Scott Ranger was on his way to a family barbecue when he talked to the News Bulletin on Sunday. The season ended three weeks ago. But he had his lacrosse stick with him.
“It doesn’t leave my side very often,” he said. “The stick’s kind of attached to me and that’s just the way I have been since I was four or five years old.”
All those years shooting the ball around with his brother or his dad or just into an empty net helped Ranger become the lacrosse player he is today: league MVP.
The born-and-raised Nanaimoite received news last week that he is the 2011 winner of the Western Lacrosse Association’s Commission Trophy as most valuable player.
It’s an historic award given out annually since 1958. Some of the names etched on the trophy include Jack Bionda, Jim Veltman, Chris Gill and Lewis Ratcliff. The last Nanaimo Timbermen player to win MVP was Brian Evans in 1978.
“It’s an honour to have,” said Ranger. “It goes with a lot of hard work from myself and definitely my teammates – it’s one of those things that you can’t win by yourself.”
Ranger joins the exclusive group of MVPs after a season for the ages.
The Timbermen team captain played in all 18 games and went hard to the net in every one, finishing with 54 goals and 41 assists.
The 28-year-old right hander has scored 260 career WLA goals, so he didn’t exactly come out of nowhere. In fact, he said there’s nothing about his game that really changed in 2011.
“It’s just being focused and ready to play and really wanting to succeed – I want to see this team go places,” Ranger said. “I really try not to pay attention to stats. I just try to contribute the best way I can and I’m there to score goals. If I’m doing that, I’m doing my job.”
A 54-goal season is a rarity in the WLA – over the last 10 years, the only other player to light the lamp that many times in one summer was Ratcliff in 2006. In addition to the MVP trophy, Ranger also gets the Denny Huddleston Trophy as the league’s leading scorer, the WLA’ Three Star Award and recognition as a first-team all-star.
But Ranger said he can’t fully appreciate the season he had, at least not right now. The fact that the Timbermen missed the playoffs on a tiebreaker still stings.
“I’m a passionate guy about lacrosse and I’m still sitting with a sour taste in my mouth,” he said. “As soon as the playoffs are done I’ll definitely sit back and enjoy it a little bit more.”
His main concern, though, will continue to be team success. Ranger was the Timbermen franchise’s first-round draft choice in 2005 so he’s seen the entire process of trying to build a winning team.
“With the guys we have and the ownership and the organization, we’re moving in the right direction,” he said. “It might not have been a huge step from last year, but baby steps are going to lead to good things.”
Lacrosse team hands out hardware
The senior A Nanaimo Timbermen were optimistic after the 2011 Western Lacrosse Association season amid the disappointment of missing the playoffs.
The main reason for optimism is the core of players to build with. The team announced its year-end award winners last week.
Team captain Scott Ranger was named team MVP. He also won the Mac Maude Memorial Trophy as the three-star player of the year and shares the Keith Westwood Memorial Most Inspirational Player award with Cayle Ratcliff. Rob Kirkby won the Best Defensive Player award, Myles Kenny won Most Improved Player and Jordon Sealock won Rookie of the Year and Most Sportsmanlike Player. Mat MacLeod won the Keith Manns Memorial Unsung Hero Award.