Cayle Ratcliff

Cayle Ratcliff

Timbermen will need hard work, hustle

The Nanaimo Timbermen begin the Western Lacrosse Association season Sunday (May 18) on the road against the Maple Ridge Burrards.

Lacrosse is already the fastest game on two feet, and the Timbermen will need to play it at top speed.

The Nanaimo Timbermen begin the Western Lacrosse Association season Sunday (May 18) on the road against the Maple Ridge Burrards. To be competitive, the senior A T-men know they need to outrun opponents.

“Last year our goal was to outwork every team, every game, and it’s looking to be the same way,” said Graham Palmer, T-men captain. “With a lot of athletes on our team, I think we’ll be able to run with anyone.”

It’s not enough just to keep pace – the Timbermen need to win games, excite fans and fill the stands as the club overcomes financial challenges off the floor. The former Coastal Windows Timbermen know there’s no point crying over broken glass.

“We never played soft because we knew we had sponsorships,” said Cayle Ratcliff, alternate captain. “We’re always going to give it 110 per cent. We want this community to have a winning, successful team … I don’t think we’re far off from that.”

There are reasons to be optimistic. The Timbermen had their share of doubters a year ago and although they missed the playoffs for the sixth straight season, they were better than the standings suggested, said Ratcliff.

“We were competitive in every single game,” he said. “We’ve proven last year, and we’re going to prove it again that you can’t take us lightly.”

The Timbermen surrendered the most goals in the WLA a year ago, but the primary concern this year might be goal scoring.

“We’re going to have to rely heavily on our transition,” said Kaleb Toth, the team’s coach.

Players know that’s the game plan, and they’ll buy in.

“We just have to run the ball up the floor and keep on pushing it up,” Palmer said. “No stopping, no turning around, just keep on going, pushing the ball and goals will happen.”

Ratcliff and Paul Brebber will be looked upon for offence to start the year, and transition players including Kyle Hofer, Palmer, Doug Langlois and Myles Kenny will be encouraged to run the floor.

“We don’t have that one guy [opponents] are expecting all the shots to come from…” Ratcliff said. “If everybody can chip in with a goal or two a game, then we’re looking at a nice, solid, potent offence.”

Rookies will get chances not only to crack the lineup, but to contribute.

“They’ve got an opportunity now to get the ball on their stick when maybe they wouldn’t have it on their stick when the top guys are back,” Toth said. “It’s a perfect opportunity for them to prove that they can score goals. Hopefully they prove that they can.”

Zak Boychuk returns as starting goalie and Brandan Smith and Conrad Chapman are promising rookie defenders.

This year’s group gets its first test on Sunday against the Burrards, and Toth said he wants his team to play tough right away and, of course, win.

“[The Burrards] are going to be in the same boat. They’re going to be missing some guys and I think both teams are going to see what their depth looks like,” the coach said. “I was talking to their head coach the other day and we figure it’s either going to be a 6-5 game or a 21-20 game.”

Ratcliff said the T-men have seen how critical it is not to “get behind the eight ball” early on in the season.

“You need to have a big start,” he said. “These early games, when teams [are missing] NLL guys is when we need to pick up as many points as we can.”

Ultimately, the T-men know that there’s a lot more to lacrosse than how many pros are in the lineup. With a new season and an 0-0 record, where they go from here is up to them.

“You’ve got to go into every game thinking that you’re going to win,” said Palmer. “You’ve got to have confidence. You’ve got to believe in the players that you have and if you don’t, it’s done before the game’s even started. I do believe we’ll be able to win and I do believe the guys will step up and put in an effort every night.”

GAME ON  … The senior A Timbermen start the Western Lacrosse Association season on the road Sunday (May 18) at Maple Ridge. Their home opener is Tuesday, when the Victoria Shamrocks visit Frank Crane Arena at 7 p.m. For season ticket information, please visit www.tmen.ca.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

Just Posted

Nanaimo rapper Sirreal plays the Port Theatre on June 25. (Photo courtesy Alanna Morton)
Nanaimo rapper Sirreal and friends play the Port Theatre

Live-streamed concert the second in venue’s Discovery Series highlighting local artists

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement, stating that Nanaimo will see temperatures between five-10 degrees above seasonal the next two days. (News Bulletin file)
Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement, stating that Nanaimo will see temperatures between five-10 degrees above normal the next two days. (News Bulletin file)
Heat wave will see Nanaimo temperatures rise 5-10 degrees above normal

Sun with highs of 28 C forecast by Environment Canada for Harbour City on Sunday and Monday

According to a staff report, Regional District of Nanaimo has seen some $13.6 million in grant applications approved between Jan. 1 and May 15. (News Bulletin file)
Close to $14 million in money granted to RDN in first half of year

Successful grants include more than $4 million for transit service in Regional District of Nanaimo

A section of the rail corridor on Vancouver Island. (Black Press file photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Put rail trail right overtop of the tracks

Removing tracks would be a horrendous expense, says letter writer

District of Lantzville Mayor Mark Swain, left, and Snaw-Naw-As Chief Gordon Edwards sign a memorandum of understanding outside Snaw-Naw-As Market on Friday, June 18. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Lantzville and Snaw-Naw-As sign memorandum of understanding

District and First Nation create joint working group

Robin Dutton, left, and Peter Sinclair are taking their mountain bikes and travelling down trails in the Mount Benson area June 19 as part of a 24-hour fundraiser benefiting Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Full-day mountain bike fundraiser gives financial support for Nanaimo food bank

Event part of Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank’s Food 4 Summer campaign

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding partnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read