Victoria Shamrocks general manager Chris Welch is breathing a bit of a sigh of relief after getting a deal done to keep the Western Lacrosse Association club’s two first team all-stars and a key defenceman in the green-and-white for another year.
Mann Cup most valuable player Cory Small, fellow WLA all-star Jesse King and defender Tyler Burton are the first three signings for the defending Canadian champions.
“It’s great to have three of our core players signed at this early stage of the year,” Welch said in a release. “All three of these players played key roles for us last year and will continue to be big contributors going forward.”
Small, 28, was a model of consistency last season, his sixth in the WLA. He won the league’s points race with 33 goals and 79 points in 18 games and chalked up a league-high 40 points in eight WLA playoff games. He later racked up 25 points as the Shamrocks beat the Peterborough Lakers in six games for the Mann Cup.
Instant star King, a 23-year-old former Juan de Fuca lacrosse player, proved his mettle in his first full season in the WLA last year, scoring 31 goals and totaling 64 points in 16 games. He added 18 points in the WLA playoffs and another 14 in the Mann Cup. He earned the respect of his clubmates and the team, winning the club’s George Blackstock Memorial Award as MVP, and the Chris Hall Award for the player with the most competitive spirit.
Burton, 27, returns for his fourth season with the team and is known as a force to be reckoned with on the back end for the Shamrocks, as well as being a top faceoff man.
Tickets for the 2016 season, which gets underway in May, are on sale now. Visit victoriashamrocks.com or call 250-478-ROCK(7625).
– files from Lucas Wilson