By Dallas Hancox and Ian McNaughton
The Victoria Shamrocks are a team that comes from a long history of success on the floor which makes them one of the most exceptional teams in the Western Lacrosse Association (WLA). Off the floor the Shamrocks pride themselves on being a community-based team which supports and is loyally supported by the Greater Victoria region. So, when local kids such as Jesse King, Matt Yager, and Chris Wardle grow up and get to play for the Shamrocks, it’s a big deal.
King, this year’s Assistant Captain, was born and raised in Victoria and was a key part of the Shamrocks 2015 Mann Cup Championship. After missing the 2017 season as a result of an injury in the 2016 WLA playoffs, he’s happy to get back with the Shamrocks. He touched base on his return earlier in the year. He said: “Having the ability to play in front of my friends and family is something I cherish very much.”
Yager, from Brentwood Bay, is the team Captain who many would consider a core member of the Shamrocks team and organization. Yager is also an assistant coach for the Shamrocks Junior A and B teams. When the Shamrocks complete their practice, you will usually find ‘Coach’ Yager on the floor, sharing his knowledge and wisdom with the young Junior players who aspire to be where he is today.
Wardle is in his 5th season playing for the Shamrocks. He is a former Jr. Shamrocks player. In 2016, he received the WLA’s Unsung Hero award. The Victoria native might be considered undersized at 6 feet and 175 pounds, but he has a strong will and determination that motivates his team and the city that has his back.
If you get the chance to ask a Shamrocks player from Victoria about the experience of playing for their hometown team, they would likely go into great detail about the honour it is to play with the Shamrocks logo on their chest. Even more so, they would probably go into greater detail about the privilege of playing in front of lacrosse’s most loyal fans, the importance of their own community involvement, and the pleasure of giving back to a community that has supported the team for nearly 70 years