The senior B Nanaimo Timbermen hope that third time’s a charm, and that being champions is also a charm.
The team is looking ahead to its third straight berth in the Presidents’ Cup national championships after winning the West Coast Senior Lacrosse Association title last week. Nanaimo swept the Ladner Pioneers in the finals.
In 2013 the Timbermen went to nationals because other B.C. teams declined the opportunity, and in 2014 they went because B.C. had an extra berth. In 2015, the T-men earned their way to the big tourney.
Going in on a winning note could make a difference, said Nick Agius, alternate captain.
“We’re going to go in there with a full head of steam this year,” he said.
Jon Diplock, team captain, said this year feels different than the last two.
“I think it’s the best chance that we’ve had in the three years we’ve been here, so we’re really optimistic,” he said.
Shawn Swanson, general manager of the Timbermen, said past experience benefits his team.
“We know what kind of talent we’re up against,” he said.
Mike Maughan, coach of the T-men, mentioned that with the Presidents’ Cup in St. Catharines, Ont., teams from Eastern Canada will have bolstered their rosters. But the tourney has been a long-standing goal for the Timbermen, too, and they’ve similarly sought to build up their roster to be contenders.
“I think I like our chances even more than the last couple years,” Maughan said. “We’ve had good experience of seeing what the competition’s like, and it’s really strong.”
So Nanaimo’s deep roster will help.
“In years past, we had 18 strong guys, but when you’re playing seven games in six nights, that starts to die pretty quick,” Swanson said. “So with the depth we have right now, we’re confident that we play any 18 out there, any combination and our talent won’t drop.”
The T-men will have a lot of time between now and nationals. Their last indoor practices were cancelled this week as ice went in the arena, and the team will head to the outdoor lacrosse box and to the turf field. If the Timbermen keep sharp, they feel they can compete with Canada’s best senior B clubs.
“Honestly, I think we are one of the best the country has to offer, so I think we’ll fare really well,” Agius said.
GAME ON … Presidents’ Cup nationals will be held in St. Catharines, Ont. from Aug. 31-Sept. 6. The Timbermen will be fundraising in the meantime, starting with a beer-and-burger and silent auction event Sunday (Aug. 16) from 6-9 p.m. at the Old City Station Pub. Tickets are $20; for information, please call 250-585-7551 or search for the team on Facebook.