Clancy Almas Takes Over Head Coaching Reins For Merchants Lacrosse Club

By Sam Laskaris

The Merchants Lacrosse Club has a new bench boss. The Oshawa-based squad, which competes in the Ontario Series Lacrosse (OSL), has announced that Clancy Almas is its new head coach.

Almas, a Hamilton resident, is not necessarily a new face to the organization. That’s because last year he was brought in and served as the scouting director for the Merchants’ affiliate, the Brooklin Lacrosse Club, which competes in the Major Series Lacrosse (MSL). Almas ended up working as an assistant coach for a handful of matches with the Merchants last season as well.

He takes over the Merchants’ head coaching reins from Jason Crosbie, who will now focus on his MSL assistant coaching role with Brooklin, a position he also held last year. As for Almas, he will continue his MSL work, as Brooklin’s scouting director.

He’s pleased he’s added the Merchants’ head coaching gig to his responsibilities now. “It’s exciting,” he said. “It’s a good group of guys that we have and they really work hard.”

Meanwhile, Ryan Preston will continue to be an assistant coach with the Merchants.

Almas estimates that about 75-80 per cent of those on the Merchants’ roster last season will be back vying for jobs once training camp opens.

The Merchants posted a 9-6-0 record in 2019. The club, however, had its season come to an end when it was edged in the maximum five games by the Oakville Titans in its best-of-five OSL semi-final series. The Titans eked out a 9-8 overtime victory in Game 5 of the series. The Six Nations Rivermen then defeated Oakville 3-1 in the best-of-five OSL championship final. The Rivermen went on to capture the Presidents Cup, the national Senior B crown.

Almas said the Merchants will be striving to win their own league title in 2020. “That’s always the goal,” he said. “If you have a different goal, you shouldn’t be doing that.” This year the Canadian tournament will be staged in August in Leduc, Alta. “We want to have a long playoff run,” Almas said. “And we want to get to the (Presidents Cup). I don’t think we’re that far off.”

Almas is looking forward to continuing his working relationship with Brad MacArthur, who besides being the Merchants’ general manager is also the head coach/GM of the Brooklin franchise. “He builds winners,” Almas said of MacArthur. “That’s what he does.”

Almas said he agreed to take the Merchants’ head coaching job after MacArthur gave him the approval to briefly leave the squad this coming July. Almas is also an assistant coach with Team Ireland that will be hosting the world under-19 boys’ field lacrosse tournament. That event runs July 9-18 in Limerick, Ireland.

MacArthur is pleased Almas has agreed to take on an additional role with the Brooklin/Merchants organization.

“Clancy understands and embraces the development model we’ve taken on,” MacArthur said. “He’s a guy who has developed players and continues to do so.” MacArthur also likes Almas’ way of thinking. “In terms of coaching style, he’s structured yet open enough to understand players have and need creativity,” he said. MacArthur also likes the fact Almas works well with others in the organization. “There’s chemistry amongst the staff which is just as important to our over-all success as anything,” he said.

The Merchants kick off their 2020 regular season on May 15 with a home game against the Ennismore James Gang.