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Calgary Roughnecks draft young Saanich lacrosse star for coming NLL season

Going pro at 19 is ‘surreal,’ says Patrick Dodds
Lacrosse player Patrick Dodds, who got his start playing for the Saanich Tigers and the Victoria Shamrocks, will play for the Calgary Roughnecks in the upcoming National Lacrosse League season. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Saanich-based lacrosse player Patrick Dodds, 19, will play for the Calgary Roughnecks, Alberta’s professional box lacrosse team.

During the Sept. 17 National Lacrosse League (NLL) draft entry, Dodds, a right-handed forward who’s been playing for nearly a decade, was selected during the second round – 21st overall.

Dodds played for the Victoria Shamrocks in 2019 and spent the early part of his lacrosse career with the Saanich Lacrosse Association and the Claremont Secondary team.

READ ALSO: Western Lacrosse Association cancels season for Victoria Shamrocks

Dodds was “fairly sure” he’d be chosen during the 2020 draft but didn’t know which team he’d end up on – though he was hoping to be selected by the Roughnecks as he admires many of the team’s players.

The Roughnecks are the team to beat so it was “surreal” to be selected by them, Dodds said, noting that Calgary is also close enough for his parents to come to watch him play.

Dodds’ father, Will, said eight other teams contacted his son before the draft but Calgary was the first choice. “I can’t believe that it’s happening,” said Will. He coached his son for several years before serving as the Saanich Lacrosse Association president and is now ready to be “just a fan.”

The 2020 season has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so Dodds suspects that training camps will begin sometime in December.

READ ALSO: Saanich Tigers lacrosse players showcase skills in virtual passing video

Will said not only will Dodds be playing for the defending champions, but he’ll be teammates with “legends of the league” – a fact that hasn’t quite sunk in for the 19-year-old. For Dodds, it feels like just yesterday that he was too scared to get out of the car for Tyke-level lacrosse and now he’ll be bumping elbows with his lacrosse heroes and signing autographs.

He’d always planned to “go pro” but wasn’t expecting it to happen so soon. Most lacrosse players get drafted in their early 20s once they’ve completed junior play, Dodds said. He plans to continue to play for the Junior Shamrocks.

“It is great to see him land with a Canadian team fairly close to home so his family and fans can travel to watch him play,” said Andy Stuart, president of the Saanich Lacrosse Association.

READ ALSO: Saanich referee takes the floor at national box lacrosse championships

He added that seeing a local get drafted to the NLL will have a positive impact on young Saanich players – especially as many are feeling down with the 2020 season being cancelled.

Dodds plans to play professional lacrosse for as long as he can while also eventually working as a firefighter. To the up and coming players wanting to follow in his footsteps, he says to “make some friends, stick with it” and remember that while not everyone can make it big, “why can’t it be you?”

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Lacrosse player Patrick Dodds, 19, got his start playing for the Saanich Tigers in Braefoot Park and has now been drafted to the Calgary Roughnecks for the upcoming National Lacrosse League season. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

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