U19 Championships to open with celebration of Lacrosse roots

By TRT Staff

PETERBOROUGH — The opening ceremonies of the 2019 World Lacrosse U19 Women’s Lacrosse Championships will honour the origins of the sport within Indigenous nations alongside 21 additional teams. Canada hosts this tournament for the second time in 12 years.

The event officially opens on Wednesday, July 31 at 6 p.m. at Justin Chiu Stadium at Trent University. Over the next 10 days, 22 nations – including the Haudenosaunee – will compete in games at Trent and at Fleming College. Canada will defend its 2015 World Championship with Team Canada alumnus Allison Daley on the bench as associate coach.

“The modern game of lacrosse originated with the Haudenosaunee and has been played among them for centuries. It is known as Teiontsikhwa:’eks (pronounced Day yoon chee qwa ecks) meaning the “ball and stick” game, as well as Tewa’a:raton (pronounced Day wa awe law doo), meaning the “netted stick” in the Mohawk language. It was passed among different Indigenous nations including the Anishinaabe as a way to settle disputes and heal the body and mind,” wrote the press release.

“As a reflection of Indigenous communities who began this sport, we are opening our event with a focus on the people who first played this great game,” says co-chair Cheryl MacNeill, a Team Canada alumnus from 1987, who referees the sport around the world. “We are looking forward to seeing teams come together from six continents, many of them for the first time at games of this calibre.”

As history moved into the modern era, Canadians began playing lacrosse in record numbers. Today, field lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports in North America with a record number of teams playing in the women’s U19 games this summer. When Peterborough hosted in 2007, 11 teams competed with Team USA taking home the gold. Now twice as many teams will take to the field.

The Haudenosaunee will lead the teams entering the stadium, followed by 20 visiting teams in alphabetical order, accompanied by bagpipers. Team Canada will enter last. All teams will be introduced in English, French and Anishinabemowin then circle the stadium around the Armour Hill drum group.

Dancers from Curve Lake First Nation will perform after the athletes are seated. Elders from the same community will share a message, then conduct a smudging ceremony with senior officials, using smoke from burning herbs to purify their body and soul while bringing clarity to their minds. Afterwards, representatives from the coaches, players and officials will take an oath to do their best during the tournament.

“Trent University is honoured to be hosting this elite international championship for the second time – the first back in 2007,” said Dr. Leo Groarke, president and vice-chancellor of Trent University. “Lacrosse is a sport that has deep roots in Canada and in Peterborough. As a leader in Indigenous education, we also recognize the important traditional history of the sport and its impact across generations. We look forward to forging connections across borders and bringing communities together to experience Trent and Peterborough here at the World Lacrosse U19 Women’s Championships.”

The opening ceremonies are free for the public to attend. Seating will be limited so guests are encourages to come early to participate.

“The City of Peterborough is proud to host the 2019 World Lacrosse U19 Women’s Lacrosse Championships,” said Peterborough Mayor Diane Therrien. “It is our pleasure to welcome all of the players, coaches, officials and families that will be visiting our City. I hope you enjoy your time here and return to visit us again soon.”

Additional games will be played at Fleming College as well and the event’s final banquet will be hosted there on August 10.

“We are excited to welcome the 2019 World Lacrosse U19 Women’s Lacrosse Championships to Fleming College, and to showcase the many amenities our vibrant city and region have to offer,” said Maureen Adamson, president, Fleming College. “Connections with Indigenous communities are more essential than ever. Lacrosse was created by North American Indigenous people and Fleming College is pleased to celebrate a game that is a rich part of our country’s history. The opening ceremonies and games will be exciting moments for our city, our community, and the teams and their families who have travelled a great distance to be here.”

The full schedule for the games is available at 2019u19wclax.wordpress.com.

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