Preds to make attempt at Founders’ Cup

Herald File Photo The Prince Albert Predators in action earlier this season.

For the first time in team history, the Prince Albert Predators are attempting to play on the national stage.

Prince Albert is hoping to qualify for the 2024 Founders’ Cup which is played in Hamilton, Ontario in August. Predators head coach Lucas Wells says the chance to compete on a national stage would be massive for the sport of lacrosse in Prince Albert.

“I think it’s huge. A PA team has never done this before. We tend to lose a lot of guys to go play Tier 1 in Saskatoon and Junior A in Saskatoon. Doing this, I’m hoping that we can keep some of those better players in PA and let them realize that we can compete at the highest level that we are able to.”

The Predators will host a play-in game for the Founders’ Cup at the Kinsmen Arena in Prince Albert on Friday, May 24 against Saskatoon. Wells says he is hoping the game will inspire young lacrosse players regardless of what the final result of the game is.

“If we can keep guys here and grow the game within PA, maybe a kid comes out to the game on Friday against Saskatoon and says, ‘that looks like so much fun. I want to try and play that.’ That’s ultimately the end goal. Would it be awesome to go? I would love to go, our full intent is to go. But in the same breath, PA has never had a team this good and has never had a chance to compete at that level.”

Currently, the Predators sit in first place in the Prairie Gold Lacrosse League (PGLL) standings with a perfect 6-0 record. The PGLL is a Junior B Tier II league and in order to punch their ticket to the Founders’ Cup, the Predators will need to defeat Saskatoon and Regina, who play in the Junior B Tier I ranks.

Wells says the news that the Predators would be competing for the Saskatchewan bid into the Founders’ Cup wasn’t received well by the other teams.

“It was looked down upon negatively. Traditionally, Founders has been the Tier I teams going so that’s the Queen City Kings out of Regina or Saskatoon, those two teams competing and now having a third team. I feel like the PGLL, which is the Junior B Tier II league that we play in here, I feel like it gets looked down upon from those players and those coaches in Tier I and the Junior A ranks. To be able to have a team that I think can compete and have the shot to go, I think it’s not only growing for the game of lacrosse in Prince Albert, but I also think that you might see guys try and stick around here a little bit more and make our league better in years to come (and that) is ultimately the goal.”

Despite being the top team in the PGLL so far this season, the Predators will have to embrace the underdog mentality for their Founders’ Cup play-in game as the only Tier II team competing for the spot in Hamilton.

Wells says the team being an underdog will also pay dividends in their PGLL schedule as well.

“I think it’s good. I think it’ll help us with our season going forward this year. I think that in the future, we’ll know with all the returning guys that this is where we have to be. If we want to do this again, this is where we have to be.”

Prince Albert hosts the Saskatoon Swat in a Founders’ Cup Play-In game on Friday May 24 at Kinsmen Arena. Ball drop is at 8 p.m.

If the Predators win, they will move on to face the Queen City Kings in a best-of-three series with the winner advancing to the Founders’ Cup in Hamilton, Ontario from August 18-25.