For many of us Thanksgiving weekend meant three days of rest and relaxation with the family. But for Phil Sanderson, Stephen Hoar, Garrett Billings and Joel Dalgarno it meant five games of field lacrosse in three days.
The Team Canada selection camp for the 2010 Federation of International Lacrosse World Championships in Manchester, England from July 14 to July 24, 2010 took place at St. Michael’s College School in Toronto this past weekend.
Sanderson, Hoar, Billings and Dalgarno along with the Rock’s injured dispersal pick up Tyler Cordon are amongst the 59 prospects for Canada’s 23-man roster.
Hoar is the only Rock member to be part of the 2006 World Championship Team that won on home soil in London, Ontario. The others have played for the Canada Under-19 Team but for Sanderson it’s the first time he’s been invited to the men’s camp.
“It is a great honour playing for your country,” said Sanderson. “Hopefully I can make the team and represent Canada at Worlds.
“The competition is real tight. There are a great bunch of young guys and a lot of experienced older guys trying out this weekend.”
“I’m up against a lot of talented rightey attackmen,” added Billings. “We are all competing for, what is in my mind, one spot.”
The prospects faced-off against each other twice on Saturday, October 10 in Red versus White scrimmages.
On Sunday they boarded buses early and drove to Orchard Park High School in Buffalo, N.Y. to face the Notre Dame Men’s team. The Fighting Irish were no match for their Canadian competition with the boys in red coming out on top in both matches, 12-9 and 11-7.
Monday found the guys on the field at St. Michael’s one last time, showing their skills for Head Coach Dave Huntley. He watched alone from the sidelines as his assistants took charge of the benches.
And now they wait. The roster will begin to be cut down this week, but final decisions aren’t expected until July in order to keep opposing teams guessing.
The Rock’s five have an entire box season ahead of them before hopefully helping Canada to their second consecutive Gold.
Billings and Dalgarno are only about a month out from Toronto Rock draftee and non-rostered player tryout camp.
“Toronto is probably the best place to play in the league,” said Billings. “Everyone in Ontario knows their lacrosse; I’m excited to be here.”
Hoar, Sanderson and the rest of the Rock get together on the turf for training camp at the end of November to kick-off the 2010 season.
“I’m excited to play in front of Toronto fans again, and be part of the blue and red,” said Sanderson. “Playing with Troy and Terry, I know what they expect; I get to hear those two yell at me all year round now, that’s a good thing.”