New Coach of the Jr. A Miners Lacrosse Club, John Lintz

There has been a changing of the guard in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League (RMLL) Junior A Division. The Jr. A Miners announced via their facebook group that John Lintz would be taking over the reins as head coach from lacrosse icon Todd Lorenz.

JR. A MINERS COACHING ANNOUNCEMENT

We would like to formally welcome the following coaches to our club. Head Coach John Lintz and assistants Ryan Dilks and Richard Lachlan. We are extremely excited with the direction these three coaches will take our club. The Miners would like to thank the years of dedication Coach Todd Lorenz put in with the Miners and has moved on to coach full time with the Senior B Miners as they go for another President Cup as a host this summer.
Jamey Bowen, General Manager (JrA)

Need a background check on who John Lintz is? Let’s start with him being the St. Francis Xavier High School Lacrosse Academy Director and finish with STFX website magnificent recap of his playing and coaching career.

PLAYING CAREER

Began with the South Edmonton Warriors (provincial gold in 2003 and 2004 and a silver medal at Founders Cup in 2004). John also competed for two seasons with the Coquitlam Adanacs of the BCJLL (BC Finals in 2006).

After being drafted to both NLL and WLA in the third and second round respectively, he began his senior lacrosse career playing for the WLA’s Langley Thunder (two Western Lacrosse Championships, attended two Mann Cups, two time WLA 2nd Team All-Star, two-time Hard Hat Award recipient with Langley).

During summers spent at home in Edmonton, John has played for the RMLL’s St. Albert (Sr B) Miners (three provincial championships, two undefeated seasons in Alberta, a Presidents Cup bronze medal and a Presidents Cup Championship in 2016).

In the National Lacrosse League, John has been a member of both the Calgary Roughnecks and Saskatchewan/Edmonton Rush (Including four visits to the Champions Cup finals and three championships, was the Fans Choice recipient in 2015).”

COACHING EXPERIENCE

John has coaching experience with the St. Albert Miners, South Edmonton Warriors, Apex Field Lacrosse Club, Destroyer Lacrosse, West Edmonton Blues, and dozens of camps along the way.”

A champion everywhere he has gone, Lintz definitely seems the right choice to be Lorenz’s successor. I reached out to Coach Lorenz and asked two questions, how long have you coached in the Miners organization and can you please give a comment about new Head Coach Lintz?

Here are Lorenz’s responses:
With the Miners for 20 yrs and helped start the Sr B program from inception.

As in any sport, the need to transition to next the generation is very important and an extremely vital decision for any successful organization – one that is not taken lightly by the Miners. A few years ago, I recognized that transition is required and it needed to be calculated and planned in order for the Miners to continue to be a successful organization. The search for the correct person to lead the Club is the most important and valued position the Club can take. Its more important than wins and losses. The Miners have always prided themselves on “ developing young men to become better contributing members of society”, using lacrosse as the vehicle and along the way playing some lacrosse that we all love, are passionate about and yes, win a few games and get back to the Minto Cup.

The Miners had tried to bring John on for a few years, but due to his playing commitments in the NLL and Sr B, the timing wasn’t great, but the interactions with John and him helping when he could, reaffirmed that we had the “Right Person in John” to take over and lead the Miners into the next generation, it was just a matter of making sure it was the right time. The time is right and it’s now.

As any coach will tell you its about being a student of the game, having the passion, drive and commitment.  John has had the luxury of playing for some great coaches over the years in Sr Lacrosse and the NLL. To be a successful coach, you learn from all those coaches, mix in your own personality, your own coaching styles and success will follow. John is as knowledgeable as any person in the game of lacrosse across the country today. His understanding of the technical portion, the players portion and the personality traits of the young players are all parallel to best in the game.  John has a great understanding in the direction the game is going, to the youth of today and is connected to how young athletes approach the game.

With John’s successful playing career, his extreme knowledge of the game, his passion for lacrosse and his commitment to the Miners, it makes John, not just a logical one, but the correct decision. The Miners club couldn’t be any happier that our search to get the right person to led the Miners into the next generation has been successful as we “ have the Right person”. I have 100% confidence in John and have the peace of mind in stepping back as the Miners are in good hands and the future of the club looks promising for a long time to come.  

Certainly not to be undermined, but anytime you can bring in assistants like John did in the likes of the “best defensive player in the world “ in Ryan Dilks and one of the purest goal scorers in the game today in Richard Lachlan, the Miners have set themselves up for success and getting back to the Minto Cups of yester years.”

