Brooklin Swings Pair Of Trades

By Sam Laskaris

The Brooklin Lacrosse Club has announced it has completed a pair of trades. The deals, which were made public Wednesday but only given league approval on Thursday, will not only unload a pair of players who were not going to play for Brooklin this season but also hopefully provide some immediate help to the Major Series Lacrosse (MSL) squad.

For starters, Brooklin sent Mark Matthews to the Peterborough Lakers, the two-time defending Mann Cup champions. In return, Brooklin acquired Justin Lemcke and Dan Michel. Brooklin also sent Shayne Jackson to the Six Nations Chiefs in exchange for the playing rights of brothers Ryan and John Wagner.

Matthews and Jackson are the two biggest names in these deals. But on positive notes both deals were written up so that the rights to both Matthews and Jackson will revert back to Brooklin during the 2020 season according to Major Series policy. Brooklin will also retain the rights to all four of the players acquired in the two trades.

Matthews had played sparingly for Brooklin the last few seasons. But Brooklin general manager Brad MacArthur said Matthews, who is also a member of the Saskatchewan Rush and one of the top stars of the National Lacrosse League (NLL), was unlikely to suit up for his squad this year.

“Some guys need a rest at the end of the NLL season,” MacArthur said of Matthews, who had been selected as the NLL’s MVP in 2018. “And we had communicated a couple weeks ago and he told me ‘I’d really like a shot at winning a Mann Cup this season' as his summer lacrosse is likely coming to a close sooner than later." That possibility looks unlikely to happen with Brooklin as the youthful squad is winless in nine starts this season. Early indications are that the Lakers, however, just might have what it takes to accomplish their three-peat as they are currently sporting a 7-2 mark. Matthews is also toiling this summer in the professional American-based field lacrosse circuit, Major League Lacrosse, with the New York Lizards.

MacArthur is anticipating both Lemcke and Michel will suit up for Brooklin. Lemcke, who has played six games with the Lakers this season, is actually a two-sport athlete. He was the captain of the Hamilton Bulldogs who captured the Ontario Hockey League championship in 2018. “He’s a local guy from Whitby who has played with a number of guys from our team,” MacArthur said. “And he’s got a high level of playing experience.”

As for Michel, a former captain of the Peterborough Lakers’ Junior A team, he hasn’t been toiling for the senior Lakers this season. Instead, he’s been starring for the Ennismore James Gang, a Senior "B" squad that competes in the Ontario Series Lacrosse. Michel has a league-high 29 goals in 12 games with the James Gang. He’s also added nine goals and with his 38 points he’s in fourth place in league scoring. But MacArthur anticipates Michel, who played the 2017 season at the Senior A level in the Western Lacrosse Association with the Nanaimo Timbermen, will dress the with the Brooklin Lacrosse Club when available as his Ontario Series rights have been acquired by Owen Sound.

As for Jackson, who also stars in the NLL with the Georgia Swarm, he had been in Brooklin’s lineup the last several years. Though he’s a Bowmanville native he’s living in Georgia now as he’s also focused on his NLL/MLL career – he’s a member of the Atlanta Blaze and Georgia Swarm. 

As for the Wagner brothers, they’re from Niagara on the Lake, but will be living and working in Toronto. Ryan Wagner, a 25-year-old who has played the past four seasons for various teams in the NLL, will not be suiting up for Brooklin this year as he’s recovering from shoulder surgery.

His 22-year-old brother John recently completed his NCAA field lacrosse career with Marquette University. He went on a tour of Asia following his graduation.

“John is on a trip right now, but we'll be looking to get him in our lineup as soon as he is available.” MacArthur said.