Predators to open training camp Friday

Herald File Photo. The Prince Albert Predators were PGLL champions in 2023.

The Prince Albert Predators are looking to repeat as Prairie Gold Lacrosse League (PGLL) champions and the road begins Friday as the team opens training camp at the Kinsmen Arena.

Predators head coach Lucas Wells says he is excited to get the season underway.

“I’m looking forward to just getting back at it. We’ve been running winter camps since January, and the attendance has been hit or miss. Guys are in Saskatoon, guys are working, so I don’t expect them to come out. Expectations are high this year, coming off a championship season and not losing many guys, the boys are well aware of expectations, and it’ll be good.”

The Predators will lose three players from last season’s championship team with Kieron Hoko, Tyler Gusdal and Chase Netmaker all graduating from junior lacrosse. Prince Albert will gain a key returnee back into the lineup this season. Kade Beaton missed the entirety of the 2023 campaign with a knee injury suffered while playing college lacrosse in the U.S.

Last season, the Predators took home the PGLL title in an overtime thriller 12-11 over the Swift Current Wolverines in Moose Jaw. Hayden Ulriksen tied the game with just eight seconds left to go in regulation and Brayden Rieger would score the game winner with twenty seconds remaining in overtime.

With the Predators returning many key cogs from last year’s championship team, Wells expects a strong campaign and for the veteran players to set an example for the younger, incoming players.

“We lose seven this year. We’re an older team but we’re going to hopefully see some new faces crack the lineup, or at least be out at practice, learning the ropes, and learning from these older guys so that we can continue to be as strong as we are in the future. It’s nice to have an older age group and a well-oiled leadership group as well. We lost one assistant captain, and we’ll replace him. We have so many leaders on our team that it doesn’t really matter who that letter goes to. As a coach, you can say one thing and you only have to repeat it once, because the leadership group’s all over them already.”

The Predators are looking to make waves on the national stage this season as Prince Albert will host a play-in game for the 2024 Founders Cup sometime during their season, a date for the game has not yet been announced.. The Founders Cup is a Junior B Tier 1 national championship that will be hosted in Hamilton, Ontario from August 18-25.

“It’ll be the best lacrosse Prince Albert has ever seen.” Well says. “This is the first time Prince Albert lacrosse has put a team forward to try and go to nationals, especially at that level. When we did put our name forward, I felt that there was a lot of disrespect from Saskatoon and Regina, and it’s going to just fuel their fire and we’re going to use that as an expectation. I expect us to be able to play with them and hopefully give whoever we play a very good game.”

The Predators will kick off exhibition play with a three game series against Winnipeg at the Kinsmen Arena on Apr. 20 and 21. The two teams will play at 2 and 7 p.m. on the 20th and a single game starting at noon on the 21st.