Pilon getting the Royal treatment
The disappointment of missing out on an opportunity to compete for a Minto Cup still lingers for Kealon Pilon.
Pilon is in his senior year at Queens University of Charlotte where the Royals have been playing since January, but the 22-year-old St. Catharines native admits it still stings the St. Catharines Athletics were robbed of a Minto Cup experience.
The A’s were set to host the championship of Canadian junior A lacrosse last summer which was wiped out by the COVID pandemic and the 2021 season remains up in the air with no news forthcoming and Ontario heading into a stay-at-home order for at least the next four weeks.
“I honestly thought we would get our year back and we didn’t,” Pilon said. “When it comes up, me and some friends on the team just don’t talk about it. It’s over now. We have to move on but it was an opportunity we all wanted to take.
“We kind of took it on the chin with how that all went down with what was on the plate for us.”
Pilon did get some potentially good news when he was drafted by the Coburg Kodiaks in the 2021 Major Series Lacrosse League draft last week.
“I didn’t hear about the draft until a couple of days before when Alex Simmons texted me,” Pilon said. “I had my Twitter up and was scrolling pretty casually and saw it and thought it was pretty cool.”
The Kodiaks, who also selected Simmons, reached out to bring Pilon up to speed.
“They told me the plans and what they’re hoping to do and they’ll keep in touch with me how the process is going so I don’t feel totally lost,” he said. “They are still planning for lacrosse, so that’s good.”
Pilon played his last two seasons on junior lacrosse eligibility with A’s after beginning in junior B with the St. Catharines Spartans. He led the A’s in scoring with 81 points in 20 regular season games in 2019 and has fond memories of his time in double blue.
“It’s not even just the guys, it’s the coaches, being in the room, Chicky (general manager Jeff Chcoski), everyone associated with the team,” Pilon said. “Whether it was the bus driver, it just seemed it was a family environment. It didn’t matter if it was your first year or if you had been on the team for a couple of years.”
Pilon also loved playing at Jack Gatecliff Arena.
“I played in one of the best buildings and in front of some of the best fans in that league so I’m going to miss that atmosphere at The Jack,” he said. “We missed a couple of opportunities but I don’t regret a thing over those years.”
Pilon has 11 goals and 26 points in seven games for the Royals this season.
“I’ve been banged up a couple of times because we haven’t played in a while but I’m starting to feel more into a groove which is good because I needed that,” he said.
Pilon has enjoyed his time at Queens, a Division 2 school which plays in the South Atlantic Conference.
“Honestly, it’s the best decision I’ve made in my life to try something completely different in a city I knew nothing about,” he said. “It’s a small school in the middle of Charlotte. I’m happy I took the shot to go D2. It suited me; these four years have been great.”
Pilon, who is majoring in communications, has one year of eligibility remaining.
“I do know I want to play next year, it’s just a matter of making that work for some spots,” he said.
Pilon would also like to coach at some point.
“I’m hoping my major takes me somewhere or my knowledge of the game will find me a coaching opportunity down the road. I don’t really want to leave the game of lacrosse any time soon.”
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