The Six Nations Rebels are a proud organization with a rich tradition of winning.
After entering the Ontario Lacrosse Association Junior ‘B’ circuit in 1996, this franchise, who were known back then as the Red Rebels celebrated instant success as they only had to wait a year before celebrating their first Founders Cup.
It wouldn’t be until 10 years later when the Red Rebels, who were now called Rebels, electrified their fanbase by capturing back-to-back Founders Cup wins starting in 2007 when in Kamloops BC they defeated Coquitlam Adanacs 8-2 in the gold medal game. The following year, Six Nations pulled off the repeat as they beat the host Guelph Regals in the Founders Cup finals by an 8-7 decision.
Unfortunately for Rebels nation, there was no three-peat as Six Nations didn’t taste victory again until 2011 when they began a dynasty which saw them simply dominate Junior ‘B’ lacrosse to the tune of four straight Founders Cup titles.
Among the many star players to wear the Rebels colors was power forward Layne Smith who was a rookie in 2014, when they travelled to Halifax and defeated the Seneca WarChiefs 14-7 to bring home what was their fourth straight Founders Cup.
“I only won the one Founders, but it was great,” Smith said. “To share the floor and house the cup with people I grew up with, and people I looked up to. To secure the cup and be on the last team to do it is pretty cool.”
During what was an illustrious career with the Rebels, Smith made some franchise history by scoring 72 regular season goals in 2017 and breaking Cody Jacob’s previous record. Another was breaking Dean Hill’s record for most regular season career goals which was 131.
“We were playing against Hamilton and St. Catharine’s when I broke the records,” Smith said. “It was pretty nerve wracking to be honest. Before the game, knowing I have an opportunity like that, I made sure my game was on. My teammates knew (about record) and they helped me a lot. They set me up many times, I couldn’t do it without them.”
As a rookie, Smith had an immediate impact as he scored 33 goals and 79 points in the regular season.
Showing that desperate hunger for a fourth straight Founders Cup, Six Nations began their 2014 playoff drive by posting back-to-back best of five playoff sweeps against first the Welland Generals and in quarter finals play the Niagara Thunderhawks. In keeping the momentum going, Six Nations needed four games to dispose of the Orangeville Northmen before sweeping away the Halton Hills Bulldogs to not only become the Ontario Junior ‘B’ champs, but officially punch their ticket to the Founders Cup which they went on to win.
“It was a great feeling, to step on the floor and begin my Junior career with a team I’ve watched growing up was amazing,” Smith said. “And to play alongside some guys I looked up to was even better. Chase Martin, Alex Martin were the ones who really took me under their wing and it helped me grow my game.”
Starting in 2011, Six Nations fans were in for a magical summer as their Rebels team, which consisted of young talent such as Chris Attwood, Brandon Montour, Vaughn Harris and Jake Bomberry were simply dominating the competition.
“I wanted to play for the Rebels or Arrows,” Bomberry said. “Once I got a taste of the Rebels organization, it made me want to continue to play for them. It was a brotherhood and not just guys from all over the place. It was fast paced, in your face lacrosse.”
Bomberry, who played for the Rebels from 2009-2014, also stated, “I think the thing that made us so good is that we were always together, always wanted to get better and we worked hard at it. Nothing was easy. We all had each other’s backs and never gave up.”
Among the young talent on that 2011 team was defenseman Lucas Smith who was playing in his first full season with the Rebels.
“We were like brothers,” Smith said. “This (winning Founders) was a dream come true for sure. I have so many good memories.”
After finishing the 2011 season with a 19-1 record, Six Nations couldn’t be stopped in the playoffs as they started things off with best of five playoff sweeps against both the Wallaceburg Red Devils and Windsor Clippers. The Rebels then needed four games to get past the Elora Mohawks before defeating in the fifth and deciding game, the Halton Hills Bulldogs to win the Ontario Junior ‘B’ Championship.
“It felt great,” Lucas Smith said. “No better feeling.”
That year, the Rebels journeyed to Saskatoon where they emerged victorious as they defeated the Calgary Mountaineers 14-11 to win their first Founders Cup since 2008.
Showing that burning desire to repeat the Rebels dominated the following season with a 18-2 regular season before kicking off their title defense with back-to-back best of five series sweeps against the Niagara Thunderhawks and Orangeville Northmen. Following a semi-finals Game 5 win against the Wallaceburg Red Devils, the Rebels swept away the Akwesasne Indians to successfully defend the Ontario Junior ‘B’ Championship and qualify for the 2012 Founders Cup which was being held in Hagersville at the ILA.
“I do have a favorite,” Bomberry said about the Founders Cup victories. “The 2012 season, which would be my second cup was the most unforgettable. That year we lost our heart and soul Carney Johnson during the Ontario finals and managed to end up winning that and then going onto beat Akwesasne Indians in the Founders Cup final at the ILA. We did it for him, our fans and our community. It was an all native battle to the end and I’ll cherish it forever.”
In what was a historic moment in franchise history, the Rebels with a packed arena cheering them on defeated the Indians 8-7 to successfully earn that right to be called back -to- back Founders Cup winners.
Refusing to lose, the Rebels went a perfect 20-0 during the 2013 regular season before starting their post season quest for a third straight title. Once again, the Rebels simply dominated as they pulled off playoff sweeps against the Brampton Excelsiors, Niagara Thunderhawks, and Orangeville Northmen to reach the finals.
They might not have swept the finals, but Six Nations were fully in control as they defeated Green Gaels in four games to win their third straight Ontario Junior B championship.
Travelling to Winnipeg, the two- time defending champs weren’t willing to relinquish the cup as they defeated the Calgary Mountaineers 16-12 to lift their third straight Founders Cup.
Last year the Rebels made it to the Founders Cup gold medal game but lost a heartbreaking 16-15 decision against the Calgary Shamrocks. The Rebels are a proud organization who provide fans with entertaining and winning lacrosse.