One was among his team’s top performers and earned a professional contract as a result, while another had his tournament cut short by an injury, but all the Cowichan athletes who took part in the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship in Langley late last month had terrific experiences.
Defence and transition player Tyson Roe had arguably the best tournament of any local competitor as he helped England to a fourth-place finish that tied the country’s best-ever result.
Roe was making his second appearance with England at the Worlds after previously playing at the 2015 tournament in New York state. He was a standout performer for England, scoring four goals in three pool games, then adding three goals and two assists in four playoff contests.
England was grouped in the top pool at the Worlds, along with Canada, the Iroquois Nationals, the U.S. and Israel. Canada, Iroquois and the U.S. have finished 1-2-3 at all five World Championships dating back to 2003.
“It was awesome,” Roe commented. “It was a great experience playing against Canada and the Iroquois, and I think it really helped all the English players on the team who aren’t used to playing that level of competition, with the speed and skill that all those top players play with.”
England was defeated 11-8 by the U.S. in the third-place game. The U.S. led 10-1 before Roe sparked a comeback that saw England outscore the U.S. 7-1 in the second half.
“It was cool to have the chance to play for a bronze medal against the U.S. too, especially with it being a close game at the end,” Roe said. “The fourth-place finish at the world championships is gonna do wonders for box lacrosse in England.”
On Oct. 1, the Vancouver Warriors announced that they have signed the 26-year-old, 6-foot-10, 260-pound Roe to a one-year contract for the 2020 season. Roe previously played for the team in 2018, when they were known as the Stealth, scoring one goal in five games. He played the 2019 Western Lacrosse Association season with the Nanaimo Timbermen, scoring 10 goals and assisting on two more in 16 games.
“Roe was a tower of strength in helping England to their 4th place finish at the WILC,” Warriors general manager Dan Richardson said. “Tyson brings size, athleticism and great competitiveness to our team and we look forward to seeing how Tyson fits in to our defense at training camp.”
Roe is looking forward to the opportunity to crack the Warriors’ lineup.
“I’m super excited to be joining the Warriors training camp in a month,” he said. “There will be some familiar faces from the last time I was in Vancouver two years ago, as well as some Nanaimo Timbermen teammates who will be going as well. My goal every year is to be playing NLL lacrosse so hopefully this year I can continue on that journey and be a big part of the team’s success.”
Also from the Cowichan Valley, Tyson Black got into two games for Australia, scoring once in each game before he suffered a stress fracture to his leg against Finland.
“The tournament was a blast, apart from being hurt, but still a great experience,” said the 22-year-old Black, who was getting his first shot at international lacrosse after tearing up the B.C. senior B circuit this past summer. “The highlight of the tournament for me would have to be just meeting the guys, making new friends and just coming together and competing as a whole.”
Black was joined on Team Australia by fellow Cowichan product Colin Jeffrey. One of three goalies on the roster, Jeffrey got into three games, playing half of a 20-1 win over Costa Rica, the entirety of a 16-6 victory over Austria, and the last quarter of a 17-11 playoff win over Ireland. He was also the backup for Australia’s last game, a convincing 13-6 victory over Germany for ninth place.
“The whole tournament was a great experience, getting to know and playing with an awesome Australian team for a few weeks,” said Jeffrey, who had to take time off from the University of Montevallo, where he is a sophomore runner with the field lacrosse team. “The tournament was a lot of fun, not only playing in the games but also just getting to watch the highest level of lacrosse and be around the best players in the world. It was also great being so close to home so my family could enjoy it just as much as I did.”
Australia narrowly missed making the championship bracket at the tournament, but surged to the top of the placement bracket to finish ninth overall. Finland, who edged Australia for first place in their pool, also boasted Cowichan content in the form of defender DJ Saari. Saari played in all seven of Finland’s games at the tournament, and was held without a point, although he did collect 16 penalty minutes.
Finland had a strong tournament and ended up placing sixth overall, losing the fifth-place game to Israel to improve on their ninth-place finish from 2015.