A lot of lacrosse was cancelled because of the pandemic, but the junior A Nanaimo Timbermen now get to play.
The B.C. Junior A Lacrosse League is holding a short exhibition season starting this week, and the junior A T-men play their home opener Saturday, July 10, at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.
Chris Bowman, club president, said it’s huge for the fifth-year juniors to get an opportunity to play a final season and potentially showcase themselves for higher levels, and said he felt bad for the players who didn’t get that chance in 2020.
“You can just feel the excitement. They’ve all missed it so much. It’s been such a huge part of their lives,” Bowman said. “Every practice the energy’s super high; they’re so excited to be practising [and having] the opportunity to play again.”
The 2021 BCJALL season was organized in just two or three weeks, and some athletes had already made work commitments for the summer, but the Timbermen have a group of guys making it work.
Mason Pynn, the new coach of the junior A squad, said players reported in really good shape coming back from lockdowns.
“I’m actually quite happy with it,” he said. “I was thinking there would be a few slugs out there, but nobody seems to be.”
Pynn, a senior A Timbermen transition player, has experience coaching academy-level field lacrosse, but this will be his first time coaching boxla.
“Beyond excited,” he said. “It’s been too long for me being out of box lacrosse so I knew I just wanted to get back in any way I could.”
The last time the junior A Timbermen were on the floor in 2019, they were a playoff-calibre team, and the club expects this group to be able to put forward a strong showing.
“Everybody looks good and everybody seems real fired up to get going, so I’ve got absolute faith in every single player on that team,” Pynn said.
Even though the games are technically exhibitions, the intensity is expected to build in no time.
“Because there’s not a whole lot of lacrosse going on, all eyes from the bigger leagues are watching,” Pynn said. “So [players] should take this as a tryout season to get more exposure and prove to everybody the calibre of players that they are and how competitive of a team we have.”
GAME ON … The junior A Timbermen take on the Burnaby Lakers at 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 10, at the NIC. Only 200 tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-serve basis.