Local lacrosse player, Walker Stevenson’s experience in scoring the golden goal for the Junior Calgary Roughnecks midget squad at the Junior NLL Championship on Aug. 27 still makes his eyes glow. “It was very exciting to score and a lot of thrill,” he said. Stevenson scored the winning goal 7-5 win over the reigning champion Toronto Rock at the tournament in Oakville, Ont.
In the moments before scoring the winning goal Stevenson was playing off-ball defense at the top of the twenty-four when he noticed the ball popped out of the defender’s stick and bounce once. He saw his golden opportunity, “I was like ‘there it is!’ and I grabbed it and sprinted just as hard as I could, pulled a fake on the goalie, threw it in the 5 hole and scored the goal!” Excitement still sparkled in his words as he described the experience.
While the 16-year-old H.J. Cody School student has had a short lacrosse career of three years, he is embracing the new sport. Skills he says he has transposed from his hockey career to lacrosse are his vision and hand-eye co-ordination and the physicality of learning to hit or be hit. In talking about his switch from hockey to lacrosse he said “In hockey I didn’t have my best seasons and lacrosse I just felt it was more my thing. It just got more fun”
Of his trip to Oakville, Ontario for the Junior Roughneck’s first time participating in the Junior NLL Championship game, he said he was excited to play with the Toronto Rock, the first Canadian franchise in the NLL, practises. “Just to play there was really cool, really exciting,” he said.
With only about a month to prepare for the game during a couple practices a week, Stevenson appreciated the the opportunity to bond with teammates while practising before their big win.
Stevenson and his team showed their ability to triumph with 11-4, 10-6 and 13-2 wins during a round robin before losing 6-5 to the Rochester Knighthawks in the semifinals. However, the Roughnecks rallied and Stevenson’s goal gave them the championship with a 7-5 final victory over the Toronto Rock.
The gold-medal winning Roughnecks team includes: Andrew O’Blenes, Ashton Wilson, Brydon Robichaud, Colby Anderson, David Bevis, Davis Dame, Haytham Drissi, Hunter Lalonde, Jack Bruzell-Friesz, Jacob Sieppert, Marshall Bloomfield, Nathan Lam, Nicholas Drennan, Nolan Oakey, Riley Isaacs, Skylar Running Rabbit, Cole Pickell, Walker Stevenson and Zack Villeneuve.