Sports

Timbermen get their first choice at draft

The top draft picks of the Nanaimo Timbermen get to keep their team colours.

The senior A T-men selected four junior A T-men on Monday at the Western Lacrosse Association draft.

Cody Bremner was the first choice of the Timbermen, taken in the first round, seventh overall. Nanaimo went on to select Bremner’s junior teammates Kyle Hofer in the second round, Ryan Sage in the fourth round and Joey Fendick in the seventh round.

The T-men also chose big forward Ryan Keith in the second round and tough defender Tyler Matheson in the third round.

“I’m really excited about this draft. It was a really strong Island draft,” said Earl Nicholson, general manager of the Timbermen.

Bremner – who is from Victoria – was the player the Timbermen wanted, but they had to cross their fingers to get him as the Victoria Shamrocks held the sixth overall choice.

Nicholson said Bremner’s all-around game appealed to the T-men.

“He’s got both an inside game and an outside game; he can score, he can feed. He commands a presence out there,” said the GM. “[He’s] going to take a little bit of the pressure off of Scott [Ranger] and he’s going to open up some floor for Scott because he can feed so well. His vision’s outstanding.”

The T-men had to make a trade to ensure that they got Hofer. Nanaimo dealt last year’s first-round pick, Carlton Schuss, to the Burnaby Lakers in exchange for the 13th overall selection this year. That gave them two second-round picks, which they used on Hofer and Keith.

“We’d been a little bit disappointed with Carlton [Schuss] last year, so he was a piece that we were prepared to move back to the mainland,” Earl Nicholson said.

“[Kyle Hofer] is a good fit for us, he’s a smart ball player and the games that we’ve had him up, he’s played real well … We see him and Cody [Bremner] as being able to step right in and be regulars up front.”

By also choosing Ryan Sage and Joey Fendick later in the draft, the Timbermen ended up with all four of the top scorers on the junior Timbermen last year. Sage had 25 goals and 62 points in 21 games played, Fendick had 35 goals and 56 points in 20 games, Hofer scored 26 goals and 49 points in 21 games and Bremner had 19 goals and 38 points in just 11 games.

Nicholson said the T-men like Sage’s versatility, and think they got a steal taking the “lightning-quick” Fendick in the seventh round.

Ryan Keith played a couple of games with the senior A Timbermen as a call-up two seasons ago, actually scoring a hat trick in the WLA.

“He’s a big body and he can score and the other thing he’ll do is he’ll set some picks and he’ll dig the ball out of the corners,” said Nicholson of the 6-foot-2, 230-pound forward. “He can move some bodies around.

The 6-foot-2, 250-pound defender Tyler Matheson was another player the T-men had targeted. Nanaimo’s other selections Monday were Brandon McLean, Luke Acton, Curtis MacKinnon, Mitch Meilleur and Adam Hickey.

Nicholson said the T-men already liked their core of players, so any added depth is now a bonus. The GM still wants to add a scorer on both sides of the floor, he said, before the start of dryland training in mid-March.

Another priority, of course, will be trying to trade former league MVP Lewis Ratcliff, who was suspended indefinitely by the team late last season.

“We were trying to do something before the draft, but nothing came to fruition,” Nicholson said.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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