Kevin Alexander isn’t one to brag about his exploits on the lacrosse floor, despite his many accomplishments.
Part of that may be due to the era in which he played for the Victoria Shamrocks, a time when players hammered each other with wooden sticks, played both offence and defence and weren’t above dropping the gloves to make a point. And most had to get up for work the next day.
Alexander’s other-worldly scoring prowess helped the ’Rocks win Mann Cup national titles in 1979 and 1983 and made him a frequent target of crunching hits by opponents. His time with the Shamrocks (1979-86) comes into focus Friday (June 15) when, as part of the Alumni Night, his number 26 will be retired and hoisted to the rafters at The Q Centre in Colwood. He joins Whitey Severson and Ranjit Dillon as the only players to receive such an honour.
Being part of a storied lacrosse club, and reaching for goals together as teammates was as much a highlight as setting Western Lacrosse Association scoring records, said Alexander, a hall of famer and current assistant coach with the pro National Lacrosse League’s Vancouver Stealth.
“There were special moments, when you have the winning season, they stand out,” the 62 year old said. “When you’re playing a team sport, it’s always about what the guys are doing together and how everyone is getting along.”
While he only knew of Severson by reputation and post-career, he was a teammate at the end of Dillon’s career and was pleased to see the WLA veteran win a Mann Cup in 1979 and later honoured with his number retired.
Walt Christianson played four years with Alexander and has been with the Shamrocks organization since 1981, most recently as president of the club’s Alumni Association. Having played with, watched and coached hundreds of players in that time, Christianson called him “probably the best shooter that I’ve ever seen.”
Not only were Alexander’s strong backhand shots – from both sides of his body – legendary and catching opponents off guard, his accuracy was incredible, Christianson said. He described a practise exercise Alexander would regularly do at Pearkes Arena, standing a distance away and trying to put the ball through the tiny hole in the glass through which referees talk to scorekeepers.
“He would [get it through] pretty regularly,” Christianson said.
Bleeding Green … Fans are invited to partake in an Alumni Night tailgate party in The Q Centre parking lot starting at 6 p.m. Alexander will participate in the opening faceoff for the Shamrocks-Maple Ridge Burrards game at 7:30 p.m., then the jersey raising will happen during the first intermission. The second break will see the introduction of members of the 1983 Mann Cup-winning team.