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

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.

Just Posted

Jean-Pierre Antonio
Article chronicling haiku in Japanese internment camp near Hope wins award

Tashme Haiku Club’s work was preserved and recently translated, authors write

These three kittens, seen here on Thursday, June 10, 2021, are just some of many up for adoption at the Chilliwack SPCA. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Three kittens at the Chilliwack SPCA

Kittens were in ‘rough shape’ when they came into the Chilliwack SPCA, now ready for adoption

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Chilliwack family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A new sign was installed at St. Thomas Anglican Church on Saturday, June 5, 2021 in Chilliwack. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Community effort to install new sign at Chilliwack’s oldest church

‘We feel it’s a step in the right direction to bring the church up-to-date,’ says St. Thomas parishioner

Dennis Saulnier rescued his daughters, two-year-old Brinley (left) and four-year-old Keegan, after their truck was driven off the road and into Cultus Lake on May 16, 2020. Reporter Jenna Hauck has been recognized by the B.C. and Yukon Community Newspapers Association for her story on the rescue. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Chilliwack Progress, Hope Standard staff take home 7 Ma Murray awards

Jenna Hauck, Eric Welsh, Jessica Peters, Emelie Peacock all earn journalism industry recognition

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Most Read