Sharks’ captain awarded memorial trophy

Lacrosse standout Zach Wheldon presented third annual Lukas Whibley Memorial Award Saturday in Parksville

Zach Wheldon, the second-year captain who helped guide the Oceanside Sharks midget lacrosse team into their first provincial tournament appearance earlier this year, was awarded the Lukas Whibley Memorial Award Saturday.

The award, named for the former Sharks standout who died in a tragic drowning accident at Little Qualicum River Falls in August of 2013, is given to the second-year midget player who “exhibits integrity, leadership and sportsmanship.”

Wheldon was presented the perpetual plaque with his name engraved alongside the first two winners of the award, as well as a small keeper trophy, by midget coaches Cameron Miller and Brian Thompson on Saturday at Oceanside Place Arena.

“I didn’t really know about it,” Wheldon said of the award. “I just found out two days ago. It’s obviously pretty new; I think it’s pretty cool to be one of the first players who’s been selected.”

The inaugural Lukas Whibley Award went to Eric Thompson in 2014. Roman McKenzie was awarded the trophy last year.

Wheldon, a 15-year-old Parksville youth, began playing lacrosse as a five-year-old tyke. He also spent some time in hockey, he said, but has since dropped that sport to focus his attention on lacrosse.

“I’ve just always like it,” he said. “I like how fast it is and how intense. And I guess I picked it up pretty easy.”

Wheldon was the second-leading scorer on a 2016 Sharks team that overcame injuries and an already-short bench to gain a provincial tournament berth with a runner-up finish in the Vancouver Island Midget B Box Lacrosse Championships.

He went on to play for the Island Zone team in the 2016 B.C. Winter Games.