Paris RiverWolves Preview

by Stephen Stamp

The Paris RiverWolves have a pair of proven righties and some lefties with potential leading the offensive thrust on their roster for the inaugural Arena Lacrosse League, which begins Saturday January 7 when RiverWolves face the Toronto Monarchs in the league's first ever game at 1 pm at Oshawa's Tributes Communities Centre.

Mike Burke had a 129-point season in Jr A, averaged over 6 points per game in two short stints with CLax's Southwest Cyclops before callups to the NLL, and has three seasons of at least 56 points among his five MSL seasons with Brampton. He should instantly be one of the top offensive threats when he sets foot in the ALL.

Dan Keane finished second in scoring in each of his two CLax seasons, being named rookie of the year in 2015 and a member of the first all-star team in 2016. While he's still trying to establish himself at the senior level, Keane has shown some serious shooting chops.

Across the floor from that pair of righties, it's all about potential for the RiverWolves on the left side. Logan Holmes scored 258 points in his final two seasons of Jr B in Windsor. He'll be trying to show he can translate that scoring wizardry into success at a higher level of lacrosse. Spencer Pyke and Andy Campbell have had solid Jr A careers (Pyke still has two years of eligibility remaining) and will be trying to prove they can play against men, as well.

The defence features three players chosen in the 2016 NLL draft: Lauchlin Elder, Jamie McMahon and Jahmal Shears. Jim Purves has some NLL experience. Brett Ulbikas is an athletic transition player who is coming off a CUFLA season where he was named the top midfielder and top graduating player after his final year at Guelph. Travis Burton is a rangy transition player with two years of junior eligibility left who showed some promise with the Cyclops in 2015 as an 18-year-old.

Paris has a pair of young goalies with plenty of potential. Rance Vigneux has got a chance to show his stuff to RiverWolves coach Jamie Dubrick with MSL's Cobourg Kodiaks and showed enough stretches of strong play to earn a shot in the Paris crease. He'll be battling for the starting job with Kevin Orleman, who made the Buffalo Bandits' practice roster after declaring early for the 2016 NLL draft. Orleman has a year left in junior after being traded to a different BCJALL team each of the last two summers. He helped the Delta Islanders to win their first BCJALL championship last year and played with them at the Minto Cup.