Arthur Aces remain on top in WMSL

Contributed by Jacob Powless

OSHAWA — After an electrifying championship weekend, the Women’s Major Series Lacrosse league has come to end.

The WMSL consists of eight teams from across Ontario – Arthur, Akwesasne, Grand River, Hamilton, London, Niagara, Toronto and Whitby.

These teams have been battling it out all summer with some intense matches, but ultimately, it was the Arthur Aces who took home the gold after being undefeated in the regular season and throughout the championships.

After a two-year break during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Aces were able to get back on to the floor to do what they do best: put on an amazing display of lacrosse talent. And according to head coach Reg Holinshead, their season almost went in a different direction.

“It was awesome to go undefeated all season; we had challenges in the beginning to find players, actually almost folded for the season, but we reached out and they contacted us and here we are,” said Holinshead. “It was great to be playing again, going undefeated and winning was a bonus.”

Needing to fill spots on a roster is not always an easy thing to do and sometimes, as captain Haley Price puts it, that can mean sharing a bench with someone you’ve grown up playing against.

“We had such a phenomenal group of girls who all came together after years of rivalry with one another,” she said. “Everyone showed up to every game and practice eager to be playing lacrosse again.”

The Aces took on the Grand River Attack in the final game of the championship tournament, but after being tied 1-1 going into the second period, the Aces turned up the heat, scoring four. In the final period, they added one more to cement the victory.

“We had a common goal among our team – to win with integrity, and I am so proud of what we were able to accomplish as a team this season,” said Price.

The league came together in 2007 as the Ontario Women’s Box Lacrosse League, made up of five teams: Akwesasne, Toronto, Peterborough, Grand River and Whitby. Since then, the league has grown a considerable amount, having gone from only five teams to ten teams before the pandemic started. Clarington and Owen Sound optioned not to play this season once COVID measures were lifted.

Arthur joined the league in 2016 and won the championship in 2019 just before the pandemic started.

“We had zero conflicts, everyone was here for the same reason and some really great friendships have been made. We are very proud of their attitudes and working together,” said Holinshead.

Jacob Powless is an Indigenous student of the Durham College journalism program.

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