SIX NATIONS – The Six Nations Chiefs are fine-tuning their 2016 edition with the central theme of taking back the Mann Cup they lost last season to the Peterborough Lakers.
It’s face-saving time now since the Chiefs and their fans were forced to watch the Cup winning Lakers celebrate by carrying the Mann Cup around on the carpet of the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena.
If you were looking for an offensive co-ordinator for your lacrosse team, who would you consider? How about arguably the greatest professional lacrosse player of all time and points master of the NLL?
Or perhaps you need a general manager who is a Hall of Fame inductee and knows and sees the game from the goal crease on out — someone who knows and is known by virtually everyone in the game of lacrosse today.
This season, there will be as much lacrosse royalty behind the Chiefs bench as there will be on it with the return of the legendary John Tavares to the Chiefs organization, coming in as offensive co-ordinator, and Hall of Fame goaltender Steve Detrich taking over the general manager’s position. Johnny T will be returning to the organization he played with for four full seasons and won two Mann Cup rings with in 1994 and 95. He was with the Chiefs again in 1996, but the streak ended at three in a row, including 1993, before he joined them.
The Chiefs lineup will be missing a few familiar names this season including Jeff Shattler who has chosen to stay out west and play for the Victoria Shamrocks of the Western Lacrosse Association.
Colin Boucher who has been a Chief for the past three seasons, has signed with the Oakville Rock this year and will be playing against many of his old teammates.
Colin Doyle and Brandon Miller will also be leaving the fold.
But they will be replaced with new names like Jordan Durstan, Leo Storous and Warren Hill, all former Jr. A Arrows, bringing with them youth and speed. Hill will back up goalie Dillon Ward who won the Sr. B Presidents Cup last season with the Rivermen.
Ontario Lacrosse Association’s Junior “A” Defensive Player of the Year, Leo Storous will bring plenty of additional toughness to an already nasty defence. Also joining the Major Series Chiefs will be Wenster Green and Brier Jonathan. Green won the Mann Cup last year as a member of the Lakers.
Last season the Chiefs really missed the role of Cody Jamieson who took last summer off to heal a bad wheel he suffered in the NLL Champions Cup playoffs with the Rochester Knighthawks. He is back and is healthy which will be exciting for Chiefs fans.
Among other returnees are Johnny Powless, former Knighthawk who split last NLL season between the Vancouver Stealth and the Minnesota Swarm. Ryan Benesch, with 10 years at the top of the NLL with various teams. Dhane Smith who recorded 11 goals and 10 assists in three NLL playoff games as a member of the Buffalo Bandits, amassing a NLL career total of 155 goals and 192 assists in four seasons.
Other known returnees include Randy Staats, Stephen Keogh, Craig Point, Dan Coates, Billy Dee Smith, Jesse Gamble, Dave Brock, Ward and Rob Marshall.
More returnees are expected to sign on now that the NLL Champions Cup has been determined, to make an already deep talent pool, abyss-like.
The Pro-Fit Chiefs kicked off their 2016 season on Tuesday, May 31, at the ILA against the Coburg Kodiaks in a game that will miss our deadline. They will then be traveling to Brampton for a date with the Excelsiors, Thursday night at 8 p.m.
Most home games will be Tuesday nights at the ILA with an 8 p.m start.