now move on to face the winner of Ontario’s Major Series Lacrosse championship, being played between the Oakville Rock and the Peterborough Lakers. That series is tied at one win each.
Barker bagged his first Mann Cup goal in 2016 in Maple Ridge’s 9-7 overtime loss to the host Six Nations Chiefs in Game 3 of the Canadian Senior A Lacrosse championship at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena in Hagersville, Ont.
Burrards goaltender Frank Scigliano was named the game’s first star as he made 45 saves, while their leading scorer through the playoffs Curtis Dickson was the third star. He compiled 4+2 and supplied the winner as the Burrards were ragging the ball with under a minute left and an 8-7 lead.