The information on this page, below, was supplied to the TOJLL Wikipedia Page which was originally created and written by Paul C. Beugeling, our Webmaster.
The Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League (TOJLL), inaugurated in 1999, is one of two (Tier I) Junior B box lacrosse leagues sanctioned by the British Columbia Lacrosse Association. The league champion competes for the British Columbia Junior B Tier I Provincial Championship. Teams have competed for the Founder Cup, a national tournament, which determines the Canadian Junior B Tier I lacrosse champion.
Phil Reunoff (2000-01), Cam Morrison (2001-06), Ed Kwasniewski (2006-11), Dan Wray (2011-17), Guy Charron (2017-18), Jeff Hanley (2018-21*), Heather Davis (2021-current)
* = Vacated Office Mid-Term. NOTE: TOJLL seasons begin in November after the AGM.
PRE LEAGUE HISTORY :
WRITTEN BY DAN WRAY, FORMER COMMISSIONEER
I realized that starting in 1998 there would be no lacrosse for my 3 boys to play in the Okanagan after graduating out of Minor Lacrosse other than playing Intermediate/Junior and Senior Lacrosse back in the Lower mainland.
We had just moved to Kelowna from Surrey in the summer of 1993.
I immediately started a mass player recruitment drive in Kelowna, to build up the local Minor Association. I was being greedy to have somewhere for my children to play Lacrosse.
Basically one of my decisions for moving to Kelowna, is that they had a little bit of Lacrosse in Kelowna and I knew I could build the numbers up as I had just built (in a very short time) the Surrey Rebels Minor Lacrosse Association into the biggest Minor club in Western Canada as Surrey's Association Head Coach.
I have never played Lacrosse, but I could organize!
When I arrived in Kelowna from Surrey, there were only 3 teams in Kelowna, 1 peewee team, 1 bantam team and 1 midget team. The only other Minor Lacrosse Associations in the area were Vernon, Armstrong and Kamloops with low numbers. I sat in different Kelowna arena's during hockey season recruiting hockey players to play Lacrosse during the summer to drive up the Kelowna numbers. We had a tv and Lacrosse video's blaring in the warm area's of the arena's. Parents and kids came in droves to hear me talk about the connection between Hockey and Lacrosse. How Lacrosse gave them the edge in hockey!
In a couple of years, we formed with Vernon, Armstrong and Kamloops the Thompson/Okanagan Minor Lacrosse Commission to co-ordinate growing the game of Lacrosse in our area. This was the idea of CLA Hall of Famer, the late Bill McBain. Bill McBain, Corinne Almas (The new Chair of the TOMLC), and myself sat for hours planning the expansion of Lacrosse throughout the Okanagan Valley.
Bill McBain told us about how small towns in Ontario play Jr. B Lacrosse, using the 5 year age group of 16-21 to could easily fill their rosters. This was a perfect template for small town Lacrosse outside of the Lower Mainland.
So, we needed to build numbers in the existing Minor Lacrosse clubs and develop new minor Lacrosse clubs in the area. Corinne Almas and I first started Salmon Arm Minor Lacrosse with the help of her brother Bob Thomson. Their dad is in the Vernon Hall of Fame as a great Lacrosse player. Then we got Penticton Minor Lacrosse going. Somewhere in all this Vernon and Armstrong Minor joined forces with much resistance and became Vernon Minor Lacrosse. Then we got Merritt Minor Lacrosse going. We did try and get West Kelowna started at one time but failed!
Then Finally were got Revelstoke Minor Lacrosse going. This is the history of how the Minor Lacrosse system grew in the Thompson/Okanagan area that will supply players to the up coming TOJLL. On top of that, our Thompson/Okanagan Development team became the BCLA Development team where we went all over B.C. developing new Minor clubs.
Bill McBain, Corinne Almas, myself along with others locally help establish Minor Lacrosse in Cranbrook, Elk Valley, West Kootenay, Hope, Sunshine Coast, Powell River, Gold River, William's Lake, Quesnel, Vandehoof, Terrace, Houston, Kitimat, Nishga and Fort St. John. Honoury mention to small towns we tried to develop minor clubs in, were Grandforks, Canal Flats, Golden, Lillooet, 100 Mile House, West Kelowna, Prince Rupert and Hazleton.
We, as the BCLA Development team also help establish (5 year aged player range) 2 other Jr. B leagues, the Northwest Junior Lacrosse League on the Island and the Great White North Junior Lacrosse League.
This was all to co-ordinate for a B.C. Junior “B” Provincial Championship with the TOJLL. This was the plan and organization locally and Provincially to get the TOJLL off the ground and give competition the TOJLL Provincially! It was a lot of travel and hard work in many fazes and by many hands!!!! We needed a plan, goals, achievements, help from the B.C.L.A. And we seem to accomplish most of it! And the players, coaches, teams and fans are the benefactors of the most exciting game on 2 feet! Lacrosse! TOJLL style!
