This season, a Presidents Cup appearance isn’t a sure thing, but it remains the goal.
The senior B Nanaimo Timbermen are about to start a new boxla season in the West Coast Senior Lacrosse Association, as their first two home games are this weekend, May 4-5, at Frank Crane Arena.
The Re/Max T-men came as close as they could have possibly come to a national title, losing in overtime of the final to the St. Albert Miners in a packed Frank Crane Arena last Labour Day weekend.
“Some of the guys from last year, they’ve got a little bit of a chip on their shoulder with how last year ended and how close we were…” said Simon Stocks, assistant coach.
“For a core of returning guys, there’s definitely some unsettled business they want to take care of this year.”
Reaching the level they did brings experience to the group that can help them a season later.
“Building off of last year, we know what it takes and we’re not there yet but for the group of guys that were there, they do understand it,” Stocks said.
Some veterans have moved on, from all areas of the floor, but Shawn Swanson, general manager, said this year’s team is just as strong as it’s typically been over the last five seasons, even with a dozen guys who aren’t coming back.
“You’d think it would be a rebuild at that point, but we’ve re-tooled and we think we’re as strong as we’ve been,” Swanson said.
Jon Diplock and Corey Shires are back as offensive leaders, along with Andrew Miller. Steve Higgs returns to the team after some time playing with the WLA Victoria Shamrocks, and the team expects good things from Jake Mickelson.
Doug Langlois and Myles Kenny return to lead the defence/transition group, and Quinn Smith, who has been with the senior A Timbermen, will play senior B this year. The T-men are excited about transition defenders Alex Henry and Vern Hill, Jr., both coming from Ontario’s Six Nations program.
Veteran goalie Nick Patterson returns and Cody Cook and Pat Mallough are also in the goaltending picture.
“Our ball movement as an offence has been really great. We’ve got a group of guys right now that just jell together…” Swanson said. “Our defence may have taken a hit as far as true defenders, but our transition is a lot younger and faster and we’re going to push that ball up the floor really well this year.”
Stocks said he’s had a lot of people ask about the team and about tickets, looking forward to a new WCSLA season after liking what they saw and experienced at last summer’s Presidents Cup.
“Just because it’s classified as B lacrosse doesn’t mean it’s second-class…” Stocks said. “There’s definitely excitement. That tournament did wonders for our fan base.”
GAME ON … The senior B Timbermen play the Valley Rebels on Saturday, May 4, at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena, and then again Sunday, May 5, at 5 p.m. at Frank Crane. Admission is $10 and children 12 and under will be admitted free.