BRITISH COLUMBIA — The Six Nations Senior ‘A’ Chiefs made the trip to the Queen’s Park Arena in New Westminster, B.C., for the final Mann Cup series against the Westminster Salmonbellies by last Friday, September 8.
According to the Western Lacrosse Association, “donated by Sir Donald Mann in 1910 as the senior amateur championship trophy as a challenge trophy, the 1925 New Westminster Salmonbellies turned the trophy over to the Canadian Lacrosse Association to institute a national playoff system between the East and West. The Mann Cup was played for under field lacrosse rules, until 1932 when box lacrosse was adopted by the CLA. The trophy itself lives permanently at the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in New Westminster, as it is made of solid, low-karat gold, and is valued at over $177,000.”
Led by Head Coach John Tavares, the Chiefs added in Dhane Smith to their roster ahead of the trek to the West. Per Lacrosse Canada rules, players can be activated for the Mann Cup so long as they are already on a team’s protected roster.
Smith became available to the Chiefs when his Chaos Lacrosse Club team lost in the first round of playoffs in the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL). That gives the Chiefs a right side of Dhane Smith, Lyle Thompson, Randy Staats, Brendan Bomberry and Ben McIntosh. Chiefs caching staff already had difficult decisions to make on the left side, where their array of NLL players includes Austin Staats, Cody Jamieson, Shayne Jackson, Larson Sundown and Eric Fannell.
But the decisions seem to have been made well as the Chiefs are entering their fourth game with three victories behind them. On Friday, the Chiefs delivered a game that set the tone for the rest of the series.
Four consecutive goals were blitzed in the first period, from Lyle Thompson, Shayne Jackson, Cody Jamieson and Randy Staats. The Salmonbellies responded with two, but the lead earned by the Chiefs was set to stay as Eric Fannell buried one to close the period 5-2.
In the second, Randy Staats scored his second and Jeremy Thompson his first, followed by two opponent goals. Brad Kri and Shayne Jackson worked to cancel them out with singles and closed the second 9-4.
The third showed a large amount of effort on the Salmonbellies side with three goals one right after the other, but not enough to close the gap. Lyle Thompson ended the period with his second goal, finishing the game 10-7.
On Saturday night, a closer game ensued with the Salmonbellies earning their first lead in the first period. Goals for the Chiefs by Lyle Thompson and Brendan Bomberry, going into the second 2-3 for the Salmonbellies. Dhane Smith earned his first to kick the period off, followed by three Salmonbelly goals. In between, Shayne Jackson, Cody Jamison’s and Lyle Thompson put singles away. This finished the second 7-6.
In the third, Brendan Bomberry kicked the period off with a single, followed by Cody Jamieson with his second. Ben Mcintosh put another up, while the Salmonbellies secured two. This left Cody Jamiesone and Dhane Smith to put to more away, before the Salmonbellies did the same, clinging to their lead. Tied 11-11 by the last two minutes, Shayne Jackson buried from Larson Sundown and Tim Edwards connected from Tyson Bell, earning the Chiefs a two-goal lead to close Game 2 13-11.
This put pressure onto the Salmonbellies, who gave a close score performance in Game 3. Eric Fannell busted onto the scoreboard for the Chiefs early on with two goals, followed by a single from Randy Staats. The Salmonbellies responded once, while Dhane Smith and Ben Mcintosh fired away two more, leading the Chiefs into the second 5-1.
In the second, the Salmonbellies came back with six goals, while the Chiefs put up two, both from Randy Staats and Lyle Thompson. With a tie leading into the third 7-7, the game became defence-heavy. Lyle Thompson was able to connect 15 minutes into the period and scored the game-winner from Shayne Jackson, closing Game 3, 8-7.
Game 4 took place on Tuesday, September 12, at 10:30 p.m., EST, too late for reporting in this issue of Two Row Times.
To conclude this report, it can be noted that the Western Lacrosse Association (WLA) is an amateur league of men’s Senior A box lacrosse sanctioned by the Canadian Lacrosse Association. It consists of seven teams, based in cities throughout southwestern British Columbia. Each year, the playoff teams battle for the right to compete against the Major Series Lacrosse champion for the Mann Cup every September. The championship is hosted alternately between Ontario and British Columbia every year.
The level of lacrosse in the WLA is very high, as majority of its players also play in the National Lacrosse League during the winter months and PLA, while the WLA schedule runs from mid-May to August.