SASKATOON – When the Junior B Saskatchewan SWAT captured their first Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League (RMLL) title in 2015, a banner and a trophy weren’t the only rewards. They also earned a pretty big promotion.
In January, the RMLL granted the SWAT the right to play in the Junior A division starting in the 2016 season.
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“We’ve been waiting for it for so long. Our coach had been talking to us about it pretty much since we started playing lacrosse,” said SWAT transition Jason Price, who has played on the junior team since 2013.
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For head coach Randy Trobak, who started the SWAT program in 1999, the move was a long time in the making.
“We started this process a few years ago and expected to be close when this [current] group got up into where they are,” he said.
“Last year we proved ourselves.”
Trobak added it was important that when the move happened, the SWAT were ready to consistently compete with the RMLL’s top teams.
“That was the whole reason why we waited. When we sustain a club we want to sustain it for a long time and give the opportunities to the players to grow at the higher levels.”
While last year’s champs will move up to Junior A, the SWAT will still field a team in the top tier of the Junior B division, a testament to the growth of the program. The increased depth should also help Saskatchewan stay competitive in both divisions.
“It’s definitely pushed a lot of guys. Over the years we’ve had guys that were sitting in there that maybe needed a little shove. Well right now there’s a big shove on everybody because everybody’s concerned about whether they’re going to have a place to play this year,” Trobak said.
The players making the jump know they’re in for a battle this season, but it’s one they’re eager to take on.
“This league is definitely going to be a lot harder than our league was last year and we really need to pick it up as a team, work together a lot more and just focus on that ultimate goal of winning,” Price said.
The Junior A SWAT will make their RMLL debut on May 7 when they visit the St. Albert Miners.
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