Raider graduates passing the torch
Lacrosse: Key members moving on from Okotoks' junior ranks
Wednesday, Aug 06, 2014 01:23 pm
All good things must come to an end.
The Okotoks Jr. Raiders’ premature playoff exit closed the chapter on the distinguished careers of six key cogs to the Jr. A lacrosse team over the last several years.
“It’s one of those things you hate to see,” said Raiders captain Carson McCormick. “It’s looming in your future and you just hope to postpone it as long as you can and when it comes it’s hard to comprehend, you don’t quite realized that you’re done lacrosse or your Junior career.”
The High River skipper packed a lifetime of memories into his short four-year career with Okotoks. He was on board for Okotoks’ championship seasons and Minto Cup appearances in 2011 and 2013, the latter he shared with younger brother and rising star Kade.
“Probably I’ll look back on the success the Raiders have had in the past four years,” said McCormick, who’s off to the University of Lethbridge.
“We won twice and came second twice and every year we seem to be in contention and it just goes to show what kind of organization the Raiders are, being able to do that with all the turnover we had last year, all the guys we lose every year.”
McCormick’s four full years in the Raiders red was the exception to the rule amongst the graduates.
Curtis McMullen rejoined his teammates for the stretch run in 2014, fellow transition/defender Kyle Patterson toiled in Jr. B before making the big club in his Junior swan song, Mark Mitchell and Dylan Bachmeier split time in Jr. A and B, while Duston Doudelet recently joined the club from British Columbia.
Change was the order of the day for the 2014 version of the Raiders.
Thirteen new players donned the uniform for a first time with McCormick earning the privilege of wearing the C for the rookie-laden Raider Nation.
“I would call it a learning experience being around guys four, five years younger than me and being in a position where I had to show them the ropes,” McCormick said.
“Learning how to talk to guys like that and get my message through.”
Age difference aside, communication breakdowns were not an issue for the red-and-white from the veterans down to the fresh-faced rookies.
“Carson McCormick, our captain, what a born leader and a really good human being. He really set the bar high for kids coming up in the future,” said Raiders bench boss Andrew McBride, who captains the NLL’s Calgary Roughnecks. “These guys provide such great leadership, they really leave a legacy.
“They’re going to continue in the game of lacrosse. That’s something we take a lot of pride in coaching is helping the kids grow and being able to move forward.
“I know a lot of them will move forward.”
DeWinton netminder Dylan Bachmeier listed the 2013 provincial championship and Okotoks’ historic exhibition victory over the Port Coquitlam Saints amongst his best moments of five years worth of Jr. box lacrosse, the last of two with the Raiders.
“It’s the best organization I’ve ever been a part of in any sport, any league,” said an emotional Bachmeier following his last Jr. game. “Best ownership, coaching, best teammates. It’s just a family.
“I don’t regret a single second I spent here. It didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to, but it wouldn’t change a thing. I will hold memories I’ve got with this team for the rest of my life.”