Chilliwack lacrosse star Ryan Johnson drafted 15th overall by senior Adanacs
By Dan Olson, Surrey NowFebruary 28, 2012
He's familiar with the commute.
And familiarity will make it all the more easier for Chilliwack's Ryan Johnson when the 2012 Western Lacrosse Association begins in May.
The six-foot-two transition player, who toiled the past three years for the Coquitlam junior A Adanacs, was chosen with the 15th pick overall by the Coquitlam senior Adanacs at the WLA's junior draft in Burnaby.
Chilliwack's Ryan Johnson (right) was drafted alongside Coquitlam junior A Adanacs teammate Travis Cornwall by the Adanacs senior squad earlier this month. Photograph by: Dan Olson , for the TIMES
His next goal is to make a big impression come training camp.
"I took the drive out from Chilliwack and I didn't have any clue where I was going to go," said Johnson at the Burnaby Firefighters' Hall, which hosted the annual event. "I'm just lucky to get drafted by a great team in Coquitlam and happy to stay there."
Knowing the rink and his surroundings should assist him in making the next step. On a veteranladen junior Adanacs roster, Johnson was called upon to provide a mix of elements en route to the Minto Cup championship tournament last year.
Although the club fell in the final, that experience-along with Minto Cup marches in his previous two seasons in Coquitlam- should only help him in his hunt.
"I've got speed, quickness and size, I can bring all three of those. It's going to be tough to make the team with all the great players they've got already," he noted. "I just want to go out and contribute, be a big transition player who runs the ball up the floor and put the ball in the net, too."
He contributed 36 goals and 24 assists in 19 regular season games as a 21-year old last season. Among his goals were four shorthanded markers. The righthander also contributed five goals and seven helpers over eight B.C. playoff games.
As was the usual routine with the Curt Malawsky coached juniors, few members of the team were called up during the season to avoid possible injuries. That means Johnson's next turn in senior Adanac blue will be his first.
He's looking forward to the opportunity.
"Curt [Malawsky]is-the best coach I've ever had. He taught me just to keep giving, he thought he could get more from me and just kept me pushing," said Johnson.
Senior Adanac management, which began the draft by taking Johnson's junior teammate Travis Cornwall first overall, like the mix of size and speed that the Chilliwack native brings to the floor.
"Ryan's big, he's very fast and he's got a good shot," remarked Coquitlam first-year general manager Randy Delmonico. "He's very skilled. Most of the guys we picked
were pretty big and that's something we needed to address. [Guys like Dane] Dobbie need some people to break him loose and feed him - guys like Johnson and [Burnaby's} Jaxson Lee are pretty good lacrosse players who can feed that side."
For Johnson, getting drafted has come despite growing up in a small association.
He picked up the sport as a youngster but found an affinity with the game quickly.
"My neighbour introduced me to it [in tyke]. We had a coach who taught us the basic fundamentals of lacrosse, nothing systematic or that," recalled Johnson. "Luckily I got noticed by (junior general manager) Ken Wood in Coquitlam, got drafted out there and the rest of it is pie.
"I stuck with lacrosse because it kept me fit, it was competitive and I was a bit of an orangutan around the house my mom said, so it kept me mellow."
The senior Adanacs, who finished in last place and missed the playoffs for the first time in 15 years, expect to benefit from this year's draft and return to the playoff hunt this coming year.
"As far as a rebuilding phase, I don't think 'rebuilding' is what we're doing in Coquitlam at all," Cornwall said. "We're building right now in the draft with some great players so we should be ready to go, ready to win."