Challen Rogers Canada
Photo courtesy of Kait Devir.

Core Group of Archers Defense Grows Together on Team Canada

By Zach Carey

Jul 3, 2023

Despite Team Canada’s hard-fought loss to the United States in Saturday’s World Championships Gold Medal game, a core group of the Archers defense took advantage of the opportunity to grow together over their time in San Diego. All-World close defenseman Graeme Hossack, goalie Brett Dobson, midfielders Latrell Harris and Challen Rogers, rookie close defense Cam Wyers, and close defender Patrick Shoemay all played important roles at one point or another in Canada’s run to a silver medal.

From Hossack’s perspective, the time spent together over the last few weeks will absolutely pay dividends for these guys when they resume play in the PLL this coming weekend. “We’ve been building chemistry before we actually put Archers jerseys on together again,” says Hossack. “It’s been awesome to get to know them all a little bit more and having this extra time with them has been great, especially with the guys I didn’t know as well.”

The last few weeks with Canada were perhaps most important for the new Archers to get a feel for their teammates and gain additional experience playing against the best in the world. Particularly for Rogers, Wyers, and Shoemay who are all new to the club, the World Championships provided an effective opportunity for the new and old players to get a better feel for one another. 

Cam Wyers and Patrick Shoemay Impress

One name who may still be fairly unfamiliar for Archers fans is Wyers, who the club picked in the fourth round of this year’s college draft. Wyers played in all seven of Canada’s games, starting in three and registering eight ground balls and three caused turnovers. 

Hossack sees Wyers’ potential as a young guy just starting to shine on the biggest stages. “I expect him to continue to grow,” the veteran said. “He’s a young player, he’s big and physical. I’ve had a lot of fun playing with him and I’ve seen a lot of good things. Watching him grow the next few weeks with the Archers will be cool to see.”

Impressively, Shoemay, who the Archers added to their roster after training camp and the first week of play, started all seven of Canada’s games with four ground balls and a pair of caused turnovers to his name. 

“Wyers showed himself to be very capable,” said Archers Head Coach Chris Bates. He also noted how “Patrick Shoemay is a very athletic right-handed guy that can play.”

Bates was encouraged by Shoemay’s and the rest of the young players’ performance in the World Championships. “Just playing in that setting with so much on the line, it was great to watch throughout,” he commented. “You want guys that are ready for primetime when the curtain goes up.” 

Considering that the Archers start three lefties at close with Hossack, Matt McMahon, and Warren Jeffrey along with LSM Jon Robbins being another lefty, Shoemay could at some point make a push for a spot on the 19-man roster as a right-handed pole who could more cleanly matchup with lefty dodgers. No matter what, he and Wyers both provide really solid depth at close considering their success with Team Canada and the experience they gained in the process. 

Brett Dobson and Challen Rogers flash as well

Two other pieces who are growing into their role with the Archers, goalie Brett Dobson and midfielder Challen Rogers, also had impressive showings in San Diego. Dobson played in five of Canada’s contests with one start and a 67.9% save rate on 28 shots faced and, while he didn’t eclipse Dillon Ward as the country’s starting keeper, he still put together a stellar performance against Australia (who finished fourth) in the group stage with 10 saves and only three goals allowed. 

Bates alluded to the fact that “Brett’s getting more and more of that experience,” and also brought up how Rogers “played a ton of D-Middie.” Rogers, who played mostly offense in his career debut with the Archers versus Chaos before the break, played a heavy dose of defense for Canada. That alone emphasized his versatility with the ability to play effectively on either side of the field and how that could very well come into play for the Archers down the line this season.

Bottom line, the last few weeks have still provided the Archers with opportunities for growth as a club even if it wasn’t as one united team. Bates underscored how “those guys getting that experience at a high level can do nothing but benefit them individually,” adding that “a bunch of those guys playing together too can serve us well." He closed his thoughts by commenting that “hopefully, those guys have some good working experience with each other now.”

The Archers will be back together this weekend in Minneapolis. They faceoff against the Whipsnakes at 4:30 ET on Sunday on ESPN+.

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