The Iroquois Nationals can now breathe a sigh of relief, as they will be competing in Birmingham Ala at the 2022 World Games.
Earlier this summer, the Iroquois Nationals weren’t among the eight Men’s Lacrosse teams welcomed to compete, which resulted in a major international movement of support, including 25,000 signatures added on a petition demanding that the Iroquois Nationals be included.
In early September, Ireland, who finished 12th at the 2018 men’s world championship, made headlines by officially pulling their men’s senior national team from among the teams scheduled to play at the 2022 World Games.
“We recognized that there was a problem with us going and with the Iroquois being number three in the world and not being deemed eligible for this event,” Catherine Conway, communications director for Ireland Lacrosse and assistant coach for the women’s senior national team said. “We felt really strongly that just putting another graphic on social media saying we support the Iroquois was not the appropriate thing to do because talk is cheap. We very much felt that action was necessary.”
As a result, it was recently made official that Team Iroquois will in fact be welcomed as among the eight teams primed to make history when in July, 2022, they compete for gold in the first ever men’s lacrosse to be held at the World Games.
“It’s been a long road for the Iroquois Nationals. We’ve had some hurdles to go over and this most recent one, we’re just glad the right thing is being done an inspiration to see the world lacrosse community, the world Indigenous community, all stand behind us to get to this point again. We look forward to continuing our efforts on the field,” said David Bray, who is a member of Iroquois Nationals board of directors.
In the last two men’s world field lacrosse championships the Iroquois Nationals came away with third in 2014 and 2018.
Originally, the 2022 World Games were supposed to take place next year but were delayed a year because of COVID-19.
“I was really excited for my people to be able to enter the tournament,” former Six Nations Rebels star Marshall Powless said. Powless, who is a prime candidate to be an early pick at the upcoming Virtual NLL draft also stated, “Big kudos to Ireland for allowing Iroquois Nationals to have their spot.”
Reflecting on the prospects of participating at the 2022 Worlds, Powless stated,
“It would be awesome to wear a jersey at the 2022 worlds. It would be such an honor representing my people.”
Participating and being part of history at the 2022 World Games will be a proud moment for the Iroquois Nationals, which was made possible by the incredible gentleman like gesture of Ireland pulling out.
“It’s a sport I love playing. I love playing for those who can’t, and seeing the smile on elders faces when they are watching the game means a lot to me,” Powless said. “Watching my older brother Johnny play on team Iroquois on such a big stage made me want to work just as hard to get there to.”
Due to Team Ireland pulling out, players such as Marshall Powless will get to try out and perhaps have an opportunity to live out that dream on the big stage and win gold.