“I would get called up in 2002. I was fourteen years old, first year of midget and I started getting called up to play. It was a dream come true, a thrill, being fourteen years old, playing with a lot of the guys that I looked up to and ever since then, when I was fourteen, all I ever wanted to do was play for the Arrows. “Every opportunity I got I would go and play for them,” — Cody Jamieson.
SIX NATIONS – It was reported earlier last month that the Six Nations Arrows would be leaving the Ontario Lacrosse Association’s Jr. ‘A’ circuit to join the Tewaaraton Lacrosse League.
The new TLL plans to hold its inaugural season this June through August.
But the announcement brought shock and concern in the Six Nations Arrows alumnus, who were vocal in their love for the team and the chance to vie for a Minto Cup. Of them was Cody Jamieson, one of the worlds top professional lacrosse players with roots in Six Nations minor and junior lacrosse systems.
“Initially I thought about my time with the Arrows and how hard we worked to get a Minto Cup,” said Jamieson.
“I remembered the devastation that I had and I felt like I was letting the community down by losing it those three times; we didn’t win it since 1992 before that too. So I know that me and my friends, our dream was to bring home a Minto Cup and how special it was.”
Jamieson won the Minto Cup with the Arrows in 2007, but lost it three times before that.
“When I read the news about them leaving [the OLA], it was just devastating and I thought to myself ‘what can I do to help my community?’ You know, I’m in a position now where I’m a lot older so I just wanted to do whatever I could. I looked into it and found out that something could be done to make sure that there’s a team here.”
It is speculated that the TLL announcement followed the OLA rejection of a bid by the OJALL to extend its age range to include 22-year-olds at a vote late last year.
Jamieson explained that when he found more information on the process of the Arrows leaving the OLA, he found that the league needed to fill the Six Nations position or move forward without a team at all.
This prompted Jamieson to take a spot, and as a prestigious player of the game, he calmly explained his reasoning:
“Honestly, I would love to coach and I would love to pass on my knowledge there, but if somebody didn’t step up, they were prepared to move forward and have other teams have pickings of our community players.”
“At that point I just thought ‘we may never get a team back here,’ because all of our players for the next five years would have their rights with another team, another city. So it needed to be acted upon quickly, and I just said ‘I’ll do it,’ it was a way to keep our boys in our community and to make sure that we have a team and make sure that our boys can stay home and play.”
Since he entered the NLL league as the first overall pick by the Knighthawks in the 2010 draft, Jamieson has become the franchise’s third-leading goal scorer (281) and point-getter (763) and second in assists (482).
But on this side of the arena glass, Jamieson admitted that he is coming to understand the responsibilities of his role.
“It means a lot of work, I never realized how much work had to be done. But it’s all worth it, it’s for our kids to have something to call their own and to call home and that’s huge. You know, I’ve played for our home town teams and I’ve played outside of Six Nations teams and the championships are a little more sweeter and a little bit better when you get to do it in front of your family, in front of your friends, while playing with your family and with your friends.”
“Even the ones you don’t win, it doesn’t sting as much because you’re having fun and you’re having a blast with your family and friends throughout the whole season.”
The TLL plans to include players aged 18 to 22 and play a 20-game schedule with its championship concluding in August, before players attending college in the United States have to return to school.
For Jamieson, there aren’t any hard feelings for where the players choose to play.
“I firmly believe that there is enough talent down here to have another junior team,” he said. “I just hope everyone stays playing lacrosse, playing our game that much longer.”
Jamieson said that keeping the community in mind, he hopes to keep younger generations of Six Nations and Haudenosaunee lacrosse players in the competitive field that he grew up with, but will not bar anyone from opportunity.
“I have nothing against the new league, I don’t really know much about it — it might turn out to be the best thing, but as of right now, the best play for the Minto Cup.”
“The best play against the best and as of right now, we need Ontario Junior A down here and we’re gonna let the boys decide where they want to play. If they want to go and try something new, then they can and if they want to stay within the OLA and play and play in the feeder system and move up through the ranks, then we’re going to give them that option as well.”
He explained that the skill development he strived for and honed while playing at the highest level is what made him the player he is today.
“I just don’t want to see it go—I wouldn’t be who I am and the player that I am if it wasn’t for the Arrows organization and playing Junior ‘A’ here in Six Nations. I think t propelled me a lot more than if I would have played somewhere else or at a different level. I don’t know if I would go on to have the career I’ve had so far without the opportunities that the Arrows provided with losing and competing for Minto Cups has helped me to take. I’ve won some championships in my career so far and I think it all started with losing those Minto Cups and ultimately winning one, and learn how to win. I had to learn how to get over that hump of losing and learn how to win with my whole group there.”
Jamieson, has been a player for the Halifax Thunderbirds of the National Lacrosse League, the New York Lizards of Major League Lacrosse and the Six Nations Chiefs in Major Series Lacrosse. For him, he said that his role will be involved in ensuring that the communal sense of family in the team isn’t lost and neither is the chance to play high level junior.
“I think that my life and definitely a lot of our youths, now adults, lives wouldn’t be the same if they didn’t get the chance to play for a Minto Cup or compete for a Minto Cup and play lacrosse at the highest level, so I took over the role to make sure that our youth still have that chance.”
“I, personally, think that the OLA is the place to be because I always wanted to play the best and that’s where all of the competition is going to be.”
And as one of the top ranked players in mens lacrosse, Jamieson would know.