He’s the Wayne Gretzky of the 2022 National Lacrosse League draft.
Vernon’s Kaden Doughty was selected in the sixth round Saturday, Sept. 10, 99th overall, by the Calgary Roughnecks.
“I entered the draft by throwing my name in and my name got selected,” Doughty, 21, said from Peterborough, Ont., where he is playing for the Mann Cup Canadian Senior A Lacrosse Championship with the Western Lacrosse Association’s Langley Thunder.
“They (Roughnecks) called me yesterday (Sunday), but they know I’m at the Mann Cup so they kept it short. Once the Mann Cup is done, then we’ll talk about travel plans and a contract.
“When it (selection) first happened, it didn’t seem real. It didn’t hit me right away. Now, a couple of days later, it’s super exciting and I’m thrilled about it.”
Doughty, who works construction in and around Langley, has spent the last two seasons in the B.C. Junior A Lacrosse League with the Langley Junior Thunder. He made the jump after playing Junior B for his hometown Vernon Tigers of the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League.
Doughty helped Langley reach the 2022 BCJALL final, where they lost in six games to the Victoria Shamrocks. He began the season as an offensive player but returned to his defensive roots which helped the Roughnecks draft him as a defender.
“At the end of the year, I played the last two regular season games as a defender, which is what I played in Vernon, and all of the playoffs,” he said.
After the series, Doughty and four other teammates were called up to the Langley Senior Thunder, and helped the squad win its third WLA championship with a 4-1 series win over the Nanaimo Timbermen to advance to the Mann Cup, which has not been contested since 2019 due to COVID.
The Thunder are playing the Peterborough Lakers, who won the Mann Cup in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Langley has won the first two games of the best-of-seven series, 16-11 and 15-14 in double overtime. They are trying to become the first WLA team since the Victoria Shamrocks in 2015 to win the national championship.
Doughty has been a healthy scratch for the first two games but is expected to suit up for Game 3 Monday, Sept. 12.
“It’s some of the craziest lacrosse I’ve ever seen,” said Doughty of watching the first two games from the press box. “The fans have been out of this world.”
“It’s pretty crazy to think I’d be here at the Mann Cup. It’s the experience of a lifetime.”
Doughty is the second former North Okanagan minor and junior player linked to the NLL. Former Armstrong Junior Shamrock Owen Barker plays for the Vancouver Warriors.