Thomas Vaesen of the Nanaimo Timbermen takes on a Victoria Shamrocks player during a BCJALL game at the Cowichan Arena in 2019. (Citizen file)

Thomas Vaesen of the Nanaimo Timbermen takes on a Victoria Shamrocks player during a BCJALL game at the Cowichan Arena in 2019. (Citizen file)

Cowichan’s Vaesen vies for Mann Cup victory

Cowichan Thunder lacrosse product Thomas Vaesen is suiting up for another Thunder team to compete for the Mann Cup at this year’s Senior A National Lacrosse Championships.

Vaesen is on the Western Lacrosse Association champion Langley Thunder team that is facing off in a best-of-seven series against the defending champion Peterborough Lakers in Peterborough, Ontario Sept. 8-17.

After the first three games, Langley held the advantage, winning two games to one in the best of seven set.

Results of the pivotal Game 4 were unavailable by press time, though the game was played Wednesday night.

“This is both my first year in the WLA, and first Mann Cup. Pretty crazy that I’m able to be a part of a team competing for the Mann in my rookie year while some guys go their whole career without an opportunity like this,” Vaesen said from Ontario.

Vaesen, whose hometown is Shawnigan Lake, combined for 90 goals in his last two seasons with the jr. A Nanaimo Timbermen before being drafted by Langley in 2021.

This year has been tricky for Vaesen as he’s had to battle injuries.

“It’s tough to come into a new team trying to find your footing while you’re also dealing with injury. Thankfully, we’ve got an incredible group of guys, great staff, and some amazing people working behind the scenes that made it much easier to get comfortable,” he said. “I’m now feeling healthy and ready to give everything I’ve got in order to bring the Mann Cup back to the West Coast.”

Vaesen said he’s looking forward to the overall experience.

“This is an opportunity that not everyone gets to experience, and could be a once in a lifetime chance, so I’m really just looking to get as much as possible out of the whole thing,” he said. “Considering this is some of the highest level of box lacrosse in the world with some of the best players to ever play the game, there is so much to take away and learn regardless of the outcome.”

At least he’ll be learning from the best of the best.

“Playing not only the defending champs, but the champs of the last three Mann Cups in a row is a bit intimidating,” he admitted. “They’ve got a strong team all around, but so do we. We’ve been trying to focus less on our opponent and more on ourselves. We know that when we play to our potential, we’re capable of beating anyone; so that’s our mentality coming into game one. We expect a hard battle that could very well go the distance, but as long as everyone plays their roles we know we’re capable of coming out on top.”

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