The Nanaimo Acme Painting Timbermen will board a plane today for the President's Cup.
It has been a long time since they actually stepped inside an arena for an actual lacrosse game, but they have been busy in preparation for the Canadian senior B lacrosse championship in Kahnawake, Que.
They've added reinforcements on the floor and on the bench, they've practiced and somehow found the time to raise more than $35,000 to fund the trip.
They also collected several league awards, including top defenceman (Kyle Couling), top coach (Mike Maughan), top general manager (Shawn Swanson) and three first team all-stars (Kyle Noble, Jon Diplock and Couling).
Now, all they've got to do is play the tournament.
"It's going to be like going into the start of the season again," said Diplock. "Hopefully everyone sticks to what we were supposed to be doing and comes focused and ready for it."
The Timbermen are a little shaky on what their expectations for the President's Cup should be. The Tri-City Bandits eliminated them in the second round of the West Coast Senior B Lacrosse Association playoffs this year, but they were highest finishing team in the league that said they would be able to go.
Still, they are making the trip to Montreal for more than just a good time.
"Our expectation is to make a good push every game and not be one of those walkover teams," said Diplock. "I think we've got a lot of talent, we've got a lot of effort. We're not going there just to be in the President's tournament, we're going there to win." Their efforts on the floor will be bolstered by the addition of three players from their two arch-rivals. From the Ladner Pioneers, they are being joined by their captain David Yee and defenceman John Canil, while the WCSLA's fourth leading scorer Curtis Sim is coming over from the Bandits.
At the President's Cup they will play seven games in seven days with a round robin format to the tournament.
For the first three games they will also be without Couling who was suspended after ploughing over Bandits' goalie Chad Miller in Game 3 of their playoff series.
"The biggest thing is having a number of players at the same calibre of play, you don't want your level to drop off in Game 3 when you have to switch out players," said Swanson.
Maughan will be joined on the bench by two familiar faces to the Nanaimo lacrosse world Roger Dubyna and Jim Kipp. Dubyna actually coached the Timbermen the last two times they were at the President's Cup in 2002 and 2003.
The move was made necessary as Maughan does not have the classifications required to be on the bench by himself at a national level tournament. Still there is no question who is in charge.
"It's going to be different, but I think the more help the better," said the coach of the year. "The two guys we're bringing in have a lot of experience and I'm familiar with them as well."
The awards are a nice touch for Swanson and Maughan, but they are particularly happy for Couling who has been a stalwart for them on defence for a number of years.
"Kyle getting defensive player of the year, when he almost double some of the players in the league in age, shows just how good he is," said Swanson. "He always takes the best player and tries to shut him down, and this year he was in the offensive zone where he made some noise too. He's just a big presence, you always know he's out there."
Preparing for the President's Cup has not been easy. Much of their time has been devoted to raising the $35,000 needed to make the trip, and they only had three weeks to do it. They not only hit the mark, but they exceeded it as well, by a few thousand dollars. The raised the funds through auctions, a beer and burger, a car wash, a few large private donations from local businesses and the players and coaches chipped in about half.
The tournament starts on Monday and runs through Sunday. The T-Men play the host Kahnawake Mohawks in their first game. JAldrich@nanaimodailynews.com 250-729-4243
© Copyright 2013