Our Development Team:
Bill McBain: past CLA President and BCLA Head Coach and BCLA V.P. Development. CLA Hall of Fame in the Builders category. Winner of the B.C.L.A.'s Mr. Lacrosse award. Along with many, many other Lacrosse awards to his credit. Corinne Almas: Kelowna Minor President, first TOMLC Chair, BCLA V.P. Development and first woman ever to win the B.C.L.A.'s “Mr. Lacrosse” award. They had to change the name of the award to Ms./Mr. Lacrosse. Dan Wray: Surrey Minor Association Head Coach. Kelowna Minor Association Head Coach, V.P. Development TOMLC, Chair B.C.L.A. Minor Directorate, winner of the B.C.L.A.'s Executive of the Year 3 straight years and winner of the B.C.L.A.'s “Mr. Lacrosse”! Known as the “Vision and Action team”! Honourable mentions: Rochelle Winterton B.C.L.A. Executive Director, Myrna Cable of the Great White North Commission and Greg Toll B.C.L.A. Minor Directorate Chair and many, many others!
We tried to establish Intermediate Lacrosse for 3 years before the TOJLL. But always had problems with enough players to play. It was a constant problem. It was then Bill McBain suggested we use the 5 year Jr. “B” program and that seemed to solve the problem.
1997 Interior Intermediate League.
Kelowna Kodiaks 4-4, Kamloops Rattlers 4-4
1998 Interior Intermediate League
Prince George Posse 8-0, Kamloops Rattlers 4-4, Kelowna Kodiaks 0-8
1999 Interior Intermediate League
Kelowna Kodiaks 8-0, Vernon Tigers 0-8
Kelowna held the 1st and only Intermediate tournament in the the Interior. It was called the Andy Woods Memorial Tournament.
In 2000 the TOJLL started league play with 5 teams. Kelowna leading the way with 5 strong midget House teams and with the large amount of graduating of players born in 1983, Kelowna was able to establish 3 strong Jr. B teams. The Kelowna Braves made up of mostly Kelowna player, the Kelowna Dragons made up of mainly West Kelowna players and the Rutland Raiders made up of mainly Rutland players.
Not only did Kelowna have 3 Jr. “B” teams, no where else in all of Canada, did 1 city even have 2 Jr. “B” teams! Kelowna had 3 strong teams. Vernon on the other hand is an interesting story. Vernon never had a midget team in 1999. Many of the 1st Vernon Junior Tigers were actually from Winfield or Lake Country who had played for the Kelowna Minor Lacrosse in Midget. Only a handful of actual Vernon minor players played Midget for Kelowna in 1999.
So in reality, Kelowna had 3 1/2 teams in the TOJLL in the first year.... Dan Holte a Kelowna Coach and local Vernon parents established the Vernon Jr. Tigers in 2000. Coach Holte connection to Vernon was he played on the Vernon Tigers Senior “B” that won 3 Canadian Sr. “B” Championships in the late 1970's.
Kamloops had a very strong minor organization and was able to join the league.
This is how Lacrosse grew in the Thompson/Okanagan and Provincially resulting in the formation of the TOJLL and the rest of the 5 year program Junior “B' teams throughout B.C.
Regards, Dan Wray
History by year
1999: Thompson-Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League founded by Dan Wray to provide a quality lacrosse environment for players aged 16 to 20. Wray first launched the concept of organized lacrosse for players in Grades 11 and 12, with an intermediate league in the Interior for three years, in the late 1990s. With a large and talented crop of 1983-born talent coming out of the midget ranks, Wray felt the time was right to launch a junior B circuit for players in the valley. The new league would begin regular season play in 2000.
2000: Phil Reunoff becomes the first Commissioner. The Rutland Raiders defeat the North Okanagan Tigers in the final series to claim the inaugural TOJLL Championship.
2001: The TOJLL season was a fifteen-game regular season. The South Okanagan Flames were forced to forfeit three games due to ineligible player rules. The playoffs were a best-of-three semifinals and a best-of-five finals. The league had six teams: Kamloops Rattlers, Kelowna Braves, Kelowna Dragons, North Okanagan Tigers, Rutland Raiders and South Okanagan Flames.
2002: Cam Morrison became the leagues(second) Commissioner. The TOJLL allowed the Prince George Posse into the league, as an exhibition team, for the eighteen-game regular season. Note: The Posse went on to a perfect (18–0–0) season.
2003: The TOJLL expanded with the inclusion of the Armstrong Shamrocks. The Kelowna Braves had to forfeit seven games due to ineligible player rules. The North Okanagan Tigers, now renamed the Vernon Tigers, represented the TOJLL in the Provincials, losing to the Prince George Posse, 9–7, in the Gold Medal game.
2004: The TOJLL hosted the Provincials which meant that two teams from the TOJLL would play in the tournament. Those teams were the Vernon Tigers (0–4 in the Provincial round robin), as host, and the Kamloops Rattlers (1–3 in the Provincial round robin) as 2004 TOJLL Champions. The Rattlers went on to play the Peninsula Falcons (2–1–1) for the Bronze Medal, winning 6–5.
2005: The TOJLL was represented by the league champions, Kamloops Rattlers, at the Provincials. They Rattlers came away with a silver medal, losing the final, 16–15, to the Westshore Bears.
