The recent news of the possible end of the Nanaimo Timbermen is not a surprise in this era of Senior A Canadian lacrosse. In recent years, teams that have come to pass range from 1-year deals like that in Windsor or the hopeful Barrie Lakeshore organization that decided the unmonitored rules, spending and regulations of Major Lacrosse Series were more competition than they could endure. Movement from Ajax to Oakville signaled the end of a 4-year run for the start-up Ajax Rock team, the newest Canadian Senior A team in the loop. Movement is nothing new.
Richmond relocated to Burnaby in 1990 and the Burrards left historic Kerrisdale arena for a newer suburbia of Maple Ridge. Even Shamrock Nation switched postal codes in 2002 when the Save On center replaced Victoriaâ€™s lacrosse shrine as the new â€œBarn on Blanshardâ€ and the Rocks headed out to the Westshore of Vancouver Island to tap that uprising family based part community.
Economic shifts and changing demographics will uproot an amateur team now and then. Times change and whatâ€™s in fashion can fade away, sometimes never to return. Such was the case for the Royal Cities famed Victoria Bates Menâ€™s fast pitch team that was just down the road from Memorial Arena at Royal Athletic Park. The Bates were the more popular of the two summer sports for the best part of the 70s, 80s and into the 90s when Victoria hosted the 1997 International Softball Championships. After that jammed full event, menâ€™s softball died a swift death, disappearing later in the 90s forever. Menâ€™s fastpitch held the attention of Victoriaâ€™s sports scene over the course of 25 years while the Jr. A Cougars, UVIC Vikings basketball and Shamrocks were popular in streaks of winning and to their hard core fans.
Nanaimo is a working class town made for the rough and tumble sport of lacrosse. Nanaimo has a long history with the sport dating back to the 50s and many hard fought contests with their southern rivals from Victoria. Sadly, lacrosse great Pee Wee Bradshaw died in 1959 when returning from one of those matchups. The driver of the car fell asleep at the wheel and went off the road while driving over the Malahat mountain range returning from a game, emphasizing the risk of travel between the two cities.