Playing for the Victoria Shamrocks is a dream come true for Josh Fagan.
Almost every Friday when he was a child, his dad would take him to see the Western Lacrosse Association team in action on the West Shore.
“It was something really cool that our family would go and do on Friday nights when they were playing. It was pretty cool,” Fagan said, adding his dad grew up playing lacrosse as well. “Especially watching the guys like the Gait brothers play was pretty amazing.”
Fagan was five years old when his best friend, whose father was a lacrosse coach, inspired him to trade in his hockey stick for a lacrosse stick. He used to go to the old Juan de Fuca lacrosse box, where the Q Centre is located, and would play with plastic sticks against current Shamrock players such as Jesse King and Chris Wardle.
Shorty after, Fagan joined Juan de Fuca minor lacrosse as a defenceman, and played through to midget and the intermediate program.
Over the years, his passion for the sport grew. He played junior B with the West Shore Bears, and junior A in 2012, putting up nine points and 15 penalty minutes in 10 games.
He was drafted by the Victoria Shamrocks in 2013.
Fagan also played lacrosse at Concordia University Irvine in the U.S., posting 73 points and 29 assists in the 2015 season, and played senior B with the Nanaimo Timbermen.
While he was away at university, he was unable to attend the Shamrocks training camp, however, this year Fagan was able to attend the camp, which runs from April 25 to the season opener in May.
While there will be some familiar faces on the team, the 24-year-old is looking forward to joining the Shamrocks organization and playing in front of family and friends.
“I’m very excited. It’s pretty much a dream come true. You grow up watching them for 20 years. Getting to go out there and actually put a jersey on is pretty amazing,” Fagan said. “Especially here in Victoria, I really enjoy the community involvement and how much passion there is for the sport.”
Head coach Bob Heyes said Fagan will play a key role in faceoffs.
“His mind-set is always learning and taking the talents that he has and maximizing those. It’s a breath of fresh air,” Heyes said, adding Fagan will likely be one of their faceoff men.
“He’s going to get a chance right off the bat in our first game to do a lot of faceoffs. With some of the pro guys still not in camp yet because of commitments, there are a lot of players who are going to get thrown into the fire.”
The five-foot-nine, 185-pound defenceman is ready for the challenge.
“(My focus is) just playing solid blue-collar defence and trying to fit well into the system and making sure that the effort and intensity is always up and trying to make the Shamrock organization proud,” Fagan said.
In September, the Shamrocks hoisted the coveted Mann Cup after defeating the Peterborough Lakers 12-6 in the final round of playoff action.
The 2016 season kicks off Friday, May 20 against the Nanaimo Timbermen.