Team Iroquois always get extra attention at the World Men’s Lacrosse Championships held this year in Israel. Players and lacrosse fans around the world recognize the Haudenosaunee as the originators of what they call, “Creators Game.” Early French missionaries saw that the sticks they used in this strange game were shaped like Bishops crooks, giving it the name “lacrosse”.
This year there was extra drama after the Iroquois Nationals were not allowed to board the jet in Toronto bound for Netanya, Israel. After some very high level intervention from both Canada and Israel, they were finally allowed to catch a flight the next day and arrived just in time to find their rooms and make it back to the main stadium for the opening ceremony. Then they had to get ready for Game no.1 later that evening against one of the favourites to win it all this year, team USA.
The Iroquois looked non-the-worst-for-wear in the first half, controlling the flow of play and taking a 3-0 lead before Team USA got started. Team Iroquois stayed tight with the strong Americans for most of the game until fatigue began to finally take its tole on a very busy and disjointed day.
The Americans came on late in the game to take advantage, building up a 17-9, Game no.1 final score for Team USA. The Iroquois took it all in stride.
“This logo right here means everything to my people and to me,” Tehoka Nanticoke said in a post-game interview. “We could have sat in the airport for another day, and still. Traveling on our own passport and playing in front of the world means a lot to me.”
Iroquois Nationals def. England 18-7
The Iroquois Nationals got win number one under their belts against England 18-7, after a good night sleep. They slept in a little too long however, spotting England three goals before getting their own engine started. Once the I-Nat began to roll, they left England behind wondering what just happened.
“The Iroquois are playing the game they’ve played their whole lives” said Mark Donahue, an editor and writer at Lacrosse All-Stars.
Iroquois Nationals def. Australia 16-9
Game no.3 for the I-Nats was a rematch of the 2014 bronze-medal game, and the outcome was the same with the Iroquois Nationals defeating Australia, 16-9.
The first half finished in a 7-7 tie. Several streaks were witnessed in the first half with Nigel Morton starting a three-goal streak for an early Australia 3-0 lead. The Iroquois Nationals’ Ty Thompson highlighted a four-goal run to have a 4-3 advantage. The game volleyed back and forth in the second quarter.
The second half belonged to the Iroquois Nationals who went on a 9-2 run, with six goals being split between Lyle and cousin Ty Thompson evenly.
The leading scorers for the Iroquois Nationals were Ty Thompson with five goals, Randy Staats with four goals, and Lyle Thompson with three goals. Australia was paced by Morton’s three goals and Mitchell Kennedy’s two.
“It’s unreal,” said Iroquois attackman Lyle Thompson of his team’s stick skills. “Our offense is run through basically eight attackmen. People look at me and think I have a creative stick, but with some of these guys, it’s an extension of their body. You can see it when you watch us play.”
And a lot were watching the stick handling and ball control skills of team Iroquois, including players from other teams who watch from the stands in awe.
Canada def. Iroquois Nationals 10-5
Game no.4 saw the Iroquois do battle with the powerhouse Canadians. Canada had just lost it’s crucial game against the USA and the Iroquois were riding high on their second win of the the tournament against Australia.
Most players on the the defending Gold Medalist and those representing the Haudenosaunee Iroquois Nation know each other very well, having played either alongside or against each other in other leagues, but this is the big nut. This is the World Lacrosse Championship with 46 countries represented.
The Iroquois loss brings the record to 2-2 in pool play. Canada is now 3-1. The I-Nats will next face Scotland in Blue Division play, Tuesday night, July 17.