OHSWEKEN – GM’s and coaches for four of this year’s Ontario Lacrosse Association Sr. B franchises got an opportunity to watch this year’s hopefuls in game-situation plays last weekend as the Six Nations Sr. B Rivermen hosted a warm-up tournament at the Gaylord Powless Arena in Ohsweken, as they get ready for the 2014 season.
The Rivermen bench was overflowing with prospects and a few were weeded out by the end of the day, but there were still a lot of players at camp deserving of another look.
“We’ll be cutting four or five guys after this tournament,” said Rivermen head coach Stew Monture. “We’re well ahead of where we were last year at this time. Last year we had a tough time to floor a team. Now we have a few choices going into our first game.”
Enough players, in fact, to be able play two afternoon games back-to-back, plus a 5:30 game to allow all those at camp to play in game-like situation for the management and coaching staff to look over.
To others who played in both games, it was a test of their conditioning as well, according to Monture.
The Rivermen management team is not only looking for talent, but for those other intangible things as well, like attitude and game sense.
It is not going to be an easy lineup to break into this year with all but four or maybe five players from last year’s Rivermen returning, but even they will have to prove themselves.
The Six Nations Rivermen, who play on the hard surface of the Gaylord Powless Arena, had their inaugural season last year and made it to the President’s Cup where they lost against the St. Catharines Saints in a best of five series.
Many of the Canadian Lacrosse League’s Ohsweken Demons (CLax) winter league, will be finding a home with either the Major Series Six Nations Chiefs, last year’s Mann Cup winner, or the Sr. B Rivermen. But there are also available spots on the Six Nations Can/Am Slash roster.
Wayne VanEvery led the Rivermen offense last season with 60 points in 15 games.
Brenner Jonathan, Randy Johnson and Jeff Powless are in contention for the two remaining goaltending spots.
“After going to the Ontario finals last year, we gained a good reputation as a franchise with a winning tradition and a solid team right from the general manager to the water boy,” says Monture, “Guys like to see that.”
The new season begins this coming Friday night against the Ennismore James Gang, formerly Norwood, and Saturday night with the Sarnia Beavers. Both games are at the Gaylord Powless Arena with an 8 pm start. By then the final cuts will have been made and the lineup set.
Rounding out the seven team Sr. B league, along with the Rivermen, will be the Oakville Titans, Owen Sound North Stars, Brooklin Merchants, Ennismore James Gang, Sarnia Beavers, and last year’s President Cup winners, the St. Catharines Saints.