Pre-season CLax showcase generates excitement

OHSWEKEN – Six Nations lacrosse fans caught a glimpse of the 2016 Ohsweken Demons on Sunday at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena as they and the Southwest Cyclops of Paris sent some of their veterans and hopefuls onto the floor, all seeking a spot on the 2016 Canadian Lacrosse League rosters in advance of the season opener, set for Friday, January 15th at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena against the Barrie Blizzard.

Two, two-period games were played back to back with this year’s head coach Roger Chrysler and new general manager Ron “Mouse” Henry evaluating as many prospects as they could fit into the lineup. The score really didn’t matter as both the Cyclops and Demons had a last look before making cuts from a very active training camp.

“Vince Hill moves into a league role that will see him assist with the continued success of both Jr. C-Lax and pro player development,” according to a media release.

Henry has spent two seasons in the Canadian Lacrosse League, winning a Creator’s Cup with the Iroquois Ironmen in 2013, and leading the Ohsweken Demons to the Creator’s Cup final last season.  Additionally, he has been involved with the NLL’s Buffalo Bandits, the Iroquois Nationals indoor team, and the Six Nations Chiefs.

“The Ohsweken Demons are one of the most successful teams in C-Lax history,” said Henry. “We will focus on continuing that success, and build on our tradition of winning.”

Chrysler is well equipped to take over the reins behind the Demons, having acted as assistant coach for the past two seasons.

“I’m looking forward to being back with the Demons as the Head Coach this season,” says Chrysler. “Obviously, there are big expectations for this team having reached the Creator’s Cup final in each of the last two seasons, and we are excited to get back on the floor and back to work.”

The game itself was at times emotional as players from both squads sought to show the brass what they have in both skill and toughness. Realistically, the Demons talent pool was considerably deeper than Southwest, however, there are only so many players each team can sign and the best Cyclops were very competitive as well.

It is going to be a bit of a transition for Henry in the general manager role, however, he is looking forward to the challenge.

“We have some positions to fill after a number of our veterans have either retired or moved on,” says Henry. “A few of our guys have signed with the NLL for this season, but especially at Six Nations, there is always great talent coming up to help fill those spots.”

He and Chrysler got a great opportunity to give a last glance at a few younger guys and they liked what they saw.

“We played everyone,” said Henry. “We had four goalies out so I know we will be pretty good in goal this year, but it’s going to be hard to replace guys like Wayne VanEvery, Roger Vyse and Tommy Montour, but, like I say, there is a lot of young talent coming up.”

Along with evaluating his own talent pool, Henry also had a chance to look over what Southwest is bringing to the table this coming season.

“I think some of our guys were surprised at the pace of the game on Sunday,” he adds. “Southwest plays a very fast game.”

As evidenced by the number of last year’s CLax players signing to NLL contracts (a total of 28) the caliber of CLax is very high indeed which has strengthened the relationship between the two leagues and speaks well of the CLax as a developmental league to the NLL.

Henry promises a slightly younger and possibly faster Demons team this coming season.

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