By JACK SKINNER
The Toronto Beaches Junior A lacrosse team will play its Ontario Junior Lacrosse League (OJLL) season opener in Whitby on Tuesday, May 16.
With the renovation work now taking place at Ted Reeve Arena, the Toronto Beaches team has relocated to play its home games at the Scarborough Centennial Arena for the 2023 season. However, the team recently announced that it will now be playing its first three “home” games in Pickering to start the season.
The temporary move to Pickering for Toronto Beaches means the team will open its OJLL season at Delaney & O’Brien Arena in Pickering, the same arena where the team played a number of its 2022 playoff home games.
Delaney & O’Brien Arena is located at 1867 Valley Farm Rd., just west of Brock Road, in Pickering. The arena is also home to the Junior B West Durham Ironheads, a team that is an essential part of the Toronto Beaches organization.
On May 18, Toronto Beaches will host the Whitby Warriors, followed by the Orangeville Northmen on May 21, and then will conclude their short stay in Pickering with their final game against the Brampton Excelsiors on May 25.
Toronto Beaches will play the rest of their home games at Scarborough Centennial Arena starting with the Six Nations Arrows on June 1.
Reilly O’Connor, head coach of Toronto Beaches commented on the move east and the impact it would have on the team and its fans.
“The team is confident that the fans who attended the games last summer at Ted Reeve Arena will travel out to watch them in Scarborough,” he said.
Scarborough Centennial Arena is located at 1967 Ellesmere Rd., just west of Markham Road.
After their loss to the Edmonton Miners in the Minto Cup (Canadian championship) semifinals last summer, which ended the season, the Toronto Beaches main goal this season is to win the Minto and to also help players get drafted into the National Lacrosse League (NLL).
According to O’Connor, some of the key players returning for Toronto Beaches this season are Will Johnston, who is the reigning goalie of the year; Jacob Hickey, the team’s captain; Dylan Robinson, who played for the Buffalo Bandits in the NLL; Willem Firth, the reigning OJLL MVP; and Matt Collison.
O’Connor said the game night experience for fans attending Toronto Beaches games in Scarborough will be as exciting as it was last season at Ted Reeve Arena.
“We saw great crowds last year that got bigger and bigger, the further we went and the better the team did,” he said.
“The guys feed off that energy as well, so it’s so important. I’m confident the fans will travel as there is a deep passion for the sport in the Beaches and it’s very cool for the Beaches community to interact with the current players on the team.”
Toronto Beaches will play a total of 20 regular season games from late May to early July, followed by the OJLL playoffs in mid-July.
After that, the 2023 Minto Cup will take place in Edmonton, and being there is the goal of the Toronto Beaches team
“We are very excited to get going! We hope to be active in the community by giving back and growing the game in the Beaches community, through coaching and volunteering with the next generation of kids,” said O’Connor.
Here is the full 2023 regular season schedule for the Toronto Beaches Junior A lacrosse team:
May 16 – @ Whitby Warriors
May 18 – Whitby Warriors
May 21- Orangeville Northmen
May 24 – @ Burlington Chiefs
May 25 – Brampton Excelsiors
June 1 – Six Nations Arrows
June 3 – @ Oakville Buzz
June 5 – @ Peterborough Lakers
June 8 – St. Catharines Athletics
June 10 – @ Mimico Mountaineers
June 11 – @ Brampton Excelsiors
June 15 – Kitchener-Waterloo
June 18 – @ Orangeville Northmen
June 20 – Peterborough Lakers
June 22 – Burlington Chiefs
June 28 – @ St. Catharines Athletics
June 30 – @ Kitchener-Waterloo
July 5 – Mimico Mountaineers
July 6 – Oakville Buzz
July 9 – @ Six Nations Arrows
For more information on Toronto Beaches Junior A lacrosse, please visit the team’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BeachesJrA
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