CALGARY, AB — Carson Barton has been dealing with adversity his entire career.
Following a four-year junior career with the Edmonton Eclipse of the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League, the Edmonton, AB. native took a three-year hiatus from box lacrosse because of work commitments and injuries to both his foot and knee.
After joining NCAA Division II Grand Canyon University field lacrosse team, the program was downgraded to MCLA Division II.
Not the best way to get noticed, but things worked out after all.
“The program was not the most competitive when I came there and it was a pretty tumultuous progression,” said Barton, who was selected by the Calgary Roughnecks in the sixth round of the 2015 NLL Draft. “It was NCAA Division II, but it was changed to MCLA Division II, which was kind of a bummer, but I stuck it out. Eventually, I ended my career with a National Championship, which was more than I could ask for. It was a pretty special experience.”
Unsure if his box lacrosse absence would impair his chances of playing in the NLL or the WLA, the 24-year-old received an unexpected invite to the WLA’s Coquitlam Adanacs training camp.
Barton didn’t waste any time.
“Right after we won the National Championship, I jumped on my motorbike and drove north for three straight days to tryout for the Adanacs,” said Barton. “I ended up earning a spot on the team, and having a pretty successful summer, which, I think led to me being drafted.”
In 18 games for the Adanacs, Barton scored 14 goals and added 15 assists on route to being the team’s rookie of the year.
He was hoping his outstanding rookie campaign it would be enough to garner some attention from NLL scouts.
And it was.
The Roughnecks nabbed the Edmonton, AB, native with the 55th pick in the 2015 NLL Draft.
“It was something that I’ve been dreaming of since I was a little guy,” said Barton. “The first-ever pro game that I watched was when the Roughnecks won the Championship back in 2004. To get drafted by them is a dream come true.
“It’s nice for all of my family to be able to come watch me. I love Alberta, so to be able to play there is extra special.”
The 5’10” right-handed shooter’s skills stretch the width and length of the floor. With a versatile skillset, Barton believes his flexibility in all situations is something that give him a chance to crack Calgary’s roster.
“I can be used on the defensive side of the ball, in transition, playing offence,” noted Barton. “I would say my greatest skill is ground balls, I love to battle for every loose. I pride myself on that and my hard work and tenacity out there.”
Included in his arsenal of skills is faceoffs. Something he excelled at this past summer with the Adanacs.
Although he knows it’s tough to replace Geoff Snider — one of the all-time greats in the faceoff circle — he welcomes the opportunity opened with Snider’s departure.
“I welcome every opportunity I can get,” Barton said. “Obviously he’s one of the greatest face-off guys in the history of the game, but any opportunity to make the team is great.”
Having played against some of his newly-minted Roughnecks teammates during his time with Coquitlam, he is confident in his ability to play at the highest level. The WLA features a large contingent of NLL players including several stars.
“I felt comfortable playing against all of those guys,” Barton said. “I know I can play at that level. It was a great experience this summer. Any chance you get to play with the greatest lacrosse players in the world, I look forward to that. It’s going to make me better for sure. I’m just looking to come to camp and show what I can do.”