SIX NATIONS — On Sunday evening, young Haudenosaunee players vying for positions on one of two Team Haudenosaunee divisions came together at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena just days ahead of a proposed International Indoor Junior Lacosse (IIJL) World Championship tournament to take place in the USA.
A first since 2019: the three-team tournament will feature a U17 and U15 Team Haudenosaunee, Team Canada and Team USA to take place this Thursday in Massena, New York at the St. Lawrence Sports Complex.
General Manager Gewas Schindler said that being in the arena again was a long awaited experience.
“It’s been two or three years since we’ve been here and I know the boys are really happy to be here,” he said.
Schindler explained that with border access open this Monday, players living in Canada can attend the event to begin on November 11, with final selections for both teams made this week. Schindler explained that the team rosters are being made so close to the tournament date out of love for the game.
“I think that everyone wanted to play so bad that we threw as much together as we could in three weeks notice,” he said. “We had a strong showing here in Six Nations”
Out of 50 players, the team will be a selection of just 23 players, comprised of legs from Six Nations, Kahnawa:ke, Onondaga, Akwesasne, with the full group being split in two to represent East and West. Unfortunately, Schindler explained that there were more interested Haudenosaunee players that couldn’t make the try outs held in Canada.
“A bunch of the Senecas from Cattaraugus got denied at the border because they aren’t vaccinated,” he said, adding that some did make the try out held the week before.
This was a detriment to the overall line up, but Schindler said that they were still “very happy” with the turn out. The team name will be under Haudenosaunee instead of Iroquois for this level, and the teams will be one in two trios to round robin, with hope to expand next year.
“The Iroquois Nationals don’t have box lacrosse at this age, so we do it separately and we’ve been doing international lacrosse since 2015. We had 10 international teams at one time, and we now have 14 that are interested in playing. So, next year it will be really big, but we will have just the three teams competing this year.”
The first two World Junior Lacrosse Championships, 2015 and 2016, were played in Six Nations and hosted by Haudenosaunee.
“We’re really happy,” said Schindler.
An excerpt from Graham D’Alvia in a press release on the CLL World Juniors website reads: “It is only fitting that the first IIJL World U17 Lacrosse Championship is hosted in Six Nations; birth-place of the World Juniors.”