Islanders sniper among top picks in NLL Draft

Defending champion Calgary selects Haiden Dickson eighth overall

What a difference a couple of  months can make in Haiden Dickson’s lacrosse career.

The 18-year-old Delta Islanders sniper was headed to early summer holidays until he was traded to the Minto Cup-bound Coquitlam Adanacs at the July 1 roster deadline.

 Not only did Dickson get a wealth of playoff experience with the powerhouse B.C. Junior “A” Lacrosse League franchise, he received added exposure too in front of pro scouts.

That set the stage for Tuesday’s National Lacrosse League Draft when Dickson was selected eighth overall by the defending champion Calgary Roughnecks. The pick was a big enough surprise that he wasn’t even in attendance at the proceedings in Philadelphia like many of the top prospects. Instead he learned of the news while watching the draft on his computer.

The Roughnecks used their second of two picks in the opening round to take Dickson after drafting Six Nations defender Liam LeClair one pick earlier. Ironically, Calgary used the pick acquired from San Diego to grab Dickson. 

It was Seals that also expressed interest in him but didn’t have a pick until 25th overall. With the Roughnecks not selecting again until late in the third round, they didn’t want to miss out on the 6-foot-2 195-pound right-hander that has a high ceiling.

“We wanted to add depth on both sides of the ball; LeClair is a big, strong defender while Dickson is a young player but one we feel has a big upside,” said Roughnecks GM Mike Board.

Dickson was among the top scorers in the BCJALL this past season with 73 points in 20 games, including 50 goals. He added 29 more in 11 post-season games. He still has two more years of junior eligibility remaining.

“I’m super excited and it’s an honour Calgary selected me where they did,” said the Seaquam graduate. “I had talked to San Diego as well so I knew they were also interested but they didn’t have any early picks.”

Dickson is part of a dominant 2000-born age group that did nothing but win growing up through Delta Minor Lacrosse. It was capped by becoming the first-ever Islander team to win the Midget A1 provincial title in 2016. The following season saw B.C. Lacrosse drop the intermediate division to create a five-year junior level.

The transition was a smooth one for Dickson but not for the Islanders that have now missed the post-season for three consecutive seasons. That’s why he will cherish his time in Coquitlam. His playing rights revert back to Delta in 2020.

“I could tell right away it was just a much different environment there,” said Dickson. “I had a choice of playing for three teams and that’s where I wanted to go. They made me feel welcomed immediately like I was part of their family. It was a great experience and that’s why it was a little weird knowing I was going back to Delta when it was all over.”

Dickson added the Minto Cup exposed him to a level of lacrosse he had never experience before, especially eventual champion Six Nations with their skill, size and intensity.

He will prepare for his first NLL training camp by working out with a number of NLL based players in the Lower Mainland.

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San Diego used the 71st overall pick to selected Islander graduate Ryan Jones. The hometown product finished his junior career in Langley after being traded in early June. Jones piled up 203 points, including 65 goals, over three seasons.

© Delta Optimist