(WINDSOR, ON) – On September 18, Windsor lacrosse received the type of validation the program has long deserved. The southwest corridor had struggled through the 1990s to regain local junior-level lacrosse. In 2003, the Windsor AKO Fratmen, now known as the Windsor Clippers, was conceived to fill that void.
The relationship between the Clippers and the Windsor Warlocks minor lacrosse system has been beneficial in many regards, as the Warlocks train the young laxers, and the Clippers have started to show how well they can polish them.
In 2011, it all began with the drafting of Brett Hickey by the Washington Stealth of the National Lacrosse League. In 2015, the Calgary Roughnecks discovered and ran with Kellen LeClair. And, in 2016, the Buffalo Bandits snatched up scoring champion Logan Holmes.
In this year’s NLL Entry Draft the Clippers set a new precedent by having two of their alumni selected in the same year. In the fourth round, 40th overall, the Toronto Rock selected defensive stalwart Josh Jubenville. The Vancouver Stealth selected Clippers’ captain Andrew ‘Hammer’ Garant, in the 6th round, 56th overall.
“Being drafted by such a highly sought-after team made me feel like all my hard work and dedication has paid off,” said Jubenville. “Though the hardest part is yet to come, I’m prepared to work harder than I ever have to come back from my injury so that I can be ready to battle against the best lacrosse players in the world.”
Jubenville played the 2017 season with the Six Nations Arrows of the Ontario Junior A Lacrosse League, but spent the four previous seasons in the trenches with the Clippers. He celebrated an Iroquois Trophy provincial championship and Minto Cup national title as a member of the Arrows.
“The Toronto Rock is an awesome organization that I believe I will fit into right away,” said Jubenville. “I believe my strengths and my playing style will mesh perfectly with the Rock’s strategies. With connections to Windsor already [through Hickey] and being only four hours from home, I couldn’t imagine a better scenario. Being drafted in the NLL has been a goal of mine since I started playing lacrosse 11 years ago and I’m incredibly excited to achieve that goal with the help of the Rock, but the hard work doesn’t end here.”
Jubenville knows that the goals that he reaches for in lacrosse are based on solid roots.
“Also, I’d like to thank everyone that has helped me along the way to get here,” he said. “Starting from Jerry Kavanaugh, Barry Garant, and all my other coaches who believed in me in Windsor, to Pat Merrill and the rest of the Six Nations Arrows organization, who gave me the tools to push my lacrosse career to the next level. And, of course, this wouldn’t be possible without my parents supporting me over all the years.”
In four seasons with the Clippers, Jubenville collected 76 points in 134 games before jumping up to Junior A.
Garant is the reigning 2017 Ontario Junior B scoring champion, the all-time points leader in Clippers history, and the first Clipper to reach the 500-point plateau.
“It’s really an honour,” said Garant. “I’m proud of myself. This is something I’ve wanted for such a long time and I’m really excited to be part of the Vancouver Stealth and hope to crack a lineup.”
Garant finished what may be the greatest Clippers career in team history this past July. He racked up 548 points in 144 games and, according to WampersBibleOfLacrosse.com, sits 38th all-time in career combined regular season and playoff point-scoring.
Getting drafted into the NLL is, “… a testament to the work both guys put in. When Jubs was here, he was the best D guy in our league. [He] stepped right into Junior A and excelled there,” said Clippers head coach and Warlocks president Jerry Kavanaugh. “Hammer’s numbers speak for themselves. As we saw with Logan [Holmes] last year and [Brett] Hickey before, getting drafted is just the beginning. Cracking an NLL lineup right out of junior is tough. The hard work starts now, but I know both guys are willing to do whatever it takes to get there.”