by Gordon Kask


By Adam Levi

The King of Coquitlam lacrosse is back where he belongs, and he’s ready to win another championship.

The Coquitlam Junior A Adanacs kicked off 2024 with a bang. Only 12 days into the new year, the Junior A Adanacs announced that Pat Coyle, the team’s former head coach from 2015-2019 and bench boss during the team’s 2016 and 2018 Minto Cup championship runs, would be returning to lead the 2024 Junior A Adanacs in another attempt at glory.

From 2019 up until his return to the Junior A level a handful of months ago, Coyle was still coaching in Coquitlam but was instead leading the charge with the WLA’s Adanacs. So, when the opportunity presented itself to again feature on the bench with his former club, it was an easy transition for Coyle to start instructing the soon-to-be men instead of the men. It was a decision that he feels suits him best.

“When I started coaching the Junior A Adanacs, I fell in love with coaching that age group,” Coyle said. “They’re way more willing to listen and learn, and it feels like they’re a little more pliable than the older guys. So, to be back coaching Jr. A really reinvigorated me, and to be back coaching in Coquitlam just feels like I’m at home.”

Coyle’s history with Coquitlam and the Adanacs spans many decades. In 1994, Coyle, an Orangeville, Ont., native came over to the West Coast to suit up for the WLA Adanacs. He had had plenty of success at both the junior and senior levels in the East before he travelled West. He would play for the Adanacs in Coquitlam in the summertime through 2005 (and then later once more in 2009). 

It was during this time that Coyle began feeling like Coquitlam was now his adopted home. This feeling of home continues to grow every year that Coyle remains on the West Coast, but it was magnified when he was able to coach his kids to a BCLA A1 Midget Box Lacrosse Championship with Coquitlam. 

“Coquitlam was my adopted home when I moved out West,” Coyle said. “Then, coaching my daughter and my son in minor when they were growing up in Coquitlam and winning a couple provincials with them was really special.”

During his successful 11-year span with the Adanacs Senior A club as a player, Coyle won a Mann Cup, something he had previously done as a member of the Brampton Excelsiors in 1992 and 1993 (a repeat that included beating the Adanacs in that latter championship series). To this day, the 2001 Mann Cup-winning Coquitlam Adanacs, which Coyle featured in, are the only WLA Adanacs team in the program’s history to win the Mann Cup, Canada's Senior A title.

And, boy, did they earn it. Winning that seven-game series against Coyle’s former Senior A club is still considered one of the shining Adanacs’ achievements, particularly because of the way they fought back from a multi-game deficit in the series and because of how they stormed back from a multi-goal deficit in the deciding Game 7 to claim the trophy.

By 2015, Coyle had already achieved so much as a player at every level of the game, and now he was finding his way as a coach, including in the National Lacrosse League with the Colorado Mammoth. Nine years ago, in 2015, Coyle took the reins of the Junior A Adanacs and helped them become champions. 

The very next season, Coyle led the Junior A Adanacs to victory with now-NLL stars such as Tyler Pace, Reid Bowering, netminder Christian Del Bianco, and Eli Salama. In 2018, Bowering, Del Bianco, and other NLL notables, such as Larson Sundown and Ryland Rees, claimed the Minto Cup title yet again. 

As both a player and a coach, Coyle has learned throughout his lacrosse career just how much losing feels like a punch in the gut and how sweet victory tastes after a grueling season with your team being labeled the best. He knows how special his 2016 and 2018 teams were and was proud to have played a part in bringing home two more titles to Coquitlam.

“It’s hard not to be proud of that (to have had a hand in some of what they’ve done),” Coyle said. “For not one second do I believe that I’m the reason that those guys are as successful as they are, but it’s nice to have had a part in that.”

Those two Minto Cup championships are two of the three Junior A national titles the Adanacs have won over the last 15 BCJALL seasons. Last season was one that the Adanacs organization thought could be their fourth championship in that span, but they came up short in the Minto Cup final series against the Burlington Blaze, who won their first Minto Cup in their history. 

Since 2010, the Junior A Adanacs have had many chances to win Minto Cups besides the 2010, 2016, and 2018 seasons. In addition to making it to the finals last season, the Junior A Adanacs also made it to the finals of the Minto Cup (but lost) in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2017. 

“The opportunity to play for a Minto Cup in our home arena is something I think everyone would welcome - it just feels like an advantage to be able to do that,” Pat Coyle, head coach, Coquitlam Adanacs.

Think about that for a second. During Coyle’s first tenure as head coach of the Junior A Adanacs, the two went to four consecutive Minto Cup finals and won two of those series. That is the definition of dominance. It is a level of dominance for a prolonged period of time that has transformed the expectations of any young Adanacs player, whether it be in minor, Junior B, or Junior A. 

As Coyle explained, not only has the organization’s success for nearly two decades shaped the way up-and-coming Adanacs players view success, it also allowed Adanacs coaches at all levels to buy into a system that has everyone on the same page, making internal transitions from team to team fairly seamless. 

“It really is a privilege not to be around people where you have to convince them that we’re here to win,” Coyle said. “You can feel that everyone is on board with that, from the players to the coaches to the trainers to the GM to the equipment guys - to all of them. It’s such an easy atmosphere to be around when you’re going to work.”

“Coquitlam’s been playing the same system now for years,” Coyle said. “I think that really makes a difference because our guys in the B1 program are playing this style; our B2 guys are playing that style. So, when they’re coming up the ranks, they’ve already played in this system for two years. It’s not like they’re learning a completely different system; it’s almost second nature for them by the time they get here. We’re just fine-tuning some things.”

This August, the Adanacs will host the Minto Cup tournament that they hope to win. They want to avenge their finals' loss from last year. However, even though they are hosting the event, they will still not have an automatic bid into their tournament. They are going to have to fight their way all the way back to the final battles of the Junior A season. 

“It adds more incentive, honestly,” Coyle said. “The opportunity to play for a Minto Cup in our home arena is something I think everyone would welcome - it just feels like an advantage to be able to do that.”

All things considered, Coyle feels that his guys are very hungry for the chip and that they will not let any other team lift the cup on the hallowed ground.

“I can say that if that doesn’t fuel them, then they aren’t the right guys for our program,” Coyle said. “I know that it is fueling them. It’s something that they still talk about, and it’s driving them to play harder and to be better.”