Raiders captain has paid his dues

Lacrosse: High River's Carson McCormick awarded C in Junior swan song

By: Remy Greer

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 06:00 am

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The choice was simple.

Veteran defensive stalwart Carson McCormick was named Okotoks Jr. A Raiders captain with Marshall Gibson serving as alternate captain alongside rotating alternates Jordan Getz and Kyle Patterson.

“Carson is a 21-year-old that really exemplifies what the Raiders are all about – determination and hard work,” said Okotoks head coach Andrew McBride. “He never really takes a shift or a night off and that might be from him being one of those good High River boys, they have a lot of character.

“He’s played in a few Minto Cups and you can see the determination he brings. He’s an obvious choice and guys really respond to what he brings on the floor.”

McCormick, a fourth-year Raider, two-time league champion and two-time Minto Cup participant, has certainly paid his dues towards the ultimate leadership responsibility.

“It’s just an honour to lead a team like the Raiders with such a storied history,” McCormick said. “Playing four years here myself, I know the captains before me were all great leaders, great people and it’s an honour to be named after them.

“It’s a little reassuring that I’m doing something right.”

Playing under former captains Barclay Hickey, a no-nonsense physical force on the back-end, and the selfless and versatile Brett Baron, the Raiders’ latest man to wear the ‘C’ has picked up some tips of the trade.

“The way they went out and competed every game and as the captain they expected a lot from the players, but they were always positive and reassuring,” said McCormick, also a defensive stud on the ice with the Calgary Jr. A Mustangs. “They always led by example and with their words and that’s what I try to exemplify, too.”

Lining up almost exclusively in a defensive and transition role, the High River native makes his living with the less than glamorous grunt work of stick checks, loose ball collections and the odd collision along the boards.

The type of consistent hustle plays teammates notice.

“Carson has five years of Junior A hockey experience and four years of Junior A lacrosse experience. He knows what’s going on, he knows how to rep a team,” said Gibson. “He keeps everyone pretty tight. Carson is a more vocal guy and definitely keeps everyone in line.”

Also in his fourth season with Raider nation, Gibson is transitioning into an offensive role in 2014 and adding a boisterous edge to his leadership on the front-gate.

“When I was on the back-end I was more of a lead by example guy, I tried to put my nose down and grab loose balls,” Gibson said. “Moving to the front-end, I’ve tried to adopt more of a vocal role, just to give the offence some talk because it’s usually the defence getting talk from the leaders.”

Having a permanent captain on both ends of the floor means the team won’t have many situations without one of the leaders nearby.

“It’s great having a leader on the floor at all times,” McCormick said. “Marshall and I get along very well, we’ve played together the same amount of time. He and I really gel together.

“We’re going to be a pretty good leadership group.”

Banister traded

As the Raiders officially anointed its new leadership group, one of the most tenured members of the organization was traded out of province.

Fourth-year Raider and Okotokian Raymond Banister is the latest member of the Coquitlam Jr. A Adanacs after being moved to the five-time defending British Columbia Jr. A League champions for future considerations.

Akin to an earlier transaction sending top Okotoks sniper Holden Cattoni to Peterborough, the trade allows Banister an opportunity to play a higher level of lacrosse and contend for a Minto Cup. The Adanacs have been a fixture at the national Jr. A championships and last won the tournament in 2010.

For the Raiders, Banister’s departure leaves a big hole to fill on the back-end.

“A player like Ray is important on any team he’s going to be on, he just shores up your line that much more,” McCormick said. “We do have guys capable of filing his spot, absolutely, but just in terms of a personality guy, he’s a guy any team would be lucky to have.”

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