By Sam Laskaris

Tanner Cook will continue to showcase his skills in Durham Region.

That’s because the Brooklin Lacrosse Club has announced it has placed the 21-year-old on its protected list prior to the Junior Draft the Major Series Lacrosse (MSL) hosted last night at the Peterborough and District Sports Hall of Fame, located inside the Memorial Centre.

Cook has spent the past four years starring with the Whitby Warriors’ Junior A club.

Brooklin was allowed to protect a maximum of four Warriors prior to the draft. But for each player it did protect it would have to release one individual from its active 25-man roster.

Cook is currently in the U.S. as he is finishing off his fourth and final season on a field lacrosse scholarship at the University of North Carolina. Cook is expected to complete his degree in Environmental Studies this May.

“Tanner adds a dimension we need offensively,” said Brad MacArthur, who doubles as the head coach and general manager of the Brooklin Lacrosse Club. “His size, strength and personal demeanour are suited for Major Series success.”

Cook is currently packing 215 pounds on his 6-foot-3 frame.

MacArthur is already rather well acquainted with Cook. MacArthur coached Cook during the 2015 season, his first in the junior ranks, when he toiled for the Clarington-based Green Gaels, a Junior B squad.

After one season with the Green Gaels, Cook made the jump to the Warriors. In terms of points, Cook’s best season with the Whitby franchise was in 2018 when he led the club in scoring, racking up 74 points, including a team high 46 goals, in 18 regular season games.

Cook led the Warriors in scoring in 2018 even though he also had a team high 91 penalty minutes.

Cook, who is from Courtice, appeared in 13 regular season matches in 2019 with the Warriors. He earned 46 points, including 26 goals, in those appearances.

Cook was also called up and appeared in four games at the Major level with Brooklin, while he was a member of the Warriors, most recently during the 2018 campaign when he earned eight points (three goals and five assists) in just two matches.

MacArthur is confident Cook will be able to hold his own in his rookie MSL season.

“He’s played games for us in the past as an affiliate and he’s not going to be pushed around,” he said.

Cook said MacArthur first expressed an interest in protecting him last summer. He was thrilled with the idea at the time. Cook confirmed his desire to join the Brooklin franchise in a recent follow-up conversation with MacArthur.

“Growing up in Durham you watch the Warriors and the Redmen (the franchise was renamed Brooklin Lacrosse Club in 2019),” Cook said. “You see great players progress through the path and you think maybe that could be you some day.”

That some day has now arrived for Cook.

“I feel I’m ready to make a jump,” Cook said of his upcoming MSL rookie year. “And it’s going to be a jump for sure.”