No officials? No problem.
The Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League kicked off its 2018 post-season Thursday with best-of-five semifinal games in Vernon and Kamloops. The teams were there, volunteers were there, fans were there.
The only people missing in both cities were the scheduled on-floor officials. They simply never showed up at either venue.
Black Press has reached out to the B.C. Lacrosse Association, which schedules the referees, for an explanation.
Emergency fill-in referees had to be found in each city. In Kamloops, it took an hour before two approved officials were located and the game could begin.
In Vernon, longtime league official Jeff Connauton was in the stands, on vacation, and was pressed into duty along with former Armstrong Shamrocks head coach Jim Point, who also happened to be at the contest. The start of the game was delayed 24 minutes.
The regular season champion Vernon Tigers and second place Kamloops Venom both needed time to get going before rolling to opening game victories.
The Tigers fell behind 3-0 after 20 minutes and 38 seconds, led 6-5 after 40 minutes and went on to a 12-6 win over the fourth-place South Okanagan Flames at Kal Tire Place.
Rookie Kaden Doughty supplied 2+5 for the Tigers, while Brett Olsen bagged 2+3. League scoring champion Jordy Barr and Kael Black each pocketed deuces, while Tanner Gilbert, Eric Reid, Jake Pelletier and Chase Wirth added singles. Quinn Stanhope produced four assists.
Aiden Canada (2), Louis Shortreed, Logan Cote, Ben Olsen and Trenton Henson answered for the Flames, who host Game 2 Saturday night in Oliver. Game 3 is Monday night at Kal Tire Place.
Kyle McIntosh delivered 33 saves and one assist for Vernon, while Shaun Agostinho recorded 40 stops for the Flames.
The Flames lost Fred Harbinson with a rare change-bench game misconduct in the second period and Shortreed for a backcheck game misconduct in the third. Vernon took four minor penalties.
The Venom rallied from 3-0 and 5-1 first-period deficit to blitz the Armstrong Shamrocks 22-8.
Game 2 in that series goes Saturday in Armstrong.