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Victoria Shamrocks build on strong tradition at WLA draft

The Western Lacrosse Association draft was very much a generational and, even more so, an emotional evening for the Victoria Shamrocks, who continued to build on their traditions.


The Western Lacrosse Association draft was very much a generational and, even more so, an emotional evening for the Victoria Shamrocks, who continued to build on their traditions.

General manager Chris Welch described it as an impassioned and poignant night for the team executive as it gathered in the organization’s Langford office and managed to call the names of Dallas Wade and Matt Hamilton in the third and fourth rounds.

Wade is the son of Shamrocks assistant manager Rod Wade and Hamilton is the son of former Shamrocks standout John Hamilton and nephew of Grant Hamilton, who shared the league playoff MVP award with Chris Prat in 1996. John Hamilton was also recently added as an assistant coach with the Senior Shamrocks.

“For locals, we got two of the best — two of the greatest guys; most intelligent lacrosse players; most coachable lacrosse players that you can find in Dallas and Matt,” said Welch. “They are quality individuals who will be so proud to pull on the green and white and wear it with pride for years to come.

“We’re thrilled,” added Welch. “Dallas has grown up around this team and he’s such a versatile, intelligent, hard-working player and Matt comes from outstanding bloodlines with his father John and his uncle Grant, who together with John, were such an awesome force for us years ago.”

Welch made Wade the 21st overall selection in Round 3 and nabbed Hamilton 28th in Round 4, with both Rod Wade and John Hamilton sitting nervously at the draft table.

“It was an absolute thrill for me to draft both those guys with their dads sitting at the table. It was a memorable night, maybe as memorable as 2014 draft when we stole Jesse King and Chris Wardle out of that draft,” said Welch.

“Grabbing the two Victoria kids with their dads at the table was a very special moment and grabbing the [Evan] Messenger, [Cody] Nass combo was an intriguing moment as well.”

Messenger was the team’s first pick, No. 7 overall in Round 1. Nass, a teammate of Messenger’s with the Delta Jr. Islanders, dropped down to Round 4 where the Shamrocks nabbed him at 34th overall.

“We thought, as a group, if Dallas was there at pick 21 we would take him,” said his dad Rod Wade. “It’s always tough for me, I’m not the type of person who goes out of my way to pump my own kids’ tires.

“So I just sat back and waited, more nervously, hoping he wouldn’t go somewhere else. Then when he was available at 21 it was unanimous with the group that they would go that way, so it was a proud moment, for sure.

“It was really special for John, too, maybe more so. He’s been a part of the Shamrocks family for a lot longer than I have, winning multiple Mann Cups. Having a chance to be there when his son was drafted is a pretty special moment,” added Wade, who had a chance to talk to his son shortly afterward.

“Dallas was over the moon. I talked to him right after and he was worried about it coming in. Then it becomes reality that his hometown team, a team that he’s dreamed about playing for, actually drafts him. That was surreal for him.

“He was on cloud 9, but he knows that just getting drafted doesn’t mean he’s on the team. He knows the work he has to do to be a solid player for us for years to come. But at the same time, I can tell you it was a party atmosphere at Tusculum College, Tennessee, last night,” Wade added with a chuckle.

Tusculum is where Dallas and his cousin, Nate Wade, currently play. Nate was selected second overall by the Nanaimo Timbermen, which was upsetting for the Shamrocks crew.

“I had mixed emotions because we saw Nate go to Nanaimo,” Rod Wade said of watching his nephew head up-Island.

“That killed me inside to see him go there, but I’m cheering for him personally.”