Graham Palmer’s first game with the ‘C’ on his jersey couldn’t have been scripted much better.
Playing their season opener on the road, the Nanaimo Timbermen trailed the Burnaby Lakers until they managed to tie things up late in the third. Then, with one minute to go, the new T-men captain ran a pick and roll, got open, and scored the dramatic game winner.
“I haven’t had too many of those,” he said.
Palmer’s five-plus seasons in Nanaimo have been typified by gutsy play, but usually on the back end or in transition. To start this year, he’s being asked to run out the front gate and score some of those big goals that the team needs.
“It’s definitely a challenge because it’s a role I haven’t played for quite awhile,” he said. “It’s always fun to get a goal here and there.”
The new Timbermen captain isn’t going to score 50-plus goals, like the previous team captain. But Palmer does have 66 over his career, including 14 one season with the Coquitlam Adanacs.
He came to the Timbermen in 2008 in a trade with the Maple Ridge Burrards. The Nanaimo minor lacrosse product had requested the homecoming and the Timbermen had shown mutual interest. Palmer has hardly missed a game since and his most recent action at Frank Crane Arena was his 150th career WLA game.
“Graham’s a great choice for captain because he can pretty much do everything we ask him to do and he’s willing to do everything we ask him to do,” said Kaleb Toth, T-men coach.
Palmer can play offence, defence, transition, special teams, and he can go out and agitate the opposition.
“He might end up at the back gate but right now I like what I’m seeing with him on the offence,” Toth said. “He calms everyone down – we’ve got a lot of young guys out there.”
The 30-year-old Palmer is the oldest player on the team by a few years and with his lacrosse experience, he can explain not only the hows, but the whys, said the coach.
And so far Palmer is embracing that part of the captaincy.
“Already I’ve seen huge improvements with the guys and it’s neat to see…” he said. “It’s nice to be able to push some of these young guys in the right direction and help them out as much as you can.”
GAME ON … The Nanaimo Timbermen play the Langley Thunder tonight (May 29) in the Fraser Valley. The senior A T-men will then get ready to play the Coquitlam Adanacs Saturday (June 1), also on the road … Next home action for the T-men is June 5 when they host the Victoria Shamrocks at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena.