SIX NATIONS – The bench staff to receive the Russell “Beef” Smith S.N.M.L.A. Coaching Staff of the Year Award were none other than the staff that stood behind the Six Nations Intermediate Girls Lacrosse Team – the first girls coaching staff to win the award.
Comprised of Head Coach Chuck Martin, Assistant Coaches Tim Bomberry, Manager and Trainer Taina Lickers, and Doormen and Equipment Managers Tyler Bomberry and Phillip Grosbeck helped to carry the girls team from the bottom of ‘C’ Division to the very top of ‘A’ Division as champions in three short seasons.
With the midget girls team taking ‘C’ gold and the peewee boys taking gold as well, the recognition was well deserved as Six Nations girls box lacrosse has been escalating in momentum and skill.
Well-known Coach Jay Smith began giving the award as a memorial for his grandfather, who was also recognized in the Lacrosse Hall of Fame and one of the first coaches to coach a native team to a national title.
“A few years back I noticed that there were coaches year after year after year, but there was no real recognition for them. So, I took it upon myself and went to my family, ’cause Russell ‘Beef’ Smith is my grandfather, and I got my family’s blessing to give a coaches award in his name. So I did,” said Smith.
Smith explained that it is very easy to find coaches for the top 1 and 2 teams, but as the divisions grow the three and four teams tend to struggle for coaching staff, just as the girls teams do.
“So, I thought after that, you know I’m going to give this award to staff that deserve it,” he said.
“We were just discussing earlier that this group of girls, the core of their team has been together since bantam and it’s come to fruition. Now they’ve won a provincial title and that’s as high as you can go in minor,” he said. “So, I would hope that the coaching staff here comes back,” he said. “Any team that could get Chuck and Tim or Phil and Tyler and Ty on their bench staff, well they’re blessed.”
In regards to the award, Head Coach Chuck Martin explained that the award represents something bigger than just having a good bench staff.
“It means that a lot of people took notice of us,” said Martin. “And we all contributed on the bench, even the door guys we hollering at [the team when they needed to] and changing the lines properly. So, it’s not just me [as head coach], it was all of us on the bench.”
The provincial win as well was icing on the cake for a good year to Martin.
“Winning that trophy means that we accomplished something and that a lot of people seen what our coaching staff and bench staff did,” said Martin. “Not just Jay, but all of the S. N.M.L.A. seen how they played and how the girls did and they ended up winning.”
“I can remember back when the girls couldn’t pass, catch, or score,” he said. “It was a good year and the girls did everything we told them to,” he said. “They worked hard at it, they didn’t stop and they didn’t stop wanting to learn how to beat the teams that they wanted to beat. It was a good year.”
On behalf of the team, Captain Lizzie Bradley offered a statement recognizing the development of her teammates as this was her last year with the league she has played on since it’s beginning.
“Winning the Provincial A championships this year was an unbelievable feeling,” she said. “I still look at the medal everyday and I’m blown away by our accomplishment.
This win was more than a medal for our girls, it was a sense of pride. We started seven years ago not being able to catch or throw, struggling to have returning coaches and dedicated players and seven years later we are the best girls team in Ontario.
As captain, I look at the girls as more than a team, we are a family; there to fight together and for each other. I believe this is why we came out on top, every girl put their teammate before themselves. We fought together and we became Ontario Champions together.”
Congratulations to Lizzie Bradley and Chezney Martin for Best Defense, Julie Anne Sandy for Most Valuable Player, Julia Cowan and Kennley Jacobs for Most Improved, Fawn Porter for Highest Scorer, and Krystle Hill for Most Sportsman-like for the girl intermediate team.
Congratulations as well to Hailee Johnson for Highest Scorer, Cloe VanEvery and Tyra Skye for Most Improved, Danny Hill for Best Defense, Kaya Nomee Maracle and Ky Maracle for Most Valuable Player and Ida Miller for Most Sportsman-like for the girl midget team.