By Sam Laskaris
Six Nations will be well represented at the world men’s field lacrosse tournament which begins next Wednesday in San Diego.
The Haudenosaunee squad that will participate at the 10-day event includes nine players that are Six Nations members as well as two others living in the community.
Also, the club’s general manager Darcy Powless and assistant coach Vince Longboat are Six Nations members as well.
A total of 30 teams will compete at the world tournament. The Haudenosaunee side will take part in the highest-calibre Pool A.
This grouping also includes Canada, United States, Australia and England.
All squads will play four round-robin matches before playoff action commences.
“I think we’re going to do well,” Powless said. “The players have bought into what we want to do.”
Powless, however, said team officials are not thrilled with the tournament schedule. The Haudenosaunee side does not have any games for the first two days of the event.
As a result, it will have to play its four round-robin contests on four consecutive days, starting June 23 with its match against England.
The Haudenosaunee entry will then play the United States on June 24, Canada on June 25 and Australia on June 26.
The other four clubs competing in the Pool A grouping all have their two days of rest during round-robin action between games.
Powless said Haudenosaunee officials requested a change from having its two days off before even playing a game but that organizers did not grant that switch.
The Haudenosaunee club, however, can improve its tournament fortunes by having some round-robin success.
The top two finishers in pool play will receive a bye at the start of the tournament playoff action.
“We need to have that bye,” Powless said. “That’s a tough schedule. If we can make it a little easier for us, that would be good.”
Despite the fact the world tourney does not begin until Wednesday – and the Haudenosaunee side will play its first contest next Friday – team members will begin their journey to California rather soon.
The squad has an early Saturday morning flight, scheduled from Buffalo to Chicago. Another flight will then take the team to San Diego later that day.
The Haudenosaunee 23-player roster includes the following Six Nations members: Warren Hill, Oakley Thomas, Justin Martin, Jerry Staats, Austin Staats, Randy Staats, Tehoka Nanticoke, Brendan Bomberry and Blake Gibson-McDonald.
Also, brothers Lyle and Jeremy Thompson, members of Onondaga Nation in the state of New York, are currently living in Six Nations.
Powless said Haudenosaunee clubs have a history of fielding offensively-gifted teams.
“That will be the case for us again,” he said. “And we’ve got some young legs to do some of the running. It’s just a matter of being able to play some defence and keep the ball out of our net.”
The Haudenosaunee side captured the bronze medal at each of the last two world tournaments, held in Denver in 2014 and in Israel in 2018.
Canada won the 2014 tourney and placed second in Israel. The U.S. won the 2018 event.
By Sam Laskaris