Flames player picked up by Kamloops for nationals

Chris Pond was given a second chance to go to the Founders Cup after his team, the South Okanagan Flames' season ended.

A disappointing end to his lacrosse team’s season didn’t mark the end of the road for the South Okanagan Flames’ Chris Pond.

Two weeks ago, the junior B team’s playoff hopes were crushed when they were forced to forfeit the final match of a three-game series to the Kamloops Venom due to a lack of players. However, Pond was asked to join the Venom when they go to Six Nations, Ont. to take part in the Founders Cup tournament, squaring off against the top junior B lacrosse teams in Canada.

“They asked me and right away I said yes. I was not going to miss this chance to go over there,” said Pond. “I was really excited because they’re a very strong team.

“I really want to make a name for myself,” he added. “This is probably the only time that I’ll be able to go. I want to get some good experience and a couple of new buddies out of it.”

Pond, a 225-pound, left-handed player, brings a new dynamic to the game, both due to his size and his dominant hand.

“When he goes to the net, he gains a lot of attention and it sometimes takes two or three players to take him down. That opens up his teammates,” said Tony Ramsay, one of the head coaches for the Flames.

While the Flames had issues with commitment from some of their players, Pond’s priorities were never in doubt, said Ramsay.

“Times where I had seven or eight players showing for practice, Chris was always one of them,” he said.

While Ramsay could always count on Pond’s commitment, his new coaches with the Venom will be counting on his skills during the five-day tournament. As well as leadership and offense, Al Forster, one of the Venom’s head coaches, said they would be counting on his endurance.

“Chris, with his size, should be able to take the pounding of the grueling week thats going to happen,” said Forster.

While Pond said he already knows a number of the Kamloops players, he still needs to show his new team his worth.

“I definitly have to earn their respect off the first game,” he said, pointing out the Venom worked to get to the championship all year, whereas he was just selected. “I do have a lot to prove and I just hope I can do it.”

The Founders Cup will be held from Aug. 14 to 19 in the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena at Six Nations of the Grand River Territory.