Nelson’s number 20 headed for Nor-Val rafters

A new banner will join the Shamrocks Ring of Honour and fly high above the Nor- Val Sports Centre in Armstrong.

A new banner will join the Shamrocks Ring of Honour and fly high above the Nor- Val Sports Centre in Armstrong.

The senior Shamrocks will retire Pat Nelson’s No. 20 jersey at a special ceremony Saturday night when the Rocks entertain the Kelowna Raiders (8:00).

“We are hopeful that the community will come out and celebrate this historic night with us and cheer on our team at the same time” said Shamrock GM Chad Pieper.

The timing is perfect as the Shamrocks are hosting their second Shamrocks/Vernon Tigers Alumni night.

“Alumni from both teams will be reuniting to reminisce about old war stories from days gone by and marvel at how much hair they have lost” said coach Ryan Nitchie, who won five Shaw Cup championships with the Shamrocks since helping to resurrect the senior boxla loop in 1994.

Nelson will join Lance McGregor, Doug Morrison, Jim Maundrell and Adrien Lemaire as the first of the new era Shamrocks to have their number retired.

“Pat’s contribution to lacrosse in Armstrong reaches far beyond simply playing – he has coached minor, coached Junior, organized, fundraised and even acted as Steele Fischer, a legendary Shamrock from the ‘20s, at the City Centennial reenactment play” said Nitchie.

Nelson grew up a Shamrock. His mom and dad were avid supporters of the Shamrocks through the 1960s and ‘70s with Nelson’s Trucking a major sponsor of the team through the heyday years in the mid to late 1970s.

Pat played minor lacrosse through juvenile until the sport collapsed in the early ‘80s. He moved away to begin his career as a glazier but found his way back to Armstrong and joined the Shamrocks in 1998 and was instantly recognized as a leader.

“Pat joined the team the last year that our captain at the time, Dale Fulton, played and we couldn’t have asked for better timing” said Nitchie. “The team was in a rebuilding phase through those years with several of our veterans retiring like Grant Docksteader, Duncan MacDonald and Jack Prokopetz.”

and we needed experienced leadership to step up as we struggled through some tough seasons” added Nitchie “Pat lead by example and with constant positivity rallied the team behind him every game.”

In 2002, Nelson scored the winner against the Vernon Royals in Hame 3 of the Shaw Cup finals at the Vernon Multiplex.

“I remember it clearly. We got the ball with less than two minutes to play, called a time-out and set up a simple play, Pat executed it perfectly and buried an outside shot to take a one-goal lead and hang on to win the Cup,” said Nitchie.

Nelson captured his second Shaw Cup in 2003 and would eventually hand the captaincy to Chad Pounder but kept playing until 2014 when he got to dress as a Shamrock and play alongside his two sons Sheldon and Cameron.

The popular owner of Nelson’s Glass in Armstrong will be recognized for his competitive spirit, commitment to lacrosse,  consummate leadership, sportsmanship, class and grace.