IROQUOIS NATIONS CUP 2002 PREVIEW
by Ted Montour
The Iroquois Nations Cup, an annual event bringing together the finest players of the Creator's Game from across Turtle Island and the territories of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy (Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk and Tuscarora) comes this year to the seat of the Confederacy at Onondaga Territory, just South of Syracuse, New York.
The Onondaga Nation will be showcasing its brand-new arena, Tsha'Hon'nonyendakwha', which literally translates to "where they play games", from the 19th to the 22nd of September, 2002, featuring eight teams from Canada and the United States.
This tournament always attracts the top Iroquois box lacrosse players, who come to enjoy the camaraderie and social atmosphere of this summer season-ending event, not to mention the top cash prize of $5,000.
National Lacrosse League pros to look for include Mike Benedict (New Jersey Storm), Jon Tarbell and Mike Thompson (Ottawa Rebel) from Akwesasne, Cam (Storm) and Cory (Rochester Knighthawks) Bomberry, Kyle Jamieson (Columbus Landsharks), Ken "Monster" Montour (Buffalo Bandits), Kim Squire (Toronto Rock) and Dwayne "Dewey" Jacobs (Knighthawks) from Six Nations Grand River Territory, and Tony Henderson (Storm) from Cattaraugus, as well as the homeboys like Neal Powless (Landsharks), Marshall Abrams (Knighthawks) and Gewas Schindler (Landsharks).
Eight teams have entered for this year, including two each from Akwesasne (Warriors and Kewanoke Eagles), Cattaraugus (Newtown Golden Eagles and 438 Rez Runners), Six Nations (Frog Pond Maulers I and II), Tonawanda Braves and the host Redhawks. Round-robin play in two divisions begins on Thursday night, with semi-finals and finals on Sunday.
NATIONS CUP WALLPAPER
Notwithstanding the fact that the NLL dispersal and entry drafts are being held in Toronto on the same week-end, we hope to see some NLL coaches and scouts in attendance. Mike Thompson, a goal-tender from Akwesasne, and Kyle Jamieson, a stylish play-maker and attacker from Six Nations, are two recent examples of players who showcased their talents at the Nations Cup. Given the mix of youth and experience on most teams, this will also be an occasion for college coaches to do some recruiting, as 17 year-olds are allowed in this year's tournament. The lacrosse is first-rate --- there is no better event for a new-to-box-lacrosse fan to learn about the game --- and the competition is friendly, but fierce. This is, after all, "the little brother of war".
There is also a good chance that the Tewaarathon Trophy, awarded annually to the top male and female U.S. collegiate lacrosse players, will be on display during the week-end. Your 7 dollar daily ticket also gets you into the nearby music festival. Bring your lawn chairs!
Last year's Nations Cup had been slated to be held here as a fund-raiser for the Iroquois Nationals' participation in the Perth World Championships, but the building was not ready in time. But with the Under-19 Worlds coming up next year in Baltimore, and this beautiful 2,000-seat facility now up and running, everyone in attendance will get a second chance to contribute to the Nationals campaign.
The arena is easy to find. About 7 miles South of Syracuse proper, take Exit 16 North off of I-81 onto Route 11 to the Onondaga Reservation. The arena is less than a half-mile from the exit ramp. You can also find directions at www.redhawkslax.com, as well as some photos of the new building, suggested nearby hotels, and a page for Tournament results and stats.
For boxlax fans who can't wait for the 2003 NLL season to begin, and for any lacrosse fan who wants to enjoy the Creator's Game played by the latest generation of its originators, this is a must-see event.
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September 19, 2002