SIX NATIONS – Why is lacrosse so important in Six Nations?
The answer — lacrosse is played by the Haudenosaunee to honour the Creator, and it is something that runs in the veins of the Haudenosaunee people through heritage and ancestry.
This is why the orange and black flag that hangs proudly in the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena reads “It’s Our Game,” and why the Rebels — six time National Junior ‘B’ Lacrosse Champions — and all other teams representing the Six Nations community are important.
The game itself opens so much for players. They are not only given the opportunity to represent their families and people, they also have a shot at scholarships, positions on higher level teams and the possibility of becoming an NLL prospect.
Just last year, the Rebels missed their shot at holding the Founders Cup four times in a row, but Rebels Executive Bryan Miller explained that this years team will be different.
“It’s going to be a lot more stricter from last year,” said Miller. “There has been a lot of leeway for the last couple of years, but we’re going to be stricter. We have a younger team and we have to stay ahead of them, we can’t let them come here and think ‘they’re on the team,’ everybody here has to work their rear end off,” he said.
Miller also explained that the team is highly communal.
“We got a lot of fund-raising going on, but you know we just wanna do things for these boys, it’s all for the boys,” he said. “We’re not owned by nobody, the community owns us and we’re a community based team.”
This might also contribute to how many players are vying for positions on the team.
“We had 40 or 50 something guys out for our pre-season,” said Miller. “Today we have 39 or 40 out, so we’re cutting back to about 30 to get our numbers down since our home opener is in three weeks,” said Miller. “There’s a lot of promise out there,” he said. “We have a few midgets that we can’t sign this year, but we can A.P. [alternate player] them,” he said.
Of these midgets includes Bronson Hill, who has been diligently honing his game with dedicated hard work.
“I’ve played a lot,” said Hill. “I’ve played every day this past week starting with school lacrosse right after school which is a two-hour practise from Monday to Tuesday. Then I had school practise which was only an hour, then right after that I had [midget] One Team practise which is another hour and a half. So, I had a good four hours of practise all week,” he said.
Hill explained that those hours do not include the Rebels try-outs, but the try-outs have helped him to see the differences in play.
“The pace is different, it’s way faster than minors,” he said. “They expect a lot more of you as a player and they expect you to push a lot harder.”
But, he further explained that in regards to even being able to try-out as a midget player, it has opened opportunities.
“It feels really good, Rebels has opened up a lot of gates for me. Like right after the inter-squad game, a college messaged me, offering me a scholarship to go play college,” he said. “They want me to go up in April to check out their lacrosse program and check out a few of their games.”
Hill hopes to be signed as an A.P for Rebels and is one of the athletes that proves that Lacrosse, something rooted in history, can open a future.