Story and Photos by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)
September 6, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – On the eve of the 2013 Mann Cup Finals, ISN’s Kasey Eriksen went behind the scenes of the Victoria Shamrocks to talk with long-time trainer Jim Cain and provide some insight into the man, who for the past 35 years, has quietly looked after the boys in green.
61-year old Jim Cain is not only the supervisor for the City of Victoria, and has been for 40 years, but he is also the head trainer for the Victoria Shamrocks and has held that position for the past thirty-five seasons, which is just amazing in anyone’s book.
We were hard pressed to find anyone else who has been in the field so long, and here he was, right here in our own backyard. We are honored to have such a dedicated man like Jim Cain as a huge part of our own Shamrock family.
Jim has a daughter named Kristen and has also helped raise a special needs child by the name of Lyndsay, which led him to helping out with the Special Olympics for a number of years. Being a part of those kids’ lives and seeing them win medals has been such an amazing part of Jim’s life. Watching kids on all levels succeed in what they are striving for, and being a part of it, has been such a great honor for him.
Jim began his reign with the Shamrocks in 1978, but he has also won a couple of Canadian Field Championships with Victoria Seaspray over the years and was Head Trainer for the Canadian Field Lacrosse Team. He also won the silver medal in Perth Australia and was involved in hockey for 15 years in an old commercial league.
One might ask the question, why? Why would a man want to dedicate so many years of his life to the Victoria Shamrocks? And Jim’s answer to that would be, “Because I love it and I enjoy what I do. I love my job, I love lacrosse, and it’s been such a wonderful experience. I’ve met many great people over the years and I have learned a lot about myself at the same time. The players are like my own kids and I feel truly blessed to have been a part of their lives. I’m like a mentor to them and they are comfortable talking to me and there is no better feeling than that. I am very happy in my life.”
Shamrocks player Dan MacRae took the time to comment and here is what he had to say: “Jimmy, or as myself and the rest of the boys come to know him as, ‘Down Town’, is one of those guys you think of when you reflect on all the great people you have a chance to meet through our amazing sport of lacrosse. He has dedicated 35 years of his life to lacrosse and to the Shamrock franchise. It’s hard to put that into perspective because most of the guys on the team, with the exception of Nolan Heavenor [laughing], have not even been alive that long.”
“His dedication and passion for the sport, and for everyone who has ever put on the Green and White is immeasurable” added MacRae. “He surrounds himself with a great staff that are there to do whatever is needed at the drop of a hat, but he is more than just a trainer to us. DT is always there asking how you are doing, not just on the floor, but off of it as well. You can tell he has a genuine interest in making sure all of his players are not only healthy, but happy. I know I am proud to call him a friend.”
Jim attended all the Shamrocks games as a young boy, going with his Dad, and then he got involved in hockey for many years. After that he was led into the direction of lacrosse when the Shamrocks asked him to join the team. The rest is history, and what a thrilling invite. That was an offer that couldn’t be refused.
This 2013 Shamrock season will be Jim’s 13th Mann Cup Series, if you can believe that. He won 6 out here in the West and lost 6 back East. Jim is proud to flaunt 6 Mann Cup rings, and who wouldn’t be? Those rings in Jim’s possession are a Canadian record for a trainer in Lacrosse, an impressive accomplishment.
Jim has won countless league and playoff series trophies with the Shamrocks and was inducted into the Shamrocks Hall of Fame in 2010. The question remains, Victoria Sports Hall of Fame…what the heck are you waiting for?
He has taken countless First Aid and Sports Medicine courses through UVic, Camosun College, and Sport BC over the years, as well as many updated courses like drug doping and taping, and has 6 assistants that help him every day with all the training duties.
“They work very hard in the background,” says Jim. “Cliff Butt has been with me since day one, he’s my assistant, as well as Rod Tytgat, Delbert Whynot, Rocket Barber, Bob Wray, and Jeremy Dennett. They all look after all the equipment needs and the locker room chores.”
Giving back to the sporting community, and to the island, is just a passion of Jim’s. It’s a part of his life and a part of who he is. A guy with 45 plus years of volunteering deserves to be patted on the back and acknowledged by those he has touched throughout the years.
“I am not emotional man, per say,” says Jim, “but it’s hard not to get emotional when I look back on my career.” Jim has seen boys grow into men, and then go on to have children of their own; coaching guys who were kids, who now have kids. Jim is happy with just being a part of it and modestly and quietly lingering in the background, observing his team from the bench. Jim says that that is what fuels him every day; mentoring the players, being there for them when they need him, and to be the best he can be in life.