There’s been a changing of the guard at the Point Edward Pacers of the Ontario Lacrosse Association Junior “B” Lacrosse League.
Randy Dunn has been promoted to head coach following several years of coaching in the Sarnia minor system and a successful playing career that featured a Minto Cup Junior “A” national championship with Orangeville in the 1990’s.
Last season, Dunn coached the Sarnia Midgets to a berth in the provincial finals and was an assistant with Point Edward.
Faced with a ten-year playoff drought, Dunn is surrounding himself with assistant coaches that bring a wealth of professional and senior lacrosse experience to the table, including Jimmy Purves, Mike Fleming and Ryan Dark.
“These guys get the game,” said Dunn. “They understand how players should act to be good teammates. That’s going to be a huge benefit.”
He said the introduction of a new Intermediate team in Sarnia’s minor lacrosse system will also give the coaching staff more flexibility to make roster moves if they become necessary.
The Pacers will be a young team, with the likes of Kevin Conroy, Derrick Hastings and Ian Ferguson being called upon to provide veteran leadership. But, Dunn also expects players moving up from the successful midget program in Sarnia to bring the right attitude.
“These are kids who care about the team and care about winning,” he said.
He expects the Far West Division, including the Pacers, Windsor, London and Wallaceburg to be “extremely tight” this season, with games against each other going a long way in deciding who will advance to the playoffs.
Asked what style of play he’ll employ, the coach said the Pacers won’t be a big, physical squad but will rely on ball control and transition speed.
He expects about 40 players, including four or five goaltenders, to vie for roster spots when open tryouts begin April 1 at 7 p.m. at the Point Edward Memorial Arena.
Dunn also hopes the relocation of the Sarnia Beavers senior lacrosse team to Wallaceburg will translate into a larger fan base for the Pacers.
“We want to create a spark in the community,” he said.
Point Edward’s first two games are on the road in London and Niagara on April 23 and 25 before returning home for back-to-back games against London and Windsor April 28 and 29. Game time for both is 8 p.m.