Cody Teichroeb is one of the Thunder players who will be back this year. (Garrett James)

Langley Thunder rebuilding as season starts

The team has new players and is aiming for a good start on May 23.

The Langley Thunder will roll again next week, as the team’s first home game of the season takes place at the Langley Events Centre on May 23.

The 7:30 p.m. game against the Burnaby Lakers kicks off the local season for the Western Lacrosse League Senior A teams, and the Thunder are hoping to make a few changes in the standings this time around.

“Obviously, we’ve been rebuilding the team for the last couple of years,” said Rob Buchan, Thunder vice president and general manager.

The 2017 season was rough for the Thunder, as they picked up just four wins to 14 losses, putting them in the basement of the seven-team league.

But Buchan said that their young team, fortified by a lot of draft picks, is now coming together.

Asked about which players will make a big impact this year, Buchan rattles off a long list of names, including James Rahe, Aiden Milburn, Connor Robinson, Tyler Pace, Cole Schafer, and Johnny Pearson.

But there’s no one player who will have to carry the team.

“Not really one person, or two people individually,” Buchan said.

It’s the whole team he’s excited about.

”What young players, full of potential, will be able to do together as a team,” will be what Buchan and the coaches are looking for this year, he said.

The team includes new players, some returning veterans, and a couple of players who joined last year but suffered injuries and didn’t suit up.

They’ve been practicing for about four weeks, with more players joining as other lacrosse leagues, such as the NLL, wind up their seasons and players can join the ranks of the Thunder.

An exhibition game was scheduled for Wednesday, May 16 against Coquitlam (results were not available due to press times).

The Thunder isn’t just developing their team, they’re working on their fan base.

The team is working closely with the Langley Events Centre, and has a partnership with Langley Minor Lacrosse. The youngsters will be coming to games for free.

There’s also efforts afoot on social media to get the word out.

What can people expect if they come to a Thunder game?

Buchan said it’s a hard hitting, fast paced game.

“It’s kind of like a combination of hockey and basketball,” Buchan said, for those who haven’t watched high-level lacrosse before.

Ultimately, success by the team will bring success in the stands, he believes.

“We need to win games and put an exciting product on the floor, and the fans will come,” said Buchan.

More information on the Langley Thunder can be found on the team’s website, including their schedule. All home games are to be played on Wednesdays in the LEC.

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