The Vancouver Warriors will battle the Toronto Rock at Rogers Arena on Friday night to close out their 2019 season with one goal in mind: Win for the fans.
It’s fair to say this year hasn’t gone according to plan for the Warriors partly because of their missing parts. Highlighted by the loss of forward Joel McCready who sustained a lower-body injury early in the season as well as the absence of the team’s second round pick in the 2018 NLL Draft, defensemen Travis Burton, who has been unable to make his NLL debut due to injury, the team has missed key pieces to their lineup.
Young talent is still blossoming, but the team’s lack of depth has been a cause for concern all year, and head coach Chris Gill believes that is what separates the league’s top NLL Cup contenders from the pack.
“You need to be a team with depth,” said Gill. “If you look at the top teams in our division, they have tons of depth, and that’s why they’re on top of the division. We’re trending in the right direction, but we really need more depth in our lineup.”
The team’s thin lineup has forced many players to take on the minutes of those missing in action. Gill believes that, while he knows their effort has been resilient, it has also been taxing on the players on the floor.
“We asked a lot of our guys,” said Gill. “We asked them to play a lot of minutes, and they stepped up and did that. But, it’s asking a lot to play that many minutes. I’m proud of how hard they worked and for taking on that challenge.”
Regardless of the hurdles they’ve faced, the Warriors have made significant strides from their previous few seasons. General Manager Dan Richardson made sweeping roster changes when he took over the role before this season in hopes of improving from their 2-16 record in 2018.
With a win on Friday night, the Warriors could triple that total by notching a sixth victory. The Rock will be a formidable opponent seeing that they are in playoff preparation mode, but Gill and the Warriors are determined to show the fans what their team is capable of.
“We’re going to show people that we’re not going to quit until the last whistle,” said Gill. “We’re not in the playoffs, but we’re going to show the fans what to expect next year. This team has a lot of heart and character.”
Putting everything on the lines for the fans, the Warriors will hope to end their 2019 campaign on a high note. The team will match up against the Rock at 10 p.m. ET on Friday night on B/R Live.