The Timbermen are taking steps to try to transition into a winning team.
Nanaimo’s senior A Western Lacrosse Association club opened training camp earlier this month as it prepares for the start of the season in about two and a half weeks’ time.
“I think things are looking good so far,” said Kaleb Toth, the team’s coach. “Guys are in better shape than they were last year, the majority of them. They’re not bobbling the ball as much as they were at the beginning of last year, they seem focused, they’re listening, they’re jogging for water breaks, they’re doing the right things.”
At the team’s most recent practice Thursday at Frank Crane Arena, there were enough players out for coaches to run the type of practice they wanted. That’s with eight to 10 guys still away at school or delayed with other commitments.
“So there’s going to be some tough decisions to make, but as a coach, you want it to be tough decisions,” said Toth. “You hope that the experience that these guys get … that they use it and excel in it and maybe we won’t be able to pull them out of the lineup.”
A couple of the new additions who have impressed are Colton Clark and Chase McIntyre. Coaches think Clark can be a productive scorer as a forward or transition player, and they like how McIntyre uses his size and grit up front.
On defence, the Timbermen can see that they’re going to have a ton of size back there, with every guy at least six feet tall and some a lot taller than that.
“That’s a good thing for a coach to have is big guys; they just have to make sure that they play big,” the coach said.
Many of the newcomers have shown well, and Toth said he recognizes there’s a learning curve to senior lacrosse and wants to give players ample opportunities before the first round of cuts.
With every WLA team trying to run a productive training camp at this time of year, the T-men will look to try to find an edge. Fitness is key, said Toth.
“You have to make sure that the guys that you’re bringing in are guys that are going to be in shape and ready to run and play a full 60 minutes and we definitely have that.”
There’s a lot of optimism in camp about Nanaimo’s potential to win games and be a playoff team. Buoyed by some of the momentum they’re creating off the court, they see an opportunity to strike while the iron’s hot.
“The organization is in a very good position right now,” said Toth, pointing to new sponsors, a new kids’ fan club and a general buzz surrounding the team.
“We’re doing a lot of things right that we haven’t done in the past. We’re really happy with the partners that we’ve brought on and it’s just going to keep getting stronger and stronger. But of course, everyone wants to sponsor and be part of a winner, so that’s what we have to do next.”
LACROSSE TALK … The WLA season starts May 22. For ticket information, please visit www.tmen.ca.