Athletics already building for next season
It has been a busy off season for the St. Catharines junior A Athletics.
The Athletics have brought in a pair of what they hope to be impact players from Saskatchewan and plan to continue to add to the roster.
The A’s have added defender Wyatt Haux and goaltender Laine Hruska from the Saskatchewan Swat of the Alberta Junior A Lacrosse League.
“We’re able to bring in two pretty key pieces to our program without having to move a draft choice or a player,” A’s general manager Jeff Chcoski said. “It was all done for financial considerations.”
Haux, a 20-year-old who is listed a 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, was the captain of both the Swat and Team Canada at the World Junior Lacrosse Championships in Mississauga where he played with A’s forwards Sam LeClair and Kealan Pilon.
“His stick skills may be a little off compared to what guys are in the east. He’s going to bring us size— we felt in that second round versus Burlington we were undersized — so the four or five guys that I’m going to try and bring in will add size to our team,” Chcoski said.
Chcoski said Haux is also a standout basketball player.
“From what I hear he is a pure athlete. He’s tough and he’s strong.”
Hruska is an 18-year-old netminder who will compete with Austin Paddy for playing time.
“With Nicky Damude moving on, we feel the need to add there,” Chcoski said. “It’s not like before where you knew Nick was going to play 19 or 20 games. They will be battling for their playing time. There will be competition at that spot.”
Chcoski said Hruska has a ton of upside.
“This kid is the next thing coming through. They say he will be the top goalie drafted in 2020.”
The Athletics lost several players from last season including Damude, Latrell Harris, Bradley Fannell, Riley St. Onge, Alex Pace and forward Jake McNabb.
With that in mind, Chcoski said he is in the market to move draft picks in the junior A draft in January to acquire talent that can help the A’s now.
“There is no doubt we’re still looking to add one right and one left and probably one or two on the back end,” he said. “We didn’t really lose that much up front but we lost a lot on the back end. The back end will definitely be a focus for us going into this thing.
“We want to acquire players so we can win now. We want St. Catharines to be in the top four every year.”
The A’s will be making their presentation to host the 2020 Minto Cup Jan. 12 and hope to have an answer one way or the other as soon as possible.
“I have to start building a team that I think can win Ontario,” Chcoski said. “I can’t afford to wait any longer.”
A’s acorns: A’s defender Tom Whitty made his National Lacrosse League debut for Rochester last week.
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