A young lacrosse talent is making waves in the local and national scene after an impressive year in Manitoba’s premier lacrosse league.
Duncan Thomson was awarded the Dave Stekler Award, named after a former lacrosse player from Elmwood who died in 2011, which is given to the top scorer in the Manitoba Junior B Lacrosse League.
"(Stekler) was very, very good," said Thomson, who met Stekler once before his passing. "The guy was an absolutely phenomenal person. I have heard nothing but extremely high praise for him."
Thomson, 18, scored 38 times in 11 games for his Manitoba Gyphons team to earn the nod.
"It’s a really, really competitive league," said Thomson. "It was very competitive team, especially this year. Prior to this season we had won the last four or five years in a row, but this year other teams picked up their game. It was an unbelievably competitive year."
Thomson got into the sport for the "challenge" after growing up playing hockey and soccer.
"I’m a bigger kid, so I figured I’d be good at a physical kind of sport," he said. "I think I saw it on SportsCentre, and I wanted to play lacrosse so badly."
Thomson credits North Kildonan resident Keith McLennan, his longtime coach and Manitoba Lacrosse Hall of Famer, for his success in the sport.
"He has been my biggest inspiration all my life," said Thomson. "I have completely modelled my game after him, I want to do everything like him."
"Duncan is a lot like myself," McLennan said. "He’s got great hands, great skills, he’s a great goal-scorer and a solid team guy. He puts everything into it, he never stops."
Thomson has aspirations of becoming a lawyer and is attending the University of Winnipeg, pursuing that dream. If the right opportunity came his way to play at a higher level, he wouldn’t hesitate, although he would like to complete law school first.
"Education is a top priority in my family," he said. "I’ve always prided myself on my education, I’ve always wanted to be the best person I can possibly be. Lacrosse is a big part of my life, I’ve been playing it since I was eight, but school has always been No. 1."
"Some of the top guys playing in the NLL and stuff like that are still playing at 38, 39 years of age. So if I was to get into a top tier like that at say, 24, that’s still pretty young."
For now, Thomson is looking forward to the Founders Cup, a national tournament for the top lacrosse players and teams in Canada, and is hoping to impress there and lead his Manitoba Blizzard to national glory.
"It’s the national tournament and they are the provincial team," said Thomson. "They have also expressed their interest for me to play on their team full-time next year, so I am hoping to do that as well.
"I want to show off my skills, there are going to be a lot of scouts there. I just want to do the best that I can and make an impression."