Although planning for the next season starts the day after the last season, January is the perfect time to look at the year ahead and get ready for the Home Opener in May. Back this month, Shamrocks’ Head Coach Bob Heyes, Captain Matt Yager, and top goal scorer Rhys Duch talk about their plans for 2019.
As the weather gets colder and thoughts turn to Christmas parties and time off work with family, Shamrocks’ Head Coach Bob Heyes, Captain Matt Yager and top goal scorer, Rhys Duch, talk about what the holidays mean to the.
Bob Heyes: “The last few years we have taken in a play at Chemainus Theatre— which I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy at the time— but, now look forward to every year. We rotate having a big Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve. Then Christmas morning is visiting family around Victoria and upisland. It is always about family with lots of storytelling, memories, and great food. I also look forward to the World Junior Hockey Tournament starting on Boxing Day; maybe Santa Claus will find me a couple of tickets for a game in Victoria this year!”
Shamrocks fans know what they like—even when it comes to their hats, hoodies, and tees! Cathy Kozina, Fan Experience Coordinator with the club, knows that better than anyone.
“The club definitely has very high standards,” said Kozina. “So, it’s important to maintain that standard of quality through every interaction a fan might have with the Shamrocks; and that includes working with partners who can help us design and produce quality merchandise.”
Technology and tradition aren’t usually two concepts that go hand-in-hand; but, when it comes to the Victoria Shamrocks, both ideas are critically important to the team’s front office operations.
“We have an amazing fan base that covers almost every demographic,” says Gareth Gilson, Fan Experience Manager with the club. “Because of that, we have to provide face-toface, telephone, and online services to our fans who expect it.”
The Victoria Shamrocks are a franchise that is dedicated to healthy living with a focus nutrition and proper diet. That dedication goes far beyond the action fans actually see on the court: that is, the lifestyle choices Shamrock players make every day and the positive impact their choices have on how they perform. This past Spring, the Shamrocks teamed up with Subway and South Vancouver Island School Districts to launch the ‘Commit to Fit’ program.
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.”
Sports fans already know how excited they can get when they attend a live lacrosse game at the Q Centre. What they don’t see, however, is all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to make these games possible. That’s where Michelle Evans comes in. This is her second season as the Game Day Manager for the Victoria Shamrocks.
Victoria Shamrocks’ Forward Rhys Duch is all about giving back to his community. This year will be his 3rd time hosting the Shamrocks’ Annual Kids Spring Break Camp which runs from March 27-29 at the Eagle Ridge Arena. The spring break camp gives kids 7-14 the opportunity to heighten their skills, have fun and play with Victoria Shamrocks players in this 3-day camp along with an exclusive Victoria Shamrocks pinnie.
In 2017, Victoria Shamrocks defender Ben McCullough won the ‘Most Popular Player Award’ as voted by the fans. He started playing lacrosse at the age of 10. McCullough says, “I have so much passion for the game. I’ve loved it ever since I started playing.”
Lacrosse was Canada’s most popular sport before ice hockey came along. In the 1630s, French Jesuit missionaries working in the St. Lawrence Valley saw lacrosse being played by the Native American Indians. Jean de Brébeuf wrote about the game being played by the Huron Indians in 1636 and it was he who named the game ‘lacrosse’. The first recorded match was between the Anglophones and Mohawk First Nations on August 29, 1844.
The deep roots lacrosse has in Canadian history were showcased in 1994 when it became Canada’s official summer sport.