Morning Star Staff
The smell of liniment, the sounds of squeaking Keds sneakers and the sight of legendary lacrosse players filled the Nor-Val Sports Centre and Hassen Memorial Arenas last weekend for the B.C. Masters Lacrosse Championships.
The local teams played solid, led by the 35+ Masters which featured former and current Armstrong Shamrocks, Vernon Tigers and Kamloops Rattlers.
The Masters team ran the board in the Owen Siddall Division, downing the Nanaimo Timbermen 8-4 in their first game and PoCo Saints 9-3 in their second game. Logan Strohm and Iver Sandaker were awarded game MVPs.
Mykl Drabiuk of Armstrong was game MVP as a pick-up for PoCo.
Cousins Darren and Darcy Holte (sons of 1970s Tiger Stars Dan and Gary Holte) sniped goals for the Okanagan squad all weekend.
Shamrock veterans Ryan Nitchie and Devin Rodger received Askew’s Man of the Match honours for their highlight-reel goal that saw Nitchie feed the ball to Rodger, who posted in front of the PoCo net and proceeded to bury a Jim Maundrellesque reverse backhanded whip shot that Rodger dubbed his bread and butter shot.
The Masters capped the tourney with a 9-4 win over the Timbermen to take the title.
In the Jim Nelson Grand Masters 45+ Division, the Okanagan squad went 1-3, dropping their first game, 14-5, to the eventual A division winners Coasters who were led by 2016 Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame inductee Russ Heard and backstopped by Shamrocks goalie Chad Pieper. Nitchie took the Irish MVP.
Heard, assistant coach with the WLA Senior A New Westminster Salmonbellies, scored three goals in the gold-medal game, a 16-2 Coasters’ romp over Poco. Pieper had three assists and was game MVP for Coasters.
The Okanagan squad shut out the Prince George Grand Masters 9-0 backstopped by Scott Usher and a gutsy performance by MVP Brad Kirschner.
The Okanagan fell 11-4 to the Native Sons from Nanaimo to place third in their division.
The Coasters beat the Native Sons 8-4 and punished Prince George 10-0 (Pieper with shutout).
The highlight of the tournament was the newly created Tom Frame Centurion 55+ Division that featured only the Okanagan and Prince George teams, ironically the same two teams that started the Masters lacrosse format in 1989.
With shortened 30-minute games, the two teams played three times. Shamrocks Ring of Honour inductees Lance McGregor, Doug Morrison, Adrien Lemaire and Maundrell, as well as Pat Nelson pleased the crowd with some precision passing and finesse stick skills to go undefeated. Former Shamrocks and Royals goalie Duane Mellett got over trauma from the last time he suited up in goal to earn three decisive wins.
“We had a great weekend and all of the teams seemed very happy with the tournament organization,” said co-ordinator Nitchie.
The tourney will be held in Nanaimo or Langley next year.
Cindy McAfee of Vernon won the Twin Anchors Houseboat trip raffle.
Meanwhile, the Vernon Sun Valley Source For Sports Tigers face the Shamrocks in Game 1 of the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League best-of-five playoffs series Tuesday night at Kal Tire Place.
The second game goes Thursday night at Nor-Val Sports Centre in Armstrong with Game 3 back at Kal Tire Place. The Tigers won the league title at 13-2-1, while the Shamrocks finished fourth at 2-13-1.