The Presidents’ Cup is about to face off, and the Acme Timbermen are in the running to achieve their ultimate goal.
The Nanaimo Acme Painting Timbermen senior B lacrosse team is entered in the national championship tournament for the second straight year.
Last year the T-men got to participate because other teams declined the opportunity, but this year Nanaimo earned its place at Canada’s senior B lacrosse showcase.
“To be able to play this far into the summer and to play at the level of a national championship, playing against the best players in the country, it’s very exciting,” said Ryan Dietterle, T-men defender.
This year’s Presidents’ Cup starts Monday (Aug. 25) and is being held at Coquitlam’s Poirier Sports and Leisure Complex, hosted by the B.C. champs, the Tri-City Bandits. Also participating are the Akwesasne Outlawz, the Khanawake Mohawks, the Onondaga Redhawks, the St. Albert Miners and the Six Nations Rivermen.
It will be a more-veteran Nanaimo team that takes the floor in Coquitlam, a year after crossing Canada to compete at the Presidents’ Cup in Khanawake, Que.
“The tournament last year kind of opened our eyes and we all kind of figured out what the talent level was out there and how good teams were, because we had no clue,” said Ryan Forslund, T-men forward. “Now we’ve got an idea of how good the talent is, so this year we have to go guns a blazing and take it to them.”
He said his team played tentatively last year rather than force its game.
The 2013 nationals were the first Presidents’ Cup for most of the Acme T-men, and the pressure got to them.
“We were affected pretty bad by it last year, along with being cross country in a place that none of us had been before,” Dietterle said. “But this year we know what we’re up against for the most part. There’s going to be teams and players we’ve never seen before, but we should be more prepared and more ready for it.”
The style of lacrosse is a little bit different in other parts of Canada. For example, some of the players on the First Nations teams, in particular, favour wood sticks.
“You get bruised up a lot more,” Forslund said.
The T-men will make sure they have a few wood sticks in the lineup too; some players were getting used to using them during the B.C. playoffs. A wood stick makes it easier to knock the ball off an opponent’s stick and makes for more harmful cross-checks, explained T-men assistant coach Kyle Couling, but modern lightweight sticks are better for picking up loose balls, passing and shooting.
Dietterle said there are talented teams from out east, but said it’s a different kind of talent.
“It’s not always the best-structured lacrosse…” he said. “There’s a lot of shots from places you’re not prepared for and they’ll hit their spots a lot of the time.”
This year, the T-men will be ready for anything, and they feel ready to go.
“Every team will come out looking to win, looking to set the tone, so we have to do the same thing,” Forslund said. “We have to take charge.”
GAME ON … Nanaimo’s first game is against Tri-City on Monday at 8:30 p.m.