Welcome the Wild.
The Okanagan Wild are officially the British Columbia Intermediate Lacrosse League’s newest team, an Interior regional box lacrosse team.
The Wild become the BCILL’s eleventh team and will feature 25 elite athletes (born in 1999 or 2000) to represent the Interior, competing against B.C.’s best.
The Wild received a 9-1 vote by BCILL governors in favour of joining for the upcoming 2017 season.
“The expansion of the Okanagan Wild Inter A Lacrosse Team to B.C.’s Interior is exciting news for the growing box lacrosse community in the Interior as the league provides a much needed bridge between minor lacrosse and junior lacrosse for players aged 16 to 18,” the league announced in a press release.
The Wild will be coached by Penticton’s Dan Chetner.
“To be the coach is really exciting. It’s an honour,” said Chetner, who most recently earned a silver medal at the B.C. Summer Games as coach and won a provincial A2 championship to go with a national bronze medal with Team B.C. along with his other accomplishments.
“The talent pool is very deep and the league is very high level. It’s the highest level of lacrosse in B.C. for kids that age. These are the kids that go on to play junior A lacrosse, and onto the professional lacrosse leagues.
“To have the opportunity to coach a group of athletes like that, and to see them continue to develop as lacrosse players and give them an opportunity to continue on at that highest level is really exciting,” Chetner continued.
Chetner was selected to coach the team by Wild governor/general manager Martin Gardner.
When initially approached, Chetner thought the team was never going to happen.
Chetner said in the past there has been talk of a regional team, but nothing came of it.
“It’s almost shocking that it actually happened,” said Chetner.
“What I’ve seen of the whole process, Martin Gardner has been fantastic in putting a proposal together.
“Making the right contacts and doing it the right way, really putting together a strong proposal.”
The Wild will compete against a variety of Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island teams with the season set to open in April.
With approximately 120 eligible lacrosse players throughout the Interior, the Wild is positioned to become a successful organization on and off the floor and will compete at the highest level possible for years to come.
The first camp is scheduled to be held at Armstrong’s Hassen Memorial Arena on Feb. 19.