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Vernon player scores four in final for Canada

Aidan Wattie helps Canadian Development Team beat host Australia 10-4 in box lacrosse final in Melbourne

Aidan Wattie saved his best for last.

The Vernon Iron Ghost Construction Tigers sophomore forward scored four goals to lead Canada Development Team (CANDT) to a 10-4 win over host Australia in the final of the 2023 IIJL Commonwealth Cup box lacrosse tournament March 15-18 at the Altona Lacrosse Club and Alan Lewer Box Court in Melbourne.

“The competition was pretty decent,” said Wattie, a Grade 11 student at Vernon Secondary. “The whole tournament was a really great experience, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I really enjoyed it.”

Established in 2019, the inaugural IIJL Commonwealth Cup was scheduled to take place in Australia in March 2020 but was canceled due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Canada played three round-robin games against city/state teams from Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth. The Australians took the best players from those three teams to play Canada in the tournament final.

Wattie was held off the scoresheet in the tournament opener, a 12-10 win over the Melbourne Storm. He scored twice in Canada’s 20-14 victory over the Adelaide Thunder, and added one marker in a 16-8 decision over the Perth Fury. His four goals in the championship game brought his final tournament total to seven.

As the first Canadian junior team in history to visit Australia and promote box lacrosse globally, the CANDT roster was utilized domestically to evaluate players ahead of the 2023 IIJL World Junior and World U18 Lacrosse Championships.

“The sport is growing in Australia,” said Wattie who along with Chilliwack’s Noah Choi of the Coquitlam Adanacs were the only B.C. players on the Canadian roster.

Australian Box Lacrosse will take a similar approach with the three city/state teams competing, further narrowing down the roster for the 2023 IIJL World Junior Lacrosse Championship Aug. 7-12, 2023.

Wattie said CANDT had one practice in Melbourne and spent a lot of time sight-seeing.

The forward now turns his attention to the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League season which sees the Tigers open against the Kamloops Venom Saturday, April 15, at Armstrong’s Nor-Val Sports Centre (7 p.m.). The Tigers merged with the Armstrong Shamrocks for 2023, and will play home games in Armstrong, Vernon and Salmon Arm.

Wattie’s international experience served as a pre-cursor to league play.

“Now that I have some games under my belt, I’m ready to go for the Tigers, looking forward to the season,” said Wattie, who has also been named as an alternate with Team B.C.’s field lacrosse team.

READ MORE: Vernon lacrosse player selected to Canada squad

READ MORE: North Okanagan well represented for B.C. Summer Games

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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