Jr. Shamrocks trade to boost intensity

Saanich lacrosse player Ethan Garland gets his wish to join Jr. A Victoria Shamrocks

Ethan Garland is checked by a New Westminster Salmonbellies opponent during his time with Nanaimo Timbermen in 2011. The Victoria Shamrocks traded for Garland last week in a five player deal

Last week the junior A Nanaimo Timbermen conceded that 2012 isn’t their year, something the Victoria Shamrocks aren’t ready to do.

With the Timbermen last and the Shamrocks sixth, holding the final playoff spot in the B.C. Junior Lacrosse League, the two sides met in the middle, resulting in a five-player trade.

The Jr. Rocks acquired second-year player Ethan Garland and two graduating players, Paul Brebber and Glenn Foley. Going the other way is Nick Sanderson, Freddie Bathurst-Hunt and future considerations.

“We were debating as a sixth-place team if we should throw the towel in on this season or do a shakeup and challenge for the Jr. A title,” Shamrocks general manager Rod Wood said.

“There was some complacency with the players,” Wood said. “Brebber addresses that. He’s gritty and brings intensity to the floor we feel we were missing.”

Garland could end up being the key piece of the trade because he has one year remaining. Foley is expected to help out offensively but has missed the season because of a concussion, from which he’s nearly ready to return.

Garland, a Saanich product, had requested a trade from the start of the season and refused  to suit up for the Timbermen this year after playing his rookie year there last year.

Instead, he’s playing for the Island’s junior B league Saanich Tigers, and is in the midst of an MVP season, leading the league in scoring with 60 points in 11 games.

The consensus is Garland will bounce between both teams the rest of the way. He only needs to play three games as a call- up to the Shamrocks to be eligible for the Jr. A playoffs. But if the Shamrocks and Tigers have conflicting games, he’ll have to choose one or another.

“If there’s two games the same day, we’ll have to see what happens when we get there,” Garland said.

Tigers coach Chris Jackson said he won’t hold Garland back. But Wood says it should work.

The trade reunites Garland with the core of the Shamrocks which won the 2010 provincial intermediate-A championship.

“We were disappointed not to get Garland in the draft,” Wood said. “He’s not going to dominate like he does at Jr. B, but he’s a good two-way player who can score and check, which fits right into coach Smeltzer’s style.”

Garland played his first game as a Shamrock on Saturday (June 16), a 17-16 barn-burner win over the Langley Thunder.

“I was having trouble keeping up, just playing straight defence,” Garland said. “That’s what I played for Nanaimo, and it just goes to show you the difference from junior B and A, if I have 60 points in 11 games (with the Tigers).”

The Shamrocks host the Coquitlam Adanacs, 5 p.m. on Saturday at Bear Mountain Arena.



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