The champs will make some changes.
The Nanaimo Timbermen senior B lacrosse team opened training camp last week as it gets ready to start defending its West Coast Senior Lacrosse Association championship.
“It’s a bit of a re-tooling. I wouldn’t call it a rebuild,” said Shawn Swanson, the team’s general manager.
There are additions and subtractions to the roster every year, but this season there were also some moves due to the new Victoria Wolves expansion team. Nanaimo traded five players to Victoria, most notably Devon Casey, James Spence and Drew Miles. Nanaimo will retain some Victoria-based players including Nick Patterson, Steve Higgs and Josh Fagan, but the senior B T-men will be “really local this year,” Swanson said.
“It continues the tradition of Nanaimo lacrosse with Nanaimo players,” he said. “It’s a great dressing room already because all of these kids have played with each other growing up. Now it’s just a matter of some of the newer guys figuring out senior B ball and jelling and filling those holes.”
The team’s most high-profile addition this year is Corey Shires, a former high-scoring forward with the junior A Timbermen.
Swanson is also anticipating that there might be more senior A cuts available this year than in past years. In the meantime he’s continuing to evaluate the guys in camp, some of whom are new to the program.
“We’re just trying to upgrade talent,” the GM said.
He said it’s a bit of a different feel going into the season defending the championship instead of chasing it. But all it’s taken is a couple of times getting back out on the floor and running around for the competitiveness to start building again, he said.
In other news, the senior B Timbermen will move into Frank Crane Arena this season for all their home games. In recent years, the team has played at the Nanaimo Ice Centre during the regular season and at Frank Crane come playoff time. Swanson said the switch is mostly due to liquor licence considerations.
The senior B T-men will play an exhibition game against the Wolves later this month. Not only will the Timbermen be facing some of their former teammates, but the coaching staff is familiar, too. Former T-men players Nick Agius and Rick Fields will be behind the Victoria bench.
“It’ll be a rivalry,” Swanson said. “It’ll be more of a sibling rivalry, where they’re brothers, but at the same time, you’re going to want to win.”
GAME ON … The T-men and Wolves play at 6 p.m. on April 23.