Over the years, Six Nations lacrosse fans felt that strong pride of seeing their teams celebrate championships.
Whether it be a Six Nations minor lacrosse team capturing gold at provincials, Six Nations Rivermen winning the Presidents Cup, Six Nations Rebels celebrating a Founders Cup win or the Six Nations Arrows earning the right to hoist the Minto Cup.
The Arrows are a proud historic franchise who first made history back in 1992 when with a stacked team featuring such players as Miles General, Tim Bomberry, Cam Bomberry and Jason Johnson to name a few, managed to defeat the Coquitlam Adanacs in a deciding seventh game to become the first Indigenous team to capture the Minto Cup.
In total, the Arrows Organization have won five Minto Cup championships; with their second coming in 2007 when in New Westminister, they clinched with a 19-8 win against the Burnaby Lakers.
Seven years later, the Arrows had quite the run as they travelled to Langley B.C., where they pulled off a six -game series defeat against the Adanacs to win the 2014 Minto Cup.
A year later in what was the ultimate scenario, they found themselves playing in front of family and fans at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena where they successfully once again defeated the Adanacs in six to accomplish that ultimate mission of repeating as Minto Cup champs.
“The desire and hunger was there to win and there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that we were going to win,” Arrows General Manager Jake Henhawk said. “I think it was similar with all three teams from the get go.”
In saying all three teams, Henhawk was referring to not only the 2014 and ’15 teams but also the 2017 Arrows team who, competing in Brampton, pulled off a three- game sweep against coincidently enough Coquitlam to capture what was the franchise fifth Minto Cup.
“I think a few things that stand out from these recent teams were how many individual standouts and Award winners we had,” Henhawk said. “In 2017 we had our first Coaching Staff Of The Year which is absurd to me seeing how well coached our teams are year in and year out. We had guys who won five championships in a row between us and the Rebels. Leo Stouros winning Defensive Player of the Year back to back. Doug Jamieson being the Leagues Outstanding Goalie three years straight. Austin Staats scoring 76 Goals in one regular season. Tyson Bomberry, Austin and Dougie being a part of all three teams and being integral parts of these teams. Dougie didn’t lose a game his last year in 2017 going 32-0 allowing less than five goals per game on average was truly something special to see.”
It was special for not just the general manager and coaching staff but also the enthusiastic supportive fans who packed the ILA for Sunday home games.
Prior to winning back-to-back Minto Cups, the Arrows experienced heartbreak starting in 2012, when they made it to the Ontario Junior ‘A’ finals before losing a best four out of seven series in five against the Orangeville Northmen.
The following year, Six Nations once again experienced disappointment when they made it to the league finals before this time losing in a decisive game seven verses a tough Whitby Warriors club.
Learning from the experience, Six Nations came into the 2014 season on a mission. With an explosive offence led by the likes of rookie and team leading scorer Austin Staats (41 goals, 78 points), along with veterans Josh Johnson (32 goals, 76 points), Quinn Powless (26 goals, 72 points), sophomore Jordan Durston (26 goals, 64 points) the Arrows went 16-4 to finish first in the overall standings.
Showing determination, there was no slowing down the Arrows who pulled off a three game first round sweep against a team who trailed them by 16 points in regular season standings, the St. Catharines Athletics.
After pulling off what were 13-5, 12-7 and 7-3 wins, it was on to the semi-finals where they needed six games to get past the Peterborough Jr. Lakers.
Playing a Lakers team who finished fourth overall, the Arrows found themselves in a hole after dropping a 12-7 series opening game. Down but certainly not out, the Arrows offence showed its explosiveness as they rallied for a 15-10 win to even the best of seven at a game apiece. After dropping Game 3 by a 12-11 nail-bitter, the Arrows got on a roll as they won three straight by 15-7, 13-8 and 9-7 scores to punch their ticket to the 2014 Junior ‘A’ league finals.
Desperately looking to take that next step by making history, the Arrows wasted no time as they pulled off the four- game sweep against Whitby by 10-2, 8-6, 13-3 and 13-11 scores to win the league championship and move one step closer to the Minto Cup.
Playing in Langley B.C., the Arrows were led by series MVP Johnny Powless as they managed to defeat the Adanacs in six games.
“It was a really great feeling winning that first one with such a great group of guys,” Henhawk said. “We had a great support system who travelled to B.C. We also had a great support system already out there with the Squamish and Musqueam Nations bringing us in for food, bringing drummers to the game and helping us in our journey.”
Showing strong character, the Arrows actually found themselves trailing 2-0 in the series before successfully rallying with 19-5, 10-7, 12-7 and 14-8 wins to become the 2014 Minto Cup champions.
A year later, the Arrows for a fourth straight season, finished first overall with a 17-3 record, which was four points more than second place Peterborough.
Showing their hunger for back-to-back titles, Six Nations made a statement as they opened the 2015 playoffs with consecutive best of seven series sweeps beginning with the Burlington Chiefs and followed in semi-finals action against the Whitby Warriors.
Playing Peterborough in the finals, Six Nations found themselves tied at a game apiece before going on a streak and winning three straight by 9-3, 13-6 and 8-3 scores to successfully repeat as Ontario Junior ‘A’ lacrosse champs.
Pumped by the love shown by their fans, Six Nations in what was a magical moment managed for a second straight time to defeat the Adanacs in six games, only this time in a loud Iroquois Lacrosse Arena, in successfully winning their second straight Minto Cup.
“It was a surreal experience being able to win the Minto Cup on our own soil in front of friends, family and our community,” Henhawk said. “I hope it was exciting & special for our fans as well.”
“Henhawk also went on to add,
“When comparing, I can’t describe one as better than the other. In each year they were all special in their own way. In 2014 we had a very vet heavy team that was not going to fail. In 2015, we had to rebuild over half the team and the way that team gelled and became a family in such a short time was truly something special to see. Our recent one in 2017, I had said back a few years prior that if the Arrows would have an undefeated season, that 2017 would be the year it would be possible. That team was so dominant from Day 1. We came so close to running the table and being undefeated. Losing only two games by one goal.”
After being swept by Orangeville in the 2016 Ontario Junior ‘A’ finals, Six Nations showed that strong hunger to recapture the Minto Cup.
With superstars such as Austin Staats (41 goals, 70 points), Travis Longboat (25 goals, 65 points), Cody Ward and Tehoka Nanticoke leading the way Six Nations finished first for a sixth straight season in 2017 with an 18-2 record.
Anchored by the strong goaltending from Doug Jamieson, the Arrows went undefeated in the playoffs as they swept away the Toronto Beaches, Whitby and in championship action the Mimico Mountaineers to once again be crowned the Ontario Junior A lacrosse champions.
Continuing to roll, Six Nations travelled to Brampton where with family and lots of Six Nations supporters in the stands, they defeated the Adanacs in a three -game sweep and celebrated the 2017 Minto Cup championship.
The Arrows, who are all about hard work, tradition and pride, has always put together a highly skilled team who entertain fans and always have a chance at playoff success.
Cutline (Photo #1) The Six Nations Arrows made franchise history in 1992 when they managed to win their first Minto Cup which came in an epic series against the Coquitlam Adanacs. Following the series, Six Nations scorer Cam Bomberry was named tournament MVP.
(Photo Credit)- Photo was on the Brantford and Area Sports Hall of Recognition web page. Didn’t say who took the actual picture.
(Photo #2) The prestigious Minto Cup which the Six Nations Arrows have won five times in franchise history.
(Photo Credit)- Photo was on the Minto Cup webpage. Didn’t say who took the picture.