(WINDSOR, ON) – How best to top off your final season of Junior B lacrosse with the Windsor Clippers? You could probably shatter the team’s single-season and career points and assists records. You could also win the league’s scoring title by 33 points.
Then again, you could lead your team to their deepest playoff run in franchise history and capping it off by being drafted into the National Lacrosse League in a field of players considered the best from the Junior A league and NCAA.
Logan Holmes accomplished all that.
In his second year as Windsor’s team captain, he put together his second straight 100+ point season, leading his conference in scoring for the second time, and clinching the Ontario Junior B Lacrosse League points crown.
After a satisfyingly brilliant season, Holmes was signed to a one-year contract by the Buffalo Bandits after being picked 52nd overall a week before, in the 2016 NLL Entry Draft.
“Honestly, [I] was speechless,” said Holmes on Tuesday morning. “[When the draft] got to the last round … a few teams who have been talking to me for a while now and didn’t choose me with their final pick.”
Traditionally, a player must be an absolute standout as a Junior B player to be taken in the NLL draft. Junior A teams generally seem to have the pick of the litter when it comes to talented prospects in Ontario, but that only counts if you are from Toronto.
We are not in Toronto.
Windsor is an oasis of lacrosse talent often not picked by teams from the Ontario Junior A Lacrosse League. With all the teams in Junior A located three-plus hours away, very few Windsor players choose to leave home.
Only two Windsorites were rostered with Junior A clubs in 2016; Six Nations’ Kellen Leclair and Orangeville’s Lucas Ducharme. Despite the lack of representation in A, pro scouts do make it out to Windsor.
Including Holmes, three Clippers have been selected to the big leagues since the 2011 season. Leclair has already played a season with the Calgary Roughnecks, having been drafted last year, and Brett Hickey, a star for the Toronto Rock, was picked by Washington in 2011.
“[Logan] has worked hard to get to this point and I’m happy that he has that chance in Buffalo,” said friend and mentor Brett Hickey. “I think it’s fantastic that he was picked last night. I hope and am sure that he will do well [in camp] and I look forward to playing against him.”
“I was a little confused,” said Holmes, commenting on being passed over by all of the seemingly interested parties. “[I am] thankful that Buffalo selected me and excited to already be looking forward to getting a championship with them, hopefully, this year.”
Now he will be wearing the Black and Orange of the Bandits, but for the past five seasons, he has donned the Clippers’ Black and Gold. Three of those years, he did so under the tutelage of his uncle and coach Jerry Kavanaugh.
“[It is] a testament to the hard work he’s put in through his junior career [and to] the Clippers and Windsor Minor Lacrosse to have players make it to the highest level,” said Kavanaugh on Tuesday. “[It] shows the younger guys that they don’t have to leave here to make it. With Hickey, Leclair, and now Logan, it means we are doing something right.”
But, we all come from somewhere.
His step-father, Chad Soucie, and his uncles, Kavanaugh, Chris Derkatz, Dave Derush, and Chris Pestru, have all played big parts in his development. As a tyke, a young Logan needed a little nudge from his future Junior B coach.
“My first year of travel I ran off the floor crying because I was scared,” explained Holmes. “Jerry, literally, carried me back on and passed [the ball] with me until I stopped crying.”
“For Buffalo, getting Logan, he’ll be the hardest working kid at camp,” said coach Kavanaugh. “He just has to go out there and play his game. Obviously, there will be an adjustment period moving to that level, but he’s talented enough and his compete level will impress them. He’ll live in the gym between now and the start of camp and go there with the mindset that he will earn a spot.”
Longtime teammate and friend Andrew Garant, along with fellow graduating teammate Ryan Marchand, have been the core of the Clippers assault the last two seasons. A rising leader within the squad, Garant will more than likely step into Logan’s role with the team.
Although he is more than capable, they are huge shoes to fill.
“[I am] glad I got to play with him for over ten years,” said Garant. “It shows that you can really do it from Junior B … I wish him the best of luck and I hope one day I can say the same thing.”
The future looks bright for Logan Holmes as well as for the state of Windsor lacrosse.