Lacrosse star chosen athlete of the year

The News Bulletin makes its choices for athlete of the year, rookie of the year and team of the year.

Nanaimo Timbermen lacrosse player Scott Ranger is the News Bulletin’s Athlete of the Year for 2011 after an MVP season in the Western Lacrosse Association.

Nanaimo Timbermen lacrosse player Scott Ranger is the News Bulletin’s Athlete of the Year for 2011 after an MVP season in the Western Lacrosse Association.

Athlete of the year: Scott Ranger

The Nanaimo Timbermen didn’t win a championship. They didn’t even make the playoffs. But team captain Scott Ranger could hardly have led his lacrosse team any closer.

Ranger, born and raised in Nanaimo and the first-ever draft pick of the Timbermen franchise, just concluded a year that took him from star, to all-star, to MVP.

A Calgary Roughnecks sniper in the winter, Ranger was named in February as a National Lacrosse League all-star for the first time.

The achievement portended well for the summer’s Western Lacrosse Association season, and Ranger delivered with a monstrous 54-goal campaign, all the while playing a slashing style in a physical sport. He is one of only two players to score 54 goals in a season in the last 10 years, and the WLA rewarded Ranger, naming him league MVP even though the T-men missed the playoffs on a tiebreaker.

Most anything is possible for one of the world’s best lacrosse players in 2012 – in an NLL pre-season game two weeks ago, Ranger scored six goals and 10 points.

To read more about Ranger, please click here.

Rookie of the year: roller derby

Never has a newcomer rolled onto the scene quite the way that roller derby did in 2011. The all-female sport became a mainstream sensation in Nanaimo this spring and summer without ever having to toil as a fringe sport.

The Nanaimo Nemesis and Harbour City Rollers filled their rosters, with plenty more players to spare. What’s more, the teams filled the stands – Vancouver Island Rookie Roller Derby League drew bigger crowds than all but a few other sports leagues in the city.

And Nanaimo’s derby divas gave those fans fast-paced, bruising action – substance, to go with style.

To read more about roller derby, please click here.

Team of the year: Nanaimo Pirates peewee AAA all-stars

For the Nanaimo Pirates peewee AAA all-star baseball team, team-of-the-year distinction is sort of a lifetime achievement award – not bad, for a bunch of 13 year olds.

Nanaimo’s list of championship teams in 2011 was a long one, and any could be called team of the year. The VIU Mariners men’s basketball team, for example, was taller, and the Barsby Bulldogs junior varsity football team was tougher.

But the peewee Pirates stood tall and played tough, too. What made their story so much sweeter was that they didn’t just win a championship, they won redemption, too. Two summers before, their season had ended with a tearful disqualification from provincials – on account of having too few players on the roster.

This August, they had a full complement of players, and the hottest weekend of the summer helped the team attract greater hometown fan support than any peewee ball team could reasonably hope to draw.

They went undefeated, they shut out the opposition in the final; there was a home run, double-digit strikeouts, error-free defence.

These boys represent the future of Nanaimo baseball, and there’s a lot of pop in those bats for next summer, and beyond.

To read more about the peewee Pirates, please click here.