For fans of lacrosse whose knowledge is limited to the National Lacrosse League, here is a part of the explanation of what “Jr. A” lacrosse is via the RMLL website. Click here for the full breakdown.

Junior A is the highest level of box lacrosse in Canada for junior aged players (16-21). Compared to ice hockey, Junior A is at the same level as the Western Hockey League (WHL). There are four Junior A teams in Alberta, the Calgary Jr. A  Mountaineers, the Okotoks Jr. A  Raiders, the St. Alberta Jr. A Miners, and  the Saskatchewan Jr. A Swat.

Players must have the drive & mentality required to succeed at this level. Players are on the floor 4-6 times per week, including games. During Regular Season & playoffs, teams travel to Calgary, Edmonton & Saskatoon on the weekends, with some weekday games in Calgary & Edmonton between inter city rivals.

The age of the majority of players playing Junior A: are 18 to 21 years old. Very few players play Jr. A in their first year of Junior eligibility and may require a year or 2 for development at a lower level, and are eligible to be called up as an affiliate player at the Jr. A team’s request, with permission from the lower division team. This system has produced numerous professional & collegiate athletes due to the high caliber of skill, speed and character associated with the Division.

Thank you Todd Lorenz for your time. Only 11 months to go until the 2021 season.

The Double Standard Held Against Soccer Supporters Groups

I have been to lacrosse, football and hockey games where I heard the fans chant “ref you suck” and/or “bullsh*t”. The athletes who play in these games have all heard the boos rain down on them as they left their respective playing surface. When a former player comes back to town wearing the opposing team’s jersey they tend to hear those boos to varying levels. Heck, not even Wayne Gretzky was exempt from hearing those boo-birds. You know what I have not heard? People saying they would refuse to go to another lacrosse, football or hockey game because of these actions.

Enter the double standard when it comes to Supporters Groups in soccer where it has been said that people will not attend or have stopped attending games because of these fans.

It is befuddling how it seems a “bullsh*t” chant in a sporting venue outside of Clarke Stadium, home of FC Edmonton,  is considered passionate fans voicing their opinions but inside Clarke Stadium it’s a bunch of loud mouth hooligans. When the walls of Rogers Place or Commonwealth Stadium shake with tens of thousands of people booing in unison or chanting “ref you suck”, we once again hear about how passionate Edmonton fans are. When 100 members of the FC Edmonton Supporters Group, the River Valley Vanguard (RVV), chant “ref you suck” the narrative becomes, “well this is no environment to bring my kids to watch a game”.

From my first FC Edmonton Game.

My wife’s soccer fandom is casual at best. I met her through my time working for the Edmonton (now Saskatchewan) Rush Lacrosse Club. We talked many times about how lacrosse made the sport of hockey seem boring and now I was worried “how the heck am I getting through a soccer match?” Full credit goes to the River Valley Vanguard for creating an environment that helped turn me into a soccer fan.

The environment of Rogers Place is one where you are expected to quietly watch the game until you are prompted to make noise. The environment at Commonwealth Stadium often feels like you are constantly being asked to make noise. The RVV always make the game feel lively. If a dame or fella wants to make noise, it does not feel discouraged or forced.

If one was to give the RVV a movie rating, the suggestion would be PG-13. “Avengers: Endgame”, “Jumanji: The Next Level”, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” are all PG-13 rated movies that many a parent has brought their young children to. With catchy chants and a drum beat most the of the game, when your young one’s attention starts to drift away from the game they will have a distraction. This is an environment where kids (and adults alike) are encouraged to make noise, to cheer and even dance in their seats if they want. Very few other sports offer you this luxury as freely as in soccer, especially during live game play.

The RVV rarely uses coarse language. The most common chants are done to the tune of “You Are My Sunshine” and “Mrs Robinson”. Oh golly gee wilikers that sounds menacing! Unless you are playing for the other team, menacing is the last thing the group wants to be. That is why they are called a “Supporters Group”.

From a RVV Facebook Post

The above comments taken from a post on the RVV’s Facebook Group are made by former FC Edmonton player Bruno Zebie. Bruno has taken his talents to the rival Calvary FC (Calgary) and issued a challenge to the RVV to give him a hostile return to Clarke Stadium. Before starting a rant about how “WWE” that sounds please allow me to remind you of the absolute heyday the media and fans alike had when the Oilers Zack Kassian and Flames Matthew Tkachuk brought back the meaning of rivalry to the “Battle of Alberta”. Allow me to remind you the happy hysteria that followed the goalie fight between Oilers Mike Smith and Flames Cam Talbot. How is all that acceptable but when the RVV hurls a few pointed chants toward a returning player, it’s a “WWE style” mindset and inappropriate?

