SIX NATIONS — The scores didn’t matter much, but that didn’t diminish the importance of the Rebels hosted, OLA Jr. B Showcase Tournament, Saturday at the ILA. It is a time when all franchises are weeding through their young hopefuls to fill vacancies left by players going overage, not only in the Jr. B ranks, but also for future reference by Jr. A general managers.
Clipboards were the accessory of the day for GMs, scouts and coaches as they analyzed and kept notes on their young hopefuls.
It was a daylong feast of lacrosse that was well attended by always hungry Six Nations junior lacrosse fans. Also represented in the Showcase were the Hamilton Bengals, St. Catharines Spartans, London Blue Devils, New Market Saints, Halton Hills Bulldogs and Windsor Clippers.
All teams participating brought their prospects and rotated them into the lineup for a look as each team played three games, except the host Rebels who played four.
“Today is just an opportunity to find a place on the 2016 roster,” says second year Rebel, Chayton King. “It’s a chance to show everybody what we got. There are some who are already on the team, but they know what they gotta do and how they gotta play to stay there, but then there’s the rookies who have to show what they have too.”
At this time almost every year, the cultural aspect of the Creator’s game coupled with the pride of being Onkwehonwe, along with the Rebels amazing dynasty of winning the Founders Cup six of the last nine seasons, losing a heart breaker last year to the Akwesasne Indians, have created an expectancy as the new season begins. Having one of the finest year round, lacrosse only, arenas in the country doesn’t hurt either.
The young Rebels looked hungry knowing how hard it will be to crack the Rebels roster and there are several very good young guns coming up. Some will be going to the Jr. C Warriors camp to mature while a few may even find opportunities with the Jr. A Arrows Express.
Saturday, ball handling was the most obvious difference between the Rebels and all comers as the opponents seemed to be concentrating more on not making mistakes than showing off what they have to offer. The Rebels looked confident, fast and skilled as they easily won all four games.
“You gotta go all out if you wanna make this team,” says King. “This [showcase] is going to decide who is going to be on the team.”
The 2016 season opens in earnest Friday, April 15, when the Owen Sound North Stars visit the ILA, but there is still a lot of work to do to pare down some 50 Rebels hopefuls, including veterans, to a more manageable number as the pre-season continues. Then comes the cohesion of a winning team from what is left.
Judging from all early signs, the Rebels will remain a force to be reckoned with for many more years to come.