Before they start thinking about winning any championships, they want to get started on a winning season.
The senior B Re/Max Timbermen are about to start a new West Coast Senior Lacrosse Association season, with the home opener against the Langley Warriors on Sunday, May 6, at Frank Crane Arena.
Nanaimo had one exhibition game last month, handling the Victoria Wolves 16-6, and the organization was happy with how things looked.
“It’s been a common thread from everyone that it’s mid-season form already,” said Shawn Swanson, general manager. “The talent level’s up, the fitness is way up.”
The T-men are showing positive signs at all areas of the floor. Swanson said the offence looks “really crisp” with some different systems from recent years.
“We’ve implemented an offensive pattern and a few plays and guys are taking to the structure, definitely,” said Kyle Couling, the team’s coach. “It’s a free-flowing thing … the creativity is left up to them within the system.”
At the back end, there are a combination of approaches. Positioning and trust in the teammates is important, Couling said, but at the same time, “everybody’s responsible for five guys out there. A real team philosophy is what we’re preaching and that’s what will be successful for us.”
The team has some new additions and there are more to come. Swanson said the general managing continues at this time of year as there are still senior A cuts to come, for example. He thinks the senior B T-men could still use another right-handed forward and another shutdown-style defender.
“I will continue to improve every week and everyone knows that and every player’s bought into that. Everyone knows they’ve got to work every week and we’re going to continue to try to make this team better,” Swanson said.
As for the home opener, the Warriors have been among the league’s best teams of late and should pose a challenge to start the season. No matter the score, Couling said Nanaimo needs to hone its skills and approach every game as a “prelude to the championship tournament.”
He said entering the 2018 season, with the Presidents’ Cup tournament on the calendar, creates a different kind of excitement.
“It gives us a really unique opportunity and we have to look at it as such and realize that this is a special thing and that we are lucky to have it and make sure that we honour that and put the hard work in,” Couling said.
GAME ON … The Timbermen and Warriors play Sunday at 5 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena. Tickets will be available at the door.