Story courtesy New Westminster Salmonbellies
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen any action on the wooden floor at Queen’s Park, but the New Westminster Salmonbellies are already making some big moves in their line-up. While this Thursday night is draft night in the Western Lacrosse Association, the Senior A Bellies didn’t wait to make changes. On Monday, they dramatically strengthened their line-up by trading to bring big right-hander Colton Clark to the Royal City.
The Clark trade is bound to surprise to the rest of the league. The Bellies traded away their 2023 second round pick to Nanaimo for Clark, a player that the Timbermen have turned to for goals and leadership. Clark now makes his home on the mainland, and he’s developed some familiarity with many of the Bellies’ players, after playing with many of them as a Vancouver Warrior. At 6’3”, Clark is a big man with a potent right hand shot. He notched 58 points over 18 games in the 2019 season and Porcellato thinks he has even more to offer. “Anytime you can add a big strong veteran player who is in rock shape you do it, so it didn’t take long for us to agree to terms with Nanaimo when Colton was made available. He is still playing at a high-level on the offensive end of the floor, but we plan to utilize him at both ends. His physicality and skill set give us a lot of options. He is also a wonderful guy who is already very good friends with most of our room, so our chemistry will be getting an upgrade.”
Porcellato knows Clark well from his time with the Junior Bellies. “This will actually be the second time I have traded for him. When I was with the Junior Salmonbellies and gearing up for a Minto Cup run, we acquired Colton and Cody Bremner from the Nanaimo juniors. We lost Orangeville in the semifinal, but Colton played very well for us.”
For Clark, it’s an exciting move. “This is my second go-around with the Bellies, so I am just as pumped this time around. The team has a strong veteran core so I’m excited to see where this team will go this year.” After 4 full seasons in the WLA and experience in the NLL, Clark knows many of the Bellies as both former teammates and opponents. “I enjoy learning from different players, so it should be fun to play with guys who I haven't played with before, like Crowley, McCready, and Jones. And I am also looking forward to rekindling a connection with Logan (Schuss) and Jordy (McBride).”
Clark has averaged better than a goal a game and more than 3 points per game since 2017. He sees himself as a player who will help the “big guns” find the net more often. “I can bring strong secondary scoring. This is a team with guys who can put 3, 4 or 5 goals a night and do it with ease. I’ll look to score when I have chances, but mostly I’m looking to help them get open and to feed them the ball when they are free.”
In an era where most players are specialists, Clark is proud of the fact that he can contribute at both ends of the floor. “I think that one of my strongest assets is my two-way game. I love to put pressure on the defensive transition, so I will be looking to help out with that.”
The WLA Draft goes this Thursday night and can be watched live at wlalacrosse.com
The Salmonbellies won’t officially pick until the third round, but they will have the opportunity to protect a local player in the opening “Territorial Protection” round and are expected to make a key move.