It takes a little while to get the stick skills back at the start of lacrosse season, but the Nanaimo Timbermen have found their legs right away.
The junior A lacrosse team has been hustling at practice as it prepares for the start of the season next week.
“So far, so good,” said Ken Morrison, the team’s new head coach. “We look fast. We’ll be a fast team this year, I can see that.”
Brad Dougan had to step down as coach due to work commitments, so Morrison was promoted from assistant coach and Todd Manns has been added as an assistant.
Jon Nicholson, the team’s general manager, said coaches and management get along well and he foresees good chemistry there.
“I think the players are going to be really happy with the coaching that they’re getting and I think they’re going to be able to take us to that next level,” Nicholson said.
Brett Fleming, Timbermen veteran, said players have been making the most of their practice slots. He said coaches are emphasizing back-end play at this time of year.
“Defence, that’s got to be our No. 1 priority,” he said. “We’ve acquired some players and our coaching is slightly different. I think we’re going to focus on that and be better for it.”
Some aspects of the game plan are difficult to practise at the moment, as players are still away at school. Morrison said the junior Timbermen will just start implementing their system and hope late-comers will be able to pick things up.
He’s also stressing that this year’s team is “so much different” and senses that players want to put last year’s difficulties firmly behind them.
“I can tell already the jump in them,” he said. “They’re ready to go; they feel good about it.”
The T-men played an exhibition game against the Victoria Shamrocks on Wednesday in Chemainus, tying 11-11. Corey Shires, Brett Hawrys and Travis Mickelson each scored twice for Nanaimo.