Chemainus product Steven Robertson didn’t anticipate becoming better at lacrosse than hockey, never mind being drafted into the Western Lacrosse Association.
Originally, “I thought it would be a good off-season sport for hockey,” said Robertson, 21, a 2015 Chemainus Secondary School graduate.
Hockey has long since fallen by the wayside for him, other than as a casual sport, while he’s continued to play at a high level of lacrosse over the years.
The ultimate for Robertson was having his name called during the recent WLA draft. He was selected 51st overall by the Burnaby Lakers.
Robertson was with some friends Feb. 7 when the big announcement was made.
“They had no idea what was going on – they have no idea about lacrosse,” he chuckled.
“It was a pretty surreal moment. I was watching the draft on my laptop.”
Fame runs in the Robertson family. His sister Heather is a skater with Disney On Ice and was featured in an article in the Courier during October.
Robertson said he was never contacted for a formal interview by the Lakers, but had some email correspondence with the team. The Lakers were especially aware of Robertson since he moved to the Lower Mainland for schooling and to play lacrosse in Richmond.
Two other long-time teammates of Robertson’s and Cowichan Valley products were also selected in the draft. Braylon Lumb of the Victoria Junior Shamrocks was chosen fifth overall by the Nanaimo Timbermen and Taylor Martin went 54th overall, also to the Timbermen.
“They’re both really good players,” said Robertson. “I won provincials with Taylor this past year.”
Robertson is described as a tough shutdown defender that made him appealing to the Lakers.
He recalled his start in lacrosse came in Grade 3 at the age of eight. Robertson almost quit the sport in Grade 10, but decided to stick with it.
“Just some doubts because I wasn’t the best player on the team and wasn’t having a great time,” he recalled of his rationale at the time.
But lacrosse was mainly an enjoyable experience for him with Lorne Winship as his primary coach during many of those years.
A provincial gold medal with the Cowichan Midget A2 team got Robertson cranked up about lacrosse again and it’s carried on throughout recent years.
His second year of Midget in A1 resulted in a tournament win at the prestigious Trevor Wingrove tournament in Coquitlam and bronze at provincials that year.
Playing at the Intermediate B level for two seasons included a silver medal at provincials followed by a gold the next year over rival Coquitlam.
Robertson was a member of the Cowichan Junior B team that won the Island title in his first year at that level, but the team didn’t go to provincials.
In 2017, Robertson played Junior A in Nanaimo and joined the Richmond Roadrunners Junior B Tier 1 team in 2018, staying on the Lower Mainland while completing the school year at Simon Fraser University where he’s working toward a Bachelor of Arts with a major in anthropology.
Winship reunited his troops for their final Junior B Tier 2 season and Robertson commuted to Cowichan to play a part in a provincial championship.
Training camp for the Lakers gets going in April.
“I’m definitely going to go to that,” said Robertson. “I’m going to be training pretty hard. I’d love the chance to play with them. I have no expectations to make the team. There’s a lot of high quality in that organization.”
He’ll be content to play some Senior B lacrosse on the Mainland if that’s how it works out.
“I’m going to do some summer classes this year and see how that goes,” added Robertson. “I intend on graduating next spring. I might be done classes in the fall.”
And no matter what happens in lacrosse from here, he’ll always have the draft. “I never really expected that to happen in lacrosse,” Robertson conceded.