Armstrong Shamrocks off to Westerns; Vernon Tigers decline one-game B.C. final

Senior North Okanagan lacrosse champs travelling; Thompson Okanagan junior champs not

After a two-month break, the Armstrong Shamrocks return to the lacrosse floor this weekend.

The Shamrocks are entered in the Western Canadian Senior C Championships in New Westminster and Coquitlam.

Armstrong plays at 4 p.m. Friday at the Coquitlam Sportsplex against the PoCo Hitmen of Port Coquitlam, then face the Port Moody Express Friday at 8 p.m., also in Coquitlam.

Saturday, the Irish are at Queens Park Arena in New Westminster, where they will play the North Shore Indians at 10 a.m., and the Vancouver Island Arrows at 1:30 p.m.

Semifinals go Sunday at 9 a.m. The bronze-medal match is at 2 p.m. Sunday, and the gold-medal game is in Coquitlam at 4 p.m. Sunday.

The Shamrocks swept a five-game Thompson Okanagan Senior Lacrosse League regular season series from the Kamloops Rattlers, the last game being played on June 8, which Armstrong won 9-6.

RELATED: Schlaak super for Shamrocks

Tigers decline provincial final trip

The Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League champion Vernon Tigers have declined to play a one-game, winner-take-all B.C. Junior B Tier 1 provincial final, citing finances and other reasons.

The Tigers, who completed a three-game sweep of the Kamloops Venom for the TOJLL playoff crown July 19, were of the belief they were to have played the B.C. League winner on Saturday in Coquitlam, regardless of who won the playoffs featuring teams from the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.

The Victoria Shamrocks and Coquitlam Adanacs were the top two teams in the season, and the favourites to advance to the league final. Victoria beat Coquitlam two games to one to win the playoff championship.

“I started looking around and seeing what was available for hotels and busing with the belief the game was going to be played in Coquitlam,” said Tigers general manager Duane Barr. “My understanding was the game was going to be in Coquitlam no matter who won. I was then told by the commissioner of the league down there that we would play the winner of the league, so if it was Coquitlam, it would be in Coquitlam. If it was Victoria, it would be in Victoria.

“I said, ‘there’s no way I can go to Victoria on short notice (Victoria wrapped up playoffs Monday).”

If Coquitlam had won, said Barr, the provincial final would be scheduled to be played one day before the Adanacs head east to Akwesasne, Ont. for the Founders Cup Canadian Junior B championship.

“I’m way more financially responsible to my team than to go (to provincial final) for one game,” said Barr. “We were looking at $5,000 to go to Coquitlam. It would have been more with the ferries to go to Victoria.

“I would have loved to have gone down there to see how we stacked up against those guys. We had a pretty good team this year (only one loss in regular season and playoffs) and I think we’ll have a good team next year.”

RELATED: Tigers complete series sweep

The BC Junior Tier 1 Lacrosse League regular season ended July 8. It had three rounds of playoffs which ended on Aug 6.

Karl Christiansen, chairperson of the BCJT1LL, and a former Vernon senior lacrosse player in the late 1990s, said in an e-mail to The Morning Star that “well in advance we proposed to the TOJLL Commissioner Guy Charron to host and pay all costs (arena, referees, medals etc ) to play a game with our league champion at their home arena. When Vernon said they weren’t coming, be it either Victoria or Coquitlam, we had arenas booked for an afternoon game prepared for either arena.”

“There was never a conversation it would definitely be in Coquitlam,” said Christiansen. “The only communication regarding Coquitlam was that they would like to play midday as they leave on Sunday, the 12th of August, for Cornwall, Ontario where the Founders Cup is being played.”

Christiansen said his league acknowledged the cost of travel and committed to travelling to the Okanagan league champion in 2019. All the cost for travel are incurred by the league and team champion.

“We really wanted this one game best versus best to happen to fairly see how each league competed with each other,” said Christiansen, who added that BCJT1LL commissioner Dave Wilkie “was told on three different occasions the status of the Tigers attending had changed.”

The TOJLL decided to go Tier 1 (up from Tier 2) at the 2017 B.C. Lacrosse Association annual general meeting.

The 2018 BCLA AGM will be held in Whistler.

“Our league needs to put forward a proposal with the senior directorate to get a true Tier 1 provincial championship, whether it’s a three-game series or similar to the Tier 2 provincials like last weekend in Westshore (Victoria),” said Barr. “That way you can plan for it better and be ready.”

The Tigers hosted the four-team B.C. Tier 2 provincial tournament in 2017.

This story has been updated with comments from the B.C. Junior Tier 1 Lacrosse League



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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