An original Calgary Mountaineer, Troy Kachor has seen the team develop into one that is already capable of tossing a scare into some of the national powers.
Now entering his fourth and final season with the junior A lacrosse club, the Red Deer product is not only a veteran, but a team leader, as he showed Sunday at the Collicutt Centre, where he scored twice to help the Mountaineers wipe out a 6-1 deficit and earn an 8-8 exhibition tie with the Edmonton Miners.
“One of the goals was behind my back. That made me smile,” said Kachor, who was still wearing a grin roughly 30 minutes after the fact.
Kachor was a key member of the 2005 edition of the Red Deer junior B Tier 2 Rampage, a team that roared through the season en route to a 23-0-1 record.
The following season, he and four Rampage teammates made the jump to the junior A level, with Kachor heading to Calgary to join the expansion Mountaineers. As a Grade 12 Red Deer high school student, he was up and down Highway 2 on a consistent basis that year, then moved to Calgary when he graduated.
“I’ve been able to watch the team come along over the years,” said the 20-year-old, who works as a property adjustor.
“We’ve come a long way, especially in the Minto Cup last year. We really showed what we can do against the top teams in the country.”
Indeed, the host Mountaineers were impressive in a 7-4 loss to the eventual runner-up Victoria Shamrocks — one of the more storied franchises in the country — during the 2008 Minto Cup, the Canadian junior A lacrosse championship tournament. The Calgary squad also got gained a measure of revenge with an overtime win over the Miners, who were in the tournament as Alberta champions.
“We really didn’t have a great league playoffs, but we were able to turn it around in the Minto Cup,” said Kachor.
While he was a top-flight player at the junior B level, Kachor said making the step to the next level was easier said than done.
“Yeah, it was quite a jump. What you definitely notice is the size of the players and the amount of hitting,” he said. “And the junior A game is so much faster. That was the biggest thing I noticed.”
Kachor is among a handful of Central Alberta players who have competed or are currently competing in the four-team Alberta Junior A League, which also consists of the Calgary Raiders and the Miners and the Eclipse out of Edmonton. All four clubs participated in a series of exhibition games Sunday at the Collicutt.
Nils Thompson is a second-year Miner, while Riley Campbell and Duggan Doerghty made the club this year after playing junior B in Red Deer last season. Nick Amendt of Ponoka is also with the Miners, while in past years Andrew Kirkaldy, Drew Comeau and Owen Williams suited up with the Calgary Raiders and Trent Olesen and A.J. Nelson played with the Eclipse.
“The sport is getting more popular in Alberta all the time,” said Kachor, who attributes a large portion of the boom to the presence of the Calgary Roughnecks and the Edmonton Rush, members of the professional National Lacrosse League.
“There’s been just a huge explosion in minor registration since the Roughnecks started up (in 2001),” he added. “You see a lot of kids at Roughnecks games, which is really good for the sport.”
Stepping up to the pro level is a monumental task for any junior A player, as one of Kachor’s buddies recently discovered.
“That’s a huge step,” said Kachor. “A friend of mine tried out for the Roughnecks this season and almost made it. He was the last cut, but now he’s made the Victoria Shamrocks senior A team so he’s heading out there.”
That’s a route Kachor would like to emulate.
“Definitely, one of my ambitions is to play pro,” he said. “Maybe one day I can make it there. Hopefully I can make a senior A team and then eventually make pro.”
Contact Greg Meachem at firstname.lastname@example.org