One can only presume the fans checking out a FC Edmonton game who feel the RVV and their constant “vocal stylings” are akin to the vuvuzela’s that haunted the 2010 World Cup are as unfamiliar with the game of soccer as I was when I first attended. It is understandable that on your first time venturing into Clarke Stadium this may be overwhelming, but please remember that this is commonplace in the sport of soccer all over the world.

The only difference between short-lived chants at hockey games and forced noises at football games is that the RVV are “constantly” adding to the noise level. It is in the culture of the game of soccer to “constantly” be cheering on your team and your city while making the opponents team feel unwelcome. If you cannot “constantly” handle the stimulation, ask to move to the other end of the stadium because as dynamic as the RVV can be, they are only powered by their voices.

Until we can all cheer together again, cheers.

A Summer Without Baseball And Lacrosse

Earlier this week the Western Canadian Baseball League (WCBL) and Canadian Lacrosse Association (CLA) cancelled their respective seasons. It still stings.

This Edmonton Prospects fan thought he had it all figured out. With Re/Max Field having a capacity of 9,200 and the Prospects averaging 2,102 fans per game last season, I would have volunteered to help to reduce the capacity of the stadium by two thirds. Sure all the tape in the stadium to reduce the seating to 3,036 would have been an eyesore but social distancing would be able to enforced. The players instead of being huddled in the clubhouse would instead be strewn completely down their respective foul lines. The issue of bringing in Americans while borders are still closed could have been usurped by calling up players from the Edmonton Collegiate Baseball Club as their season was recently cancelled. Fans would be allowed to bring in sealed water bottles as concessions would need to be cancelled to reduce the amount of people in the building and to avoid cash transactions. With the Re/Max Field having no public transportation directly to the park, the concern about overflowing buses and LRT are mute. Give me baseball damnit!

In what has to be one of the most open and honest press releases, the WCBL did not stop at simply stating the obvious that the timelines needed for the league to play conflict with the timelines to return their players back to their fall programs. The league openly explained every measure and scenario they have could have taken to save this baseball season and why it would not work. It is understood that the right choice was made but it is still a downer.

If it the right choice for baseball then it is also the right choice for lacrosse. The decision stings a bit more this year because the Presidents’ Cup, the nationwide Senior B Championship, was slated to be hosted in Alberta by Miners Lacrosse.

Here’s a snippet of the press release from the CLA stating all National Championships were cancelled due to the pandemic:

“The Canadian Lacrosse Association (CLA) announced today that it has cancelled all 2020 National Championships, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The 2020 National Championship hosts will have the opportunity to host in 2021.

This difficult decision was made with the support of the box lacrosse and field lacrosse sectors and in consultation with the CLA’s Member Associations. Health and safety, travel concerns, venue closures, and many other factors were taken into consideration. Return-to-play or return-to-activity is in different phases across the country, which provides unique challenges based on geography to our Canadian lacrosse community. 

“The health and safety of our players and everyone in the lacrosse community are our top priorities,” said Shawn Williams, CLA President. “We recognize that national championships are important to lacrosse players of all ages. The CLA will be preparing for the 2021 national championship season and we look forward to having our lacrosse family back together once again.” 

The 2020 National Championship cancellations include the Mann Cup, the Minto Cup, the Presidents’ Cup, the Founders’ Cup, the Alumni Cup, the First Nations Cup, the Ross Cup/Victory Trophy, 16U Box Lacrosse Championship, 16U Girls Box Lacrosse Championships, 14U Box Lacrosse Championship, 14U Girls Box Lacrosse Championships,  12U Box Lacrosse Championship, and the U19 Women’s Field Lacrosse Championship. For the most part the 2020 host organizations will be hosting in 2021.”

Another bright side to what is the right decision in cancelling the season is that appears the Presidents’ Cup will stay in Alberta.

 

I had falsely convinced myself that lacrosse would still be played this pandemic so I held off on contacting teams until I could ask them about the their plans for 2020. There will still be lacrosse stories as I reach out to the Sr B division members the Miners, Beaumont Outlaws, and Edmonton Warriors but now the dialogue starts on a down note. A story about the major change at the coaching helm of the Jr A Miners will be posted early Monday morning.

EDITOR’S NOTE:

From the CLA press release after the part that said all National Championships are cancelled and I stopped reading, “Individual member associations will decide the course of 2020 lacrosse opportunities on their own timelines under provincial and health authority guidance.” Where I wrongfully said 2020 was cancelled, there’s still a glimmer of hope. I apologize for the confusion.