Semiahmoo Rock alumni selected in pro lacrosse draft

Tre Leclaire, Sam La Roue picked by National Lacrosse League teams

A pair of Semiahmoo Rock lacrosse alumni have the pro game in their sights after being selected in the National Lacrosse League draft last week.

Last Thursday (Sept. 17), Tre Leclaire was selected fourth overall by the San Diego Seals in the NLL draft, and a short time later, Sam La Roue was picked in the second round, 19th overall, by the Buffalo Bandits.

Both players were teammates with the New Westminster Salmonbellies of the BC Junior ‘A’ Lacrosse League last season, though La Roue – who was the youngest player in last week’s draft – only spent a few games with New West after a late-season loan from the Burnaby Lakers, who selected La Roue first overall in the BCJALL draft in January of 2019. His playing rights have since transfered back to Burnaby.

Only five Semiahmoo Rock members have ever been selected in the NLL draft; Adam and Carter Dickson were both chosen by the Calgary Roughnecks in 2018, 23rd and 45th overall, respectively, and Spencer Bromley, who went on to play lacrosse at McGill University, was picked in the fifth round, 48th overall, by the Saskatchewan Rush in 2016.

While Leclaire’s selection at No. 4 overall was not exactly a shock – the Ohio State University product has long been a star in both box and field lacrosse – the addition of La Roue among the draft eligible players was a bit of a surprise.

Normally, players enter the NLL draft after their junior year of university lacrosse – usually at the NCAA level. La Roue, however, is just 18 and in his first season of post-secondary, but with two major differences than most of his fellow draftees: he attends school in Canada, and plays football.

The former Earl Marriott Secondary quarterback is in his first year with the Western University Mustangs – where two of his uncles formerly played. In order to qualify for the NLL draft, he had to renounce his NCAA eligibility. He can, however, continue his university football career in Canada.

The 2020-‘21 U Sports football season has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I realized I wasn’t going to be playing lacrosse (in the NCAA) because I’m playing football here in Canada, so I decided, why not enter the draft? There was nothing really to lose,” La Roue told Peace Arch News.

A draft recap posted to the BCJALL website commends the Bandits for planning ahead by selecting La Roue.

“Good franchises plan ahead in the NLL… and La Roue represents the forward-thinking approach Buffalo has. He may not crack the roster right away, but the kid has at least four more years in junior, and there’s plenty of room to grow.”

In his rookie season in the BCJALL in 2019, La Roue tallied 14 goals and added 25 assists.

In another glowing review of La Roue’s game, called the South Surrey teenager, who is six-foot-three and 200 pounds, “a physical specimen who draws rave reviews for his potential from folks who have been watching him play for awhile.”

La Roue said he plans to attend the Bandits’ training camp, which typically begins a month before the January start to the season, though the pandemic is expected to push that date back this season.

Between that and the lack of a university football season for 2020-‘21, the path for La Roue to play both sports for in the near term is clear – the Buffalo-based lacrosse team even practises weekly just across the border in Oakville, Ont., which is about an hour and a half drive from Western’s campus in London.

However, he knows down the road he may have to decide between the two, since the traditional NLL season would begin in the middle of the school year.

“I’m not opposed to trying to play both, but it’s just tough to say if I’d be able to once both seasons start going full tilt,” he said.

Leclaire, meanwhile, has played four seasons in the B.C. junior league – the first two with the Delta Islanders, and the last two with New West. During the 2019 season, he scored 35 goals and added 43 assists in 17 games. He added 30 more points in seven playoff games.

Like La Roue, the 22-year-old Leclaire – an Elgin Park Secondary graduate – is a former first overall pick in the BCJALL, having been selected in 2015.

He ranks second in Ohio State University history with 135 career goals and was a three-time All-American and two-time All-Big Ten selection.

“We feel confident with the players selected in tonight’s draft,” said San Diego general manager/head coach Patrick Merrill. “We added guys who are talented, dedicated and excited about their NLL careers.”

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