The junior A Timbermen feel like they got Vancouver Island’s top prospects at today’s midget draft.
Nanaimo’s B.C. Junior A Lacrosse League club had five selections in the first three rounds and made the picks count. The T-men chose Jace Francis with their first pick, which came in the second round, ninth overall.
“We felt very good about our picks today,” said Dave Bremner, coach and general manager of the junior A Timbermen. “We went into the draft hoping to catch what we figured to be the top four players on the Island and after pick No. 17, we accomplished that. And then we were fortunate enough to pick up some other great young talent.”
With Francis, from Peninsula, the T-men get a left-handed forward.
“[He] is a very talented player and has a knack for scoring goals,” Bremner said. “He’s a lefty offensive kid that is in good physical shape and he gets to the net when he wants to.”
Nanaimo had two other picks in quick succession at No. 11 and No. 12 overall and chose Brenden Jamieson from Oceanside and Josh Fredette from Saanich. Jamieson scored four goals in a junior A game as a call-up last year.
“He’s another high-quality, intelligent lacrosse player,” said Bremner, adding that he foresees the right-hander being a good complement to Francis in seasons to come.
Fredette will be able to do a lot of things well in transition for the T-men, as he has exceptional speed, is solid defensively and makes good decisions, the GM said.
“He’s on the smaller side, but a very talented, fast, defensive-type player who when going after loose balls seems to come up with them, and transitions the ball very quickly down the floor,” Bremner said.
The T-men also chose Dawson Sears from Saanich with the first pick of the third round, 17th overall. Nanaimo’s other four selections were Owen Robertson, Maple Ridge, 20th overall; Colton Walmsley, Saanich, 37th; Blake Beatty, Oceanside, 45th; and Kohl Krastel, Oceanside, 48th.
Bremner said when approaching the draft, there’s more to it than just selecting the best Vancouver Island player available, and he factors in the positions needed on the junior A Timbermen.
“We definitely go needs first and then wants after that,” he said.
Building on a season in which the team finished with a 14-7 record has made for a little different off-season, Bremner said, as the club has the confidence to set goals higher on and off the floor, while recognizing it can only draw so much on last season.
“Last year’s last year. We’re all tied for first place at zero points and zero wins,” Bremner said. “It’s a new season and I’m a firm believer in the fact that you have to bring in new talent every year to continually push your guys on your team and make them better.”
In other team news, the junior A T-men traded goaltender Colin Jeffrey to the Port Coquitlam Saints for the 12th overall pick and future considerations.
The BCJALL draft is only six rounds, but there will be other opportunities for lacrosse prospects. The junior A Timbermen will hold a free-agent camp the first weekend in March; more info will be announced at a later date.