NLL veteran helps take Pioneers to nationals

Richmond Lacrosse product Pete McFetridge getting his first taste of senior "B" level

Pete McFetridge is getting his first close-up look at senior “B” lacrosse and he is impressed.

The 10-year National Lacrosse League defender has helped the Ladner Pioneers advance to the President’s Cup national championships for the second straight year after joining the club in late June.

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“This is great lacrosse,” he smiled. “I said I was coming (to Ladner) and this is what I wanted to do. I’m happy to be here and help these young kids.”

The 32-year-old already had plenty of connections to Delta Lacrosse.

Growing up in Richmond, there were no hometown options to play the field version of the game at the time so he came through the tunnel to be part of the Delta Footmen program. He was also a call-up for the Junior “A” Islanders when he was playing intermediate. However, his full-time junior stint ended up with what was a dynasty in Burnaby where he won a Minto Cup national title with the Lakers.

More recently, McFetridge worked last season as an assistant coach with the Junior Islanders.

“That’s when (Pioneers head coach) Ross (Frehlick) started getting into my ear about playing senior ‘B,’” he laughed. “I had started a new career and the commitment to play senior ‘A’ wasn’t going to work.”

McFetridge will see some familiar faces on opposing senior “B” teams, such as reigning NLL playoff MVP Jeff Shattler who played with him in Calgary before taking his career to Saskatchewan. Shattler is now playing for Nanaimo, which hosts the President’s Cup next month.

“I think a lot of it has to do with the NLL extending their season as it becomes more and more treated like a professional league. Used to be just a little bit of homework then show up. Now there is way more film during the week, training with players, practicing on Fridays and playing on the weekend. Instead of a four-month league, it’s more like a seven-month league and playing WLA on top of that can wear guys down,” McFetridge explained.

While he’s being counted on as a shutdown player, the 6-foot-3 McFetridge thrives in transition play too. In a three-game semi-final sweep of Coquitlam, he finished with five points, including three goals. Ladner will now face Nanaimo in the West Coast Senior Lacrosse League championship series starting Wednesday. It will only be a best-of-three affair since both clubs are headed to nationals.

“A couple of goals in transition just takes some of that pressure off your offence,” he added.

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