Tyrell Hamer-Jackson was aggravated and motivated.
The 5-foot-6, 195-pound faceoff specialist from Kamloops had knee surgery in March, but rehab was complete and he was cleared to play in time for opening day of the National Lacrosse League campaign, with his Vancouver Warriors squaring off against the Toronto Rock on Dec. 3.
Hamer-Jackson, 27, was not in the lineup when Toronto pummelled Vancouver 19-8. The Warriors were 7-for-32 (21.9 per cent) on draws.
“I kept talking to the coach [Warriors’ bench boss Troy Cordingley],” Hamer-Jackson said. “He said, ‘Hey, just be patient. We’re going to get you in there.’
“Three games went by and we didn’t win a game or many faceoffs, so he threw me in, gave me an opportunity and here we are now.”
The Warriors were clicking at 29.1 per cent on draws in their first three games, which included the loss to the Rock and back-to-back defeats to the Calgary Roughnecks — 11-9 on Dec. 10 in Cowtown and 14-5 on Dec. 16 in Vancouver.
Hamer-Jackson has taken over faceoff duties since his debut against the hometown San Diego Seals on Jan. 7 and has won 44 of 67 draws, good for about 66 per cent.
“It’s been important as hell to me,” said Hamer-Jackson, who won 58.7 per cent of faceoffs in 10 games last season before the injury cut short his campaign. “That’s my job, right? If I can get our team 66 per cent of possession, that gives the guys like Mitch Jones, Keegan Bal and Kyle Killen the ball on their stick and we put up more numbers.”
The Warriors posted their first victory of the campaign on Saturday, Jan. 14, vanquishing the expansion Las Vegas Desert Dogs 19-16 at Rogers Arena to end a nine-game losing streak that dated back to last season.
Preceding the win was a front-office shakeup, with the team announcing the departures of general manager Dan Richardson, citing personal reasons, and assistant GM Ken Thomas.
Cordingley added interim GM to his title.
“Dan and all our support staff were great to me,” Hamer-Jackson said. “He brought me on when I first started. He was my GM in New West. It’s not their fault we weren’t winning games.
“We’ve got to take responsibility ourselves. The week’s been crazy. I’ve been told by our captain to just focus on the Desert Dogs. Pretty cool for Troy getting the interim GM. Great guy, great coach.”
Las Vegas (0-4) will play host to Vancouver (1-4) on Friday, a rematch that will take place in Michelob Ultra Arena, a 12,000-seat sports and entertainment complex at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
“I needed to get hit a few times to see if everything is still in one piece and it is, so it’s amazing to be back and playing with all my teammates,” Hamer-Jackson said.
“I really took a look in the mirror and said, ‘All right, well, you’re not in now, but you’re going to get in, so do your job once you do.”
Hamer-Jackson, who has more than 274,000 followers and 6.8-million likes on TikTok, is a tugboat deckhand whose log-running stunts attract big crowds on social media.
His dad, Reid Hamer-Jackson, is the mayor of Kamloops.
Tyrell called himself bulletproof prior to wrecking his knee.
Here are a few KTW stories from recent years:
Dec. 6, 2022 — Hamer-Jackson 'itching' to get into Vancouver Warriors' lineup
Oct. 18, 2022 — Hamer-Jackson touts NLL comeback, salutes mayor-elect father
Dec. 2, 2021 — TikTok sensation Tugboat Tyrell of Kamloops resumes dream gig with Vancouver Warriors after National Lacrosse League pandemic pause
March 26. 2020 — Tugboat Tyrell winds up a Vancouver Warrior