Ask head coach Bob Heyes where newcomer Paul Brebber fits into the grand scheme of things for the Victoria Shamrocks this 2016 Western Lacrosse Association season and the honest and open bench boss gives you the straight goods.
“Brebber fits in as being the Swiss army knife — he can play offence, he can play defence and that transition game as well,” said Heyes of the 25-year-old, who was traded to Victoria from the Nanaimo Timbermen for a second-round draft choice in 2018 this off-season.
“He’s a guy that I think will flourish under our system, once he gets used to playing both those positions. He’s also a bigger body and he offers a little bit of that grit. He’s not a guy who is going to drop and fight, but he’s a guy who has been in the league enough and I think he’ll be revitalized coming from Nanaimo.”
And that suits Brebber more than just fine.
“I think I’m going to be that utility guy, wherever the team needs me for that night or game. I’ve definitely played most of my junior career as a transition player and, graduating into senior, Nanaimo had some roster issues where we didn’t have a lot of offensive righties, so I ended up filing that role,” said Brebber.
“I think I did fairly well with that and put up points that, hopefully, will be helpful with this squad and as far as being that transition player, I have a lot of experience playing that through most of my career.”
His numbers were good with his three years with the Timbermen, starting in 2013 in which he had 15 goals and 18 assists and he followed that up with 23 goals and 15 assists in 2014. In the three campaigns, he suited up in 49 games and collected 43 goals and 78 points.
The six-foot-one, 195 pounder, who looks like he’s already in great physical condition, played his university at Bellarmine in Kentucky, where Karsen Leung also attended. He played junior lacrosse in his native Nanaimo, but was traded to the Jr. Shamrocks in 2012 before the Senior Timbermen drafted him into the WLA as a first-rounder.
“I’m excited. I grew up watching the Shamrocks win some Mann Cups. I played my last year of junior here, got drafted back to Nanaimo, but I’ve always respected the organization,” said Brebber. “They obviously have a winning tradition, so it’s exciting to be back wearing green again and I’m excited about getting the season going.”
Brebber requested the trade, living in Victoria and working at CIBC as a financial service representative.
“Initially, we want some balance up front,” Heyes said of Brebber’s future. “Up there with [Rhys] Duch and [Cory] Conway and Ian McShane, who’s returning from Nova Scotia. Defensively, it’ll take Paul a bit to get to know the system.”
Brebber took in his second training camp session with the Shamrocks on Wednesday night.
The team begins the season against his former Timbermen teammates on May 20 at The Q Centre, which should be an interesting evening for him.
“I’ve played lacrosse for 21 years and 20 of them were in Nanaimo. I loved the organization, but with the travel and work I knew it wasn’t going to work out. There was this opening and they made it work for me,” said Brebber.
CLOVER POINTS: A number of Shamrocks’ draft picks are in the running for spots including Taylor Northway, their 14th overall selection from this February; Max Cullen, 21st overall from the Jr. Shamrocks; six-foot-five, 225-pounder Thomas Moffat (30th overall); and Josh Fagan, who was selected two years ago and was a Senior B all-star in Nanaimo in 2015.