Corey Small’s last name is no indication of his value to the Victoria Shamrocks.
In fact it is quite the opposite. Visitors to the Western Lacrosse Association club’s Langford office recently were reminded of that value, as the diminutive 5’ 9” forward dropped by to pick up his 2015 first team all-star trophy. The all-star nod was one of various highlights from the season for Small, who led the team to their first Mann Cup in 10 years and ninth in their history.
“Corey is the type of player every team dreams of having,” said club general manager Chris Welch. “He is a phenomenal talent and a great guy, a tremendous ambassador for our sport and a real emerging leader in our group.”
Over the past five season, Welch said, Small has quickly become one of the key faces of the franchise. “He is a very special player, a special guy and he fits the green and white perfectly, so we love having him.”
Small led the WLA in points with 79 (33 goals, 36 assists) during the regular season, added a league-high 40 in the WLA playoffs and topped it off by winning the Mike Kelley Award as Mann Cup most valuable player.
His third first-team all star selection matches the number of times he has been voted most popular Victoria Shamrock by the fans.
“For anyone who wears the shamrock, that (all-star selection) is no small feat, because things are voted on politically in the WLA and they are not big on dropping accolades on Victoria,” Welch said. “So the fact that Corey has been able to smash through that on three occasions for first team honours speaks to what a special player he is.”
His ability to rise to the occasion, whether it is a battle on the floor or off, has had a positive effect on their organization, Welch added.
Small pointed out that it has never been just about personal stats or recognition, it is about the team first.
“Individual accolades aren’t important to the players of the Shamrocks,” he said. “(It’s) fortunate for me to get some points and score some goals, but really, you know, it’s the guys who you play with that make that possible.”
Attacker Jesse King, who totalled 64 points in 16 games, was the other Victoria Shamrock to garner first-team all star honours when the awards were announced last August.
Defender Rory Smith was named to the second all-star team.
Small took the occasion last week to celebrate the Shamrock fans who packed the rink during the Mann Cup and WLA playoffs, and supported the team during the season. Despite not yet being signed yet for 2016, he looked forward to donning the three-leaf clover again.
“Without a doubt we’ve been the best team in the west for the last four years. I don’t see that changing in 2016 … I think we have the team to do it again,” he said.
Clover leaves … Season tickets for the 2016 Victoria Shamrocks WLA campaign are on sale now. They can be purchased in person at the club’s office, 120-967 Langford Pkwy. in Langford, or by calling 250-478-ROCK (7625).