2006: Prior to the start of the TOJLL season the Kelowna Braves and Kelowna Dragons amalgamated to form the Kelowna Warriors. The league initiated a pre-season schedule by including the Annual Archie Jack Memorial Ice Breaker Tournament, which is played in Armstrong, British Columbia. With the loss of one team, the league reverted to a fifteen-game regular season. The playoff format was changed to that of a (best-of-three) quarterfinals, semifinals and a (best-of-five) finals, the top two teams, of the regular season, got a first round playoff bye.
2007: Ed Kwasniewski became the leagues(third) Commissioner. The TOJLL saw no major changes, maintaining the same regular season and playoff formats as in 2006. The league did however create its first online presence with a website through Teamopolis Inc.
2008: The Kamloops Venom became a member of the TOJLL. The TOJLL also welcomed the newly formed West Kootenay Wolf Pack to the league, as an exhibition team, for the now fourteen game regular season.
2009: The Vernon Tigers won the league championship and won a Silver Medal at the Provincials.
2010: The Kamloops Venom won the TOJLL Championship, a Provincial Gold Medal (a first for the league) and a Bronze Medal at the Founders Cup. The South Okanagan Flames have the dubious honor of being the first team to go winless in a season.
2011: Prior to the start of the TOJLL season, the Kelowna Warriors and Rutland Raiders merged to become the Kelowna Raiders. The league also decided to have a fifteen game regular season.
2012: Dan Wray became the leagues(fourth) Commissioner. The Kamloops Rattlers ceased operations prior to the start of the season. The remaining teams played an abbreviated schedule due to a league controversy concerning the players of the Rattlers. That issue was resolved by the BCLA... "I am writing to inform you that at an emergency meeting of the Senior Directorate, the 11-member panel voted to uphold point 5.06 in the BCLA Senior Operating Policy," wrote Christine Pollock, BCLA's senior directorate chair, in a ruling. "This allows for any junior age player residing in Kamloops to play for the Kamloops Venom, currently the only junior B team in Kamloops registered with the BCLA." The league changed the playoff format to that of semifinals and finals, both a best-of-five series.
2013: The TOJLL was represented by, league champions, the Vernon Tigers in the Provincial Tournament. The Tigers went 0–3 in round-robin play, then lost the Bronze Medal Game, 13–9, to the Delta Islanders. The TOJLL regular season was increased to sixteen games.
2014: The Provincial championships was hosted by the Vernon Tigers. The Delta Islanders won the final defeating Vernon, 14–7.
2015: For the first time in the TOJLL, a team, the Vernon Tigers, had a perfect regular season (16–0–0).
2016: The league switched website providers, from Teamopolis to TeamPages, this resulted in the loss all statistics for years 2007 to 2015.
2017: The TOJLL and Vernon Tigers hosted the Junior B Lacrosse Provincials. The Kelowna Raiders became the first team in league history to go pointless for the regular season. They finished the season with a record of 0–16, which includes 3 defaulted games, noted as a, 1–0 loss.
2018: Guy Charron became the leagues(fifth) Commissioner, league declares themselves "tier 1" and the Kelowna Raiders cease operations. The league once again switched website providers from TeamPages to LacrosseShift (http://tojll.lacrosseshift.com/home), along with the league statistics from 2016 and 2017. For the first time in league history there will be non-sudden death, ten minute, overtime games.
2019: The Commissioner Guy Charron steps down after just one year and Jeff Hanley becomes the leagues(sixth) Commissioner. The Armstrong Shamrocks take a leave-of-absence for the season. The playoffs will consist of a best-of-three semifinal between second third place, the first place team receives a bye to the best-of-five finals.
2020: The league expands to five teams with the re-entry of the Armstrong Shamrocks, mainly with players and coach from Salmon Arm. Another new team ,from Kelowna, called the Kelowna Kodiaks, is operated by the Kelowna Minor Lacrosse Association. The League cancels season due to the covid-19 pandemic.
2021: Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic there was no regular season play. With an ease of covid-19 restrictions though, the league held a two week-end tournament-style playoffs on July 10 and July 24. Heather Davis becomes the leagues (seventh) Commissioner after Jeff Hanley vacated the office mid-term.
2022: Teams play a 16 game regular season, playing the other teams 4 times, 2 home and 2 away. The pre-season 17th Annual Archie Jack Memorial Icebreaker Tournament was held on April 23. The season saw numerous games rescheduled, forfeited, and cancelled out right. The most controversial of these games was the forfeiting of the Vernon Tigers home opener. Citing lack of healthy players the South Okanagan Flames could not make the game to play Vernon. A game between the South Okanagan Flames and Kamloops Venom required the attention of the British Columbia Lacrosse Association. Kamloops originally won the game 12-4 but, the Flames protested citing an ineligible player. The game was eventually awarded to the South Okanagan Flames as a 1-0 win. The playoffs overall were very straight forward. However the Kelowna Kodiaks had to forfeit game 3 of their best-of-three series due to the arena not having enough staff to operate.
2023: League contracts to four team as the Armstrong Shamrocks merges with the Vernon Tigers.