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Silvertips player emerging as Junior A talent

It’s been a memorable year for Rockyview Silvertips player Nolan Oakey.

The 17-year-old forward from Airdrie is coming off a strong sophomore year in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League (RMLL), ending the 2019 season as the top scorer in the Junior B Tier 1 Central Division.

In the regular season, Oakey found the back of the net 32 times – while also recording 60 assists – in 20 games. He earned 18 points more than the second-highest scorer in the Central Division – teammate Matt Dyck.

“Obviously, his points total speaks for itself, but he’s come up big with his leadership on the offence and in the dressing room with the team,” said head coach Derrick Henry.

“He found a second gear when we needed it.”

His firepower didn’t stop as the Silvertips entered the post-season. In nine games during the RMLL playoffs and Larry Bishop Memorial Cup, Oakey knocked in 13 goals and registered 16 assists.

According to Henry, Oakey’s leadership was on display multiple times during the post-season – particularly in Game 3 of the Silvertips’ opening playoff series against the Calgary Chill. With an 8-7 lead in the third period, Oakey won a loose ball at half before scoring on a breakaway to give the ‘Tips a two-goal cushion. Rockyview held onto the lead to record its first playoff series victory in a decade.

“It was a clutch moment for a player of his calibre,” Henry said. “He just steps up and leads by example on the floor. He doesn’t quit, regardless of what’s going on in the game and what the score is.”

Oakey credited the Silvertips’ chemistry for his individual success.

“Our team bonded really well this year – it was a good dressing room to be in,” he said. “I think it’s good that we had that, especially because we had a very young team. So, for the young guys to learn how to win at the junior level – it was really helpful.”

Success in the RMLL wasn’t Oakey’s only accomplishment this year – in January, his skills earned him a chance to try out for Canada’s U20 team, which competed in the 2019 World Junior Lacrosse Championship Aug. 7 to 11.

“It was really cool, especially being with the best players from Alberta,” he said.

While Oakey didn’t crack the team’s final roster, he was included on the 40-player shortlist. He said the experience at tryouts was positive and, since he’s just 17, there will be other opportunities to play at that level.

Having graduated from Airdrie's W.H. Croxford High School in June, Oakey said he will take a gap year before committing to an NCAA field lacrosse program in the United States.

With regards to box lacrosse, playing for a Junior A team in the RMLL is another goal, he added.

“I will play Junior B next year, for sure. And then I’d like to make the jump in my fourth and fifth years,” Oakey said.

Henry said he expects Oakey to eventually make the step up.

“It’s up to him, when he wants to try and go that route,” he said. “We will obviously support him. He has the skill level and he’s a very level-headed kid, so I think [he’ll succeed] when he chooses to do that.”


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