For the first time since 1990, the Maple Ridge Burrards are heading to the Mann Cup and a Mission native is along for the ride.
Mission product DJ Saari is a defender on the team, who won the Western Lacrosse Association title on Sept. 2 with a 10-9 win over the Victoria Shamrocks.
The win gave the Burrards the 4-2 series win and eliminated the Shamrocks from the final.
The Mann Cup is known as the holy grail for senior A lacrosse players from across Canada, and the Burrards begin their quest for the trophy today (Friday) against the Six Nations Chiefs in Ontario. The Chiefs won the Ontario Major Series Lacrosse title last week.
Saari, who played his minor lacrosse in Mission, played 17 of the Burrards 18 regular season games. He recorded 36 penalty minutes in those 17 games. He has also played 11 playoff games during the team’s championship run, collecting two penalty minutes.
The Burrards placed third in the WLA regular season, with a record of 11 wins, six losses and one tie. They eliminated the New Westminster Salmonbellies in round one, before taking out the Shamrocks.
Saari played junior lacrosse with the Salmonbellies and Adanacs, before appearing in one game with the senior Adanacs in 2015. This year is his first year on the Burrards.
Earlier this summer, Saari was on the coaching staff for the Fraser Valley box lacrosse team at the BC Summer Games. The team fell in the bronze medal game to Vancouver-Coastal.
Read next week’s edition of The Mission Record for details on how Saari and the Burrards fare.