Dynasty is an appropriate word to describe the Dalhousie men’s field lacrosse team the past few years.
They have won six straight championships and have not lost a game since 2013. This year is going to be different.
The past few seasons the team’s roster has been fairly consistent but this year they have more new players than returning ones. The team’s Head Coach, Connor Dubreuil, says they have 18 new players, and 14 returning.
In previous seasons, Dubreuil and his coaching staff worked more on setting up and fine-tuning the team to get them prepared for the start of the season. With so many new faces this year, it has meant that the coaches have had to spend more time learning about their players and their team; and teaching fundamentals like communication.
Dubreuil does believe there could be a learning curve. The team graduated all of their starting attackmen last year and has four first-years coming into that position this year. The team is experienced on the defensive side of the ball with two returning goalies, and has three defenders: Hayden Nix, Elliot Fougere and Neil McCallum, who will start their 14th game together once the season begins.
Even though the attackmen have a lot of potential, Dubreuil is expecting the defense to bail them out at times.
“There is also a lot of talent coming in with the freshman class on the offensive end and I think their celling is pretty high,” said Dubreuil. “If they put in the work and the defense can hold the fort for the first little bit, I think we can have two really strong units by the end of the season.”
Whether or not having a young team will impact this group’s chances to continue their winning and championship streak is not something Dubreuil gives a lot of thought about. He is more concerned with how his team is going to play during each individual practice and game.
“We don’t really like to look too far ahead, and we just like to focus on what we can take care of,” said Dubreuil. “We can control practices, we can control our preparedness for games, but we can’t control streaks or championship runs and all that sort of stuff, we just try to focus on what we can handle on the field and in between the lines.”
Fourth-year-player and Student President, Brett McGuire, does believe that another championship is possible this season, even with such a young team.
“I always do” (believe they will win a championship,) said McGuire. “Even though we have a lot of new faces, we have a lot of eager new talent that are willing to learn and willing to buy into the system, and really work hard at getting it. For us, the guys who have won, we would like to keep winning and we want to build a culture like that so the young guys can come in and build off that culture.”
First-year-player Fin Depencier is also confident in the team’s abilities.
“We have a lot of rookies but I think we’re absolutely still capable of dominating,” said Depencier.
With such a rich recent winning history, it would be understandable if the young team felt too much pressure to keep both the win streak and championship streak alive.
No one on the team thought it would be an issue. Nix believes the returning players will be able to lead the team through that pressure. Others, like McGuire, said the team doesn’t think about it a lot, but he looks at the pressure as a positive instead of a negative.
“I don’t think it adds any negative pressure, just enough incentive to work hard and keep doing what we’re doing.”
If they keep doing what they’re doing, given the history of the program, it should lead to another successful season. Whether that leads to another championship is yet to be known.