- Portland Tribune - Sports
Derek Keenan hasn't stopped coaching since the end of the Portland LumberJax season. Keenan has been coaching his son's pee-wee team, the Whitby Warriors, mostly 11- and 12-year-old players. His son, Ryan, is 11.
'I love the contrast,' says Keenan, the general manager and coach of the LumberJax, who won the National Lacrosse League Western Division title in their inaugural season. 'Actually, it's not a whole lot different. It's a pretty competitive group.'
He will coach Ontario's team in the Canadian pee-wee championships in Whitby, near Toronto, Canada, Aug. 6 through Aug. 12.
But Keenan hasn't stopped doing some Portland business. He attended the NLL meetings in Las Vegas in June and has been working on paring the roster for the upcoming NLL expansion draft (Wednesday) and scouting for the entry draft (Aug. 17).
The Jax protected 13 players and goalie Dallas Eliuk, after deliberating about whether to protect Eliuk and/or Matt King or Aaron Bold. Keenan says if either of the new Eastern Division teams - New York or Chicago - drafts one of the goalies, he has the right to pull back the other goalie to keep on the Jax roster. 'I won't lose them both,' he says.
Keenan opted not to protect 10 runners and two goalies - leaving more runners exposed - because 'I think we'll be close to winning a championship and I wanted to stay with veteran guys.'
• The protected list includes the obvious: Brodie Merrill, Ryan Sharp, Ryan Powell, Peter Morgan, Mike Hominuck, Bruce Alexander, etc. The players left unprotected included Matt Dwane, Tom Montour, Damien Davis and David Morgan. Because the Jax can lose only two players, maximum, Keenan expects some of them to be available to re-sign with Portland.
• Keenan says the Jax want to add offense to the team, and he hopes to find a capable player in the entry draft. But Portland selects No. 19, and 'it's unrealistic.'
• One rule change discussed at the Las Vegas meetings was for smaller equipment for goalies. 'We're still working on it,' Keenan says.
• Ryan Powell's brother, Casey, expects to play in Portland next season. The Jax protected him. 'He's one of the greatest, and we don't want to let him go,' Keenan says. Family commitments prevented Casey Powell from playing last season.