Story and Images by Erich Eichhorn
January 23rd, 2016 Langford, BC (ISN) – The Victoria Shamrocks and local lacrosse fans alike celebrated together the accolades of the Shamrocks 2015 WLA season on a Shamrocks Mann Cup Fan Appreciation Day that also saw forward Jesse King accept his Western Lacrosse Association first team all-star award, and two team-honored awards.
Head Coach Bob Heyes presents Jesse King with the WLA first team allstar award Satruday afternoon – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
A Victoria native, a younger King looked to future aspirations as a professional hockey player, but as season’s ice would disappear from local rinks King perhaps couldn’t shake that feeling of being at the rink.
When asked how he ended up trading a hockey blade for a pocket and sneakers instead of skates, the revelation wasn’t a surprise. “ I started playing hockey before any other sport like a lot of Canadian kids, tried playing a little baseball, and my friends were joking around and making fun of me because they were all playing lacrosse and I wasn’t, so being young and impressionable…I guess started playing lacrosse,” King would confide. Peer pressure being as cruel as it can be at a young age, was definitely a fortuitive guiding light for King and the Mann Cup Champion Victoria Shamrocks.
Shamrock teammates, executive and Rocky the Raccon pose with the Mann Cup during a Fan Appreciation Day and award presentation – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
King would cut his junior lacrosse teeth playing in the Juan de Fuca Lacrosse league, and then a dominant career with the Junior A Shamrocks. The 6”2”, 205 lb. King would be drafted sixth overall to the Victoria Shamrocks in 2014. It didn’t take long for the twenty three year old hometown product to make his presence felt at Ohio State University, in the WLA, and on his Shamrocks team.
Bob Heyes is all smiles posing with the Mann Cup ( and his championship ring ) – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
When asked of his journey that has taken him to his current, professional career, King would comment,” Playing lacrosse at Claremont instead of doing physical education I got told by Chris MacKay pretty early I needed to work and be as fit as possible. I was really fortunate to have Chris show me the ropes a little bit. I got a rude awakening, and had to sit down and reevalute what I wanted to do and committ. Guys used to show up to the arena, practice and play lacrosse. Now these days, we have to all be in peak physical condition. To play eight months of lacrosse is grueling, it’s non-stop. Your body needs to be physically ready to play eight months of lacrosse. Everyone is bigger, stronger, faster now. I think that is why lacrosse has come so far (recently).”
Victoria native Jesse King holds the Mann Cup. King would recieve three awards on the aftenoon to celebrate his season – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
A graduate of the Ohio State’s lacrosse program, King, playing only in his second year in the WLA, finished seventh in league points scoring 33 goals and 31 assists for 64 points in 16 games. King continued his strong play in the postseason, scoring 13 goals and 19 assists in 11 games between the WLA playoffs and the Mann Cup championship. Recognized by the Minnesota Swarm of the NLL for his play, King recently realized his dream of a professional career after being drafted 3rd overall last September by the Swarm.
Alongside his WLA award, King was also honored with two team awards. King would receive the George Blackstock Memorial award as team MVP, and the inaugural Chris Hall Memorial award as the player voted by his teammates to have the most competitive spirit.
All the hard work amounts to WLA recognition for Shamrocks forward Jesse King – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
When asked what his awards mean to him, King would explain, “ The Mann Cup is the biggest award. It’s an award I, and the Shamrocks, have been striving for for the last ten years now. It’s nice to see your individual work rewarded sometimes, but I’ll remember winning the Mann Cup before winning any individual awards.”
Shamrock teammates, remembering the night they won the WLA Championship, look over a photo of the championship team with mascot Rocky Raccoon – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
King looks forward, as sure as most Shamrocks fans do, of winning another Mann Cup, and a fruitful professional career with and against former teammates he comes across in the WLA and the NLL.
With 11 of the Shamrocks 27 players on the 2015 roster calling Victoria their hometown, it is any easy bet that Victoria is, and will continue to be, a lacrosse talent hotbed for years to come.