Toronto Rock's Garrett Billings goes airborne during a scoring attempt against the Washington Stealth in the National Lacrosse League's championship game in May. Billings

Rock, Stealth set to battle in Langley

Exhibition game marks return of National Lacrosse League to B.C.

When the Toronto Rock and Washington Stealth face off in an exhibition game at the Langley Events Centre in December, it’s not quite clear who will have more crowd support.

The Stealth are located just a couple of hours away in Everett, Wash. and boast a large number of Lower Mainland lacrosse players.

The Rock, on the other hand, are one of three Canadian teams in the 10-team National Lacrosse League, and also have some B.C. connections to their roster.

But perhaps the thing that could tip the crowd in their favour is the fact Langley’s Garrett Billings is a member of the Rock.

And Billings expects more than a few friends and family to come watch him play in the game on Dec. 10.

“I think people are going to get a completely different brand of lacrosse,” Billings said, when contacted in Ontario.

Billings chose to stay east to play for the Six Nations Chiefs following the Rock’s season, which wrapped up with Toronto defeating the Stealth for the 2011 championship.

In 2010 it was the Stealth bettering the Rock.

While both his parents have seen him play professionally, the exhibition game will give his friends a chance to watch him too.

More importantly, it will be a chance for Lower Mainland lacrosse fans to show they support the game.

“I think anybody that loves lacrosse has to be at that game,” Billings said. “This is our chance to show that as a lacrosse community, we support (the sport) and fill up the building.”

The Vancouver Ravens played in the NLL from 2002-2004 out of GM Place (which is now Rogers Arena).

NLL commissioner George Daniel said the league is thrilled to return to B.C.

“British Columbia continues to be a hotbed for lacrosse,” he said on a conference call with media and representatives for the Rock and Stealth.

David Takata, the Stealth president said they have been trying to arrange something like this for a couple of years now.

The Stealth, who actively scour the Lower Mainland for recruits, already have several Lower Mainland players on their roster.

Having seen the LEC already, he called it a “world-class facility.”

“The architecture is great, the layout is great, they did everything right to bring lacrosse out there,” he said.

“We are real excited to go out west,” said Rock president/owner Jamie Dawick, who figures it will be a great bonding road trip with the regular season just weeks away.

As for the NLL coming back to the Lower Mainland, Daniel said it is inevitable they will return.

“There is no doubt in my mind,” he said. “We know there is a lot of people watching the games on television because we get the TV ratings from British Columbia.”

The league will monitor how many attend the December game.

“We would like to see some support from the lacrosse community and all the people who have been clamoring for us to come back,” he said. “I think that is the first step in showing all the key stakeholders there is support here to bring a team back.”

But coming to Langley is considered a long shot since the 5,200-seat facility would be the league’s smallest, although added he “wouldn’t want to rule anything out.”

On the day before the game, the coaching staffs of both teams will meet with local coaches, and then on Saturday afternoon, there will be on-floor clinics for youth players, conducted by members of the Rock and Stealth. And following the 7 p.m. game, there will be an autograph session.

Tickets go on sale on Tuesday (July 5) at 10 a.m. and are $18 to $28. They are available through www.ticketmaster.ca or 1-855-985-5000.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Construction underway for new Cloverdale elementary school

The $33 million school is to seat 655 students

George Garrett retires from Volunteer Cancer Drivers Society board

Society completes more than 58,000 trips since 2016

B.C. families financially affected by pandemic eligible for grocery gift cards

Program open to struggling families in Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley communities

Two Surrey schools report COVID-19 exposures, including second contact for Panorama Ridge

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

VIDEO: Shots fired outside Langley gas station that was scene of 2018 homicide

No reports of injuries in Saturday evening incident

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Most Read