Nanaimo Timbermen forward Eli McLaughlin passes the ball during his first practice with the team Tuesday night at Frank Crane Arena.

Nanaimo Timbermen forward Eli McLaughlin passes the ball during his first practice with the team Tuesday night at Frank Crane Arena.

Top prospect joins Timbermen

Eli McLaughlin joined the senior A Nanaimo Timbermen this week and will make his WLA debut tomorrow (June 4).

The Nanaimo Timbermen have a new addition whom they expect to make an immediate impact.

Forward Eli McLaughlin joined the senior A lacrosse team this week and will make his WLA debut tomorrow (June 4).

McLaughlin was chosen by the Timbermen in this past winter’s draft, taken second overall.

“It’s nice when someone picks you up that high and you kind of respect that and come and play,” said McLaughlin.

The T-men are excited about what the forward can add to the mix up front.

“He’s a natural goal scorer, so we expect him to score goals, and if he doesn’t score goals, we expect him to set up goals…” said Kaleb Toth, Timbermen coach. “But it’s not just that. He demands attention from other teams’ top defensive players and when he does that, other guys tend to get freed up.”

McLaughlin is coming off his rookie season in the National Lacrosse League, where he was fifth in team scoring on the Colorado Mammoth and played with premier talent including Adam Jones and John Grant, Jr.

“It was a great experience and hopefully I can translate that to summer league here,” McLaughlin said.

He’s another left-hander on a Timbermen team with tons of firepower on that side of the floor – Cody Bremner, Brody Eastwood and Cayle Ratcliff are all lefties, too. That’s a good situation to have, not a problem, said the coach.

“It’s just making them find the rhythm, finding what combinations work the best, finding what roles guys are willing to do,” Toth said.

McLaughlin is versatile up front and should be able to add a few different elements to the offence.

“I definitely like to shoot from the shooter’s spot, I like to make moves off-ball, set picks and get to the greasy areas and get the payoff,” he said.

As he adjusts to the Timbermen systems, he’ll play a simple game and see if he can “find a groove” with different guys, he said. He’s excited to get out there for his first game.

“I love the sport. Why else would I come back out here to get beat up more? I just love the game and I can’t get away from it,” McLaughlin said. “Hopefully I come in, score some goals and help the team string some wins together.”

GAME ON … The Timbermen visit the New Westminster Salmonbellies on Thursday at Queen’s Park Arena. The T-men then face the Maple Ridge Burrards on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at the Island Savings Centre in Duncan.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com