Langley Events Centre teams: Off-season deals being made for lacrosse and hockey

Vancouver Stealth and Vancouver Giants announce further personnel changes.

Short of a sorting through a few legalities, a 30-year-old left-hand player has just signed to play lacrosse in Langley for another two years.

The Vancouver Stealth team, based out of the Langley Events Centre, has signed Corey Small, one of the team’s highest scorer.

“I am very excited to be returning to the Vancouver Stealth. From the top down, the organization is first class,” Small said Friday, when the announcement was made.

After missing the 2014 season due to injury, the Ontario native returned to the Edmonton Rush in 2015. But was traded to the Vancouver Stealth shortly into the season and bounced back in a big way.

Small is coming off the best season of his career, tying a Stealth franchise record for most points in a single season, said Stealth president and general manager Doug Locker.

Since he joined the Stealth in January 2015, Small has dressed in 51 regular season games, scoring 114 goals, receiving 152 assists, and earning 266 points.

““As an organization, we could not be happier today,” Locker said.

“Corey is among the elite players in the (National Lacrosse League) NLL and we are thrilled that he will be a member of the Stealth organization for the next several seasons.”

Last season, Small had 111 points to his credit, the third best in the NLL, meaning he finished second in the league with 46 goals, third with 65 assists, and runner-up as the league’s Most Valuable Player, Locker elaborated.

Anxious to get back in the lacrosse box, Small said he’s looking forward to another “great season” and another run at the Champion’s Cup with the Stealth.

Speaking highly of the Langley-based team, saying: “They have given me every opportunity to be successful in the league and grow into the player I am today.”

Monday announcements

In the meantime, on Monday, the Stealth also announced signing of three more players.

Matt Beers has been signed to a two-year contract, while Pete McFetridge and Evan Messenger are signed to one-year contracts – again pending league approval.

Beers, the defensive stalwart, has spent the entirety of his seven-year NLL career with the Stealth organization. He is coming off one of the “best” seasons of his career, Locker said, noting he scored four goals, 11 assists and 15 points in 16 games.

Beers set a career high in loose balls collecting 95 on the season and the 500th of his career.

McFetridge was drafted in the first round 10th overall in the 2007 NLL entry draft by Calgary and finished his first season with the Stealth in 2017 after signing in the fall of 2016. He had his highest point total of the last four years, scoring seven goals, four assists, and 11 points while appearing in all 18 regular season games for Vancouver.

Messenger appeared in four games in the 2017 NLL season, scoring two goals, three assists, and five points.

He was originally drafted by the Stealth in the 2015 NLL entry draft in the fourth round 39th overall. In 2016, he helped lead the Delta Junior Islanders to a BCJALL championship and an appearance in the 2016 Minto Cup tournament.

“We are extremely happy to have Matt, Pete, and Evan back with the Stealth, as all three are extremely important pieces of our team as we move into the 2018 season,” Locker said.

“We are looking for big things from this group and can’t wait to get started.”

Tuesday signings

It’s definitely a week of announcements for the Vancouver Stealth.

The lacrosse team revealed Tuesday the signing of John Lintz, Chris O’Dougherty, and James Rahe to one-year contracts.

Lintz played in his first season with the Stealth this laste season, scoring two points and collecting 44 loose balls in 12 games.

Previously, he played most of his career with the Rush organization, before being traded to Vancouver in the fall 2016. Lintz, a veteran of eight NLL seasons, appeared in four finals including Champion’s Cup victories in 2009, 2015, and 2016.

Meanwhile, O’Dougherty has spent his entire career with the Stealth. He has scored five goals, 29 assists, and 34 points while collecting 290 loose balls in 105 regular season and playoff games.

In 2017, he set a career-high in points scoring one goal and nine assists in 17 regular season games.

Rahe played his first season in the NLL in 2017 where he was top 10 in rookie scoring with seven goals, 18 assists, and 25 points in 11 games.

Rahe was drafted 11th overall in the 2016 NLL entry draft by Vancouver. In 2015, he helped lead the Six Nations Arrows to a Minto Cup championship where he scored 15 goals, 28 assists, and 43 points.

“It is another great day for the Stealth as three critical pieces of our team have signed contracts for the 2018 season,” Locker said.

“John and Chris are extremely important pieces of our defence bringing a high level of talent, experience, and great lacrosse IQ’s to our back end. James is coming off a very productive rookie season and is having a strong summer. We feel he is ready to take on a more prominent role this coming season on offence.”

Wednesday unveilings

On Wednesday, Locker then announced more signings – this time one-year contracts for Justin Salt and Tyler Garrison.

Salt has spent the entirety of his six-year NLL career with the Stealth.

He is coming off a career-high in goals, assists, and points where he scored 11 goals, 17 assists and 28 points while collecting 114 loose balls in 18 regular season games, Locker said.

Salt was drafted in the sixth round of the 2011 NLL entry draft, but has become one of the league’s best transition players.

“We believe Justin is the top transition player in the NLL and having him back adds another dynamic for us,” Locker said. “It is going to be very exciting watching him take his game to a new level in 2018.”

The Vancouver team are also welcoming back Garrison. He missed the 2017 season but previously played in 47 NLL games, all in a Stealth uniform.

He has scored 17 goals, 24 assists and 41 points while collecting 192 loose balls. He was originally drafted 11th overall in the 2012 NLL entry draft. In junior, he served as the Coquitlam Adanacs’ team captain in 2012 and 2013 and led them team to a Minto Cup final.

“Having Tyler return after missing last season is a big bonus for our team,” said Locker. “He is able to make an impact in many different ways and is extremely athletic, fast and can play a variety of roles.”

The Stealth will be announcing ticket sales for the next season in the upcoming week.

GIANTS NEWS:

In the meantime, there’s also some other news coming out of the Langley Events Centre.

Vancouver Giants shared word of a trade – of sorts – and a signing.

Jason Ripplinger, the director of player personnel, is leaving the team for another gig.

Ripplinger has been named the new assistant general manager of the Moose Jaw Warriors, said Giants general manager Glen Hanlon.

“We would like to thank Jason for all his years of service. His loyalty to the Giants organization is a quality that we have appreciated and respected.”

Wishing him well in his new position, this is like going home for the Prairie boy who hailed from Regina.

Ripplinger served as head scout for the G-Men from the club’s inception in 2001, until 2008 when he was named the director of player personnel.

He was a major part of the Vancouver’s WHL championship team in 2006, and the Memorial Cup winning team in 2007, Hanlon said.

Also on the Giants front, Monday the team announced the signing of Milos Roman.

The 1999-born Slovak (centreman) forward was drafted with the sixth overall pick in the 2017 CHL import draft.

“We are glad to add a top six forward to our group,” Hanlon said. “Milos is a highly skilled and entertaining player, who makes his line mates better with his vision and creativity.”

Roman spent the 2016/17 season with HC Frydek-Mistek in the second tier of professional hockey in the Czech Republic.

The 17-year-old tallied four goals and two assists in 29 regular season games.

Roman has represented his country at multiple tournaments. He scored a goal and an assist in four games for Slovakia at the 2017 World Junior Championships where he played alongside former Giant Radovan Bondra. He also had two points in five games at the 2017 Under-18 World Championships and amassed five points in four games at the 2016 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup. Roman was selected by HC Slovan Bratislava in the third round of the 2016 KHL Draft and is not eligible for the NHL Draft until 2018.

“I’m really happy to go to a great team and a beautiful city,” said Roman.

“It is a great opportunity for me, and I’m very excited to try and help the Giants win games next season, while representing my country, my hometown, and my family.”

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