The Washington Stealth Champion’s Cup Tour began last weekend as the Cup made its way north of the border to Vancouver Island in British Columbia. In a jam-packed first weekend of its tour, the Cup appeared in Victoria, B.C., and Nanaimo, B.C., to visit Stealth players taking part in Western Lacrosse Association action.
On Friday morning, the Cup started off heading north by car, traveling across the Canadian border with Stealth General Manager Doug Locker, Director of Operations Brad Hock and Director of Communications Michael Kennett. After a photo shoot at Peace Arch Park, the Cup jumped on a ferry to head to Vancouver Island.
Once on the Island, the Cup was reunited with Stealth Head Coach Chris Hall for the first time since the Stealth won the National Lacrosse League title on May 15. They met at Bear Mountain Arena, where the Cup and members of the Stealth were recognized prior to the Western Lacrosse Association game between the Victoria Shamrocks and Nanaimo Timbermen. The Stealth were well represented in the game, with Rhys Duch, Kory Kowalyk and Rhys Jones suiting up for the hometown Shamrocks and Lewis Ratcliff and Chris O’Dougherty playing for Nanaimo and their new head coach, Art Webster, who is an assistant coach for the Stealth.
Nearly 3,000 fans were in attendance to watch the Shamrocks beat Nanaimo 15-10. Duch finished with four goals and two assists for the Shamrocks, while Ratcliff recorded three goals and four assists for the Timbermen. Most of the crowd made their way to the lobby during the intermissions to take a gander at the NLL’s prized possession. Numerous young Canadian lacrosse players got their pictures taken with the Cup, saying that they hoped to have their pictures with it again in the future as winners of the trophy, playing for the Stealth.
The Cup would head to its second WLA game of the weekend on Sunday, but first it was time to see the world-renowned beauty of Victoria. The Cup met up with Championship game MVP Lewis Ratcliff at beautiful Victoria Harbor and took in the sights of the B.C. Parliament building, the breathtaking views from Beacon Hill and a carriage ride in the city.
Once Sunday arrived, it was time to head north to Nanaimo to watch some more WLA action between the Timbermen and the Maple Ridge Burrards. The fans in attendance gave a rousing ovation to the members of the Stealth playing in the game during a pregame ceremony. Along with Ratcliff, O’Dougherty and Webster, Burrards players Joel Dalgarno, Tyler Codron and Sam Cook were recognized for their tremendous NLL season. In a defensive battle, Nanaimo escaped with a 4-3 win. Ratcliff led the Timbermen with a goal and two assists.
On Monday, it was time to say good-bye to Vancouver Island. After covering 180 miles from its new home in Everett, Wash., to Nanaimo, B.C., the Cup boarded the ferry and started its journey home.
The Cup will return to Canada for it’s next tour stop, staying on the main land and heading to the legendary floor at Queens Park Arena in New Westminster, B.C. That trip will take place on June 10 as the New Westminster Salmonbellies take on Maple Ridge.