They packed in the fans for the Presidents Cup, and their pathway there was the most-read sports story of the year.
The Nanaimo Re/Max Timbermen, national lacrosse championship tournament hosts in 2018, were bound for that tourney regardless, since they were the host team, but they earned their spot.
The article ‘Nanaimo outscores Ladner to win senior B lacrosse championship,’ published Aug. 14, was the most-clicked sports article of the year on the Nanaimo News Bulletin’s website. The Timbermen defeated their rival Pioneers in a 14-13 overtime thriller at Frank Crane Arena in the rubber match of a three-game West Coast Senior Lacrosse Association final. It was a game that the Re/Max T-men trailed by three goals midway through the third.
The finish was remarkable in that Jeff Shattler, who wears jersey No. 77, scored the championship-winning goal with 77 seconds left in overtime and it was his seventh goal of the game.
“In the game of lacrosse you can never count yourself out…” Shattler said. “The game of lacrosse, it’s so fast, so many goals. [We] never gave up and that’s what great teams do, never give up, just keep battling.”
Coverage of lacrosse nationals yielded another top-10 article, as ‘Nanaimo will play for a national championship at Presidents Cup,’ published Sept. 1, was the 10th-most-read sports story on the News Bulletin’s website.
In 2017, articles on bodybuilding were the most-read and second-most-read stories, and the sport retained its popularity in 2018, as ‘Nanaimo bodybuilder one of the best at nationals’ was the second-most-read sports article in the News Bulletin. The article outlined Candace Schule’s second-place finish at Canadian Bodybuilding Federation nationals.
Schule said the sport helped her with recovery from a serious lower back injury that caused her to be anxious and depressed.
“I was in a really dark place and I just find that exercise and healing your body with the right nutrition, it really brings out your confidence and makes you feel so much better,” she said.
The third-most-read sports story in the News Bulletin was an out-of-town article that captured the interest of readers: ‘15-year-old girl nets win in her junior B hockey debut in the Kootenays,’ published Jan. 21.
Golden Rockets goalie Isabella Palumbo made 41 saves in a 7-4 victory against the Columbia Valley Rockies.
“Every time I made a save, the whole crowd went wild,” she said.
Fourth on the list was an article from the links, ‘Nanaimo golfer sinks two hole-in-ones in the same round,’ published July 25, about Terry Gorman accomplishing that feat in Abbotsford. According to the U.S. National Hole-In-One Registry, the odds of making two hole-in-ones in the same round of golf are about 67 million to one.
Rounding out the top five was ‘VIU volleyball team wins national championship,’ a March 10 article covering the university women’s team’s four-set victory over the Douglas Royals in an all-B.C. final in Grande Prairie, Alta.
The sixth and seventh stories were related, first ‘Nanaimo Sport Achievement Awards finalists revealed’ on Feb. 5, followed by ‘Nanaimo sport awards honour outstanding achievement’ on Feb. 17.
The eighth-most-read sports story came from the track, where ‘Seven records set at Nanaimo’s elementary school track meet’ on June 21 drew readers curious to find out which records had fallen.
Ninth on the top-10 sports story list was a visit from big leaguers. ‘Blue Jays come out to the ballpark in Nanaimo’ featured a photo of Roberto Alomar signing autographs, and a schedule of the events comprising Baseball Week in Nanaimo.