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Longtime Victoria Shamrocks trainer gets Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame nod

Jim Cain began his tenure with the Shamrocks in 1979 and won seven Mann Cups
Longtime Victoria Shamrocks trainer Jim Cain with former ‘Rock Marty O’Neill after one of Cain’s seven Mann Cup victories. The popular trainer will be inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame this fall. (Photo submitted by Jim Cain).

When Jim Cain received word that he was bound for the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, the longtime Victoria Shamrocks trainer broke down.

“It means everything to me for my career with the Shamrocks,” he said, noting that he was waiting at a store when he heard the good news. “I’m glad I was sitting down…I was very emotional.”

Cain began his career with the Shamrocks in 1978, winning the first of what would be seven Mann Cups in his second season with the club. He quickly endeared himself to the team’s players, earning the nickname “Downtown” from Bob Cool for his eagerness to join the guys for a drink or two downtown.

“He nicknamed me ‘Downtown’ because I was single and I was going downtown for the ladies and stuff,” he laughed. “And it stuck all these years. Here I am married with kids and grandkids, and I’m still ‘Downtown’.”

While the highlights from his time behind the ‘Rocks’ bench are numerous, a few do stand above the rest.

Of all the championship teams he was a part of, Cain has particularly fond memories of the 1983 team because of the unexpected nature of their success.

“As I always say, we were kind of a lunch bucket team that wasn’t expected to do anything. We finally put it together in the end but it was sort of a mediocre team by today’s standards and we won the Mann Cup,” he said.

One of his proudest moments came in the last dozen years of his tenure. As Cain says, his job was to keep the players in the game, and one year high-scoring forward Lewis Ratcliff was faced with trying to play through a significant knee injury during the Mann Cup.

“I perfected a tape job that I’d never done before…I put strips on him and it took me almost 45 minutes to tape him every night. He played the whole series. I was quite proud of what I did,” Cain said.

Ratcliff is far from the only player to play through an injury in the rough and tumble sport, and Cain says the toughest pound for pound player that he ever saw was also one of the Shamrocks’ best in Kevin Alexander.

“I watched pretty much all 800 of his goals go in and watched him get beaten every night with a wood stick. For a 175-pound man, he was the toughest,” he said.

Cain left the club after its 2015 Mann Cup win and he says that while it was tough to leave the team, he’s also taken advantage of the opportunity to spend more time with family.

He will be officially inducted on Nov. 18 in New Westminster.

“I was thinking about my hall of fame speech the other day and I started naming out a few people from the different decades and I was up to 60 people already. I can’t do that, I’ve got to trim that down somehow,” he laughed.

Twitter: @joelgazette