The Oakville Rock is coming to town after Ontario Lacrosse Association approved the move of the Ajax-Pickering Major Series Lacrosse team to Oakville Monday morning.
The Rock will play the majority of its home games Monday nights, with its home opener May 27 against Six Nations. There are also three Saturday night home dates on the schedule. The team will play out of the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre.
“We’re really pleased to have a team in this area,” said MSL commissioner Jim Brady. “The people in Oakville are lucky. They’re going to see the best lacrosse that’s played indoors. These players are so accomplished.”
Major Series Lacrosse draws most of its players from the National Lacrosse League. Oakville’s Alex Crepinsek, who plays for the NLL’s Minnesota Swarm, is a member of the Rock.
Owner Rob Roche decided to move because the team was having trouble drawing fans and securing affiliate teams in Ajax with the Brooklin Redmen in such close proximity.
Ajax was 1-13 last year — its third season in the league — but was often competitive, losing three times by a single goal. Brady believes the team will be much better this year, especially with Terry Sanderson taking over as general manager. Not only is the veteran lacrosse executive well connected, but it also greatly reduces the chances of a player not reporting, which was often a problem with the team in Ajax.
“Most teams have an NLL coach or GM,” Brady said. “The players get a chance to impress someone involved with an NLL team.”
Major Series Lacrosse teams voted 4-1 in favour of the move last month, but the OLA still needed to give final approval. It wanted all other lacrosse organizations in the area on board before giving it the go-ahead.
The Rock got the approval to move after receiving letters of support from the area junior and senior teams as well as from the Oakville minor lacrosse association. The OLA conducted a vote by e-mail and approved it Monday.
The Rock will be affiliated with the Sr. B Oakville Titans, the Jr. A Burlington Chiefs and the Jr. B Oakville Buzz.