On Friday, March 3, the Buffalo Bandits celebrated Native American Night at the Keybank Center in Buffalo, New York. Adding to the festivities, the Bandits defeated the Rochester Knighthawks 13-9 for their third consecutive win this season to stay in third place in East Division of the National Lacrosse League.
The Buffalo Bandits have partnered with the Native American Community Services of Erie and Niagara Counties (NACS) to honor the Haudenosaunee origins of the game. A portion of Friday night’s ticket sales will go toward NACS’s programs and services, which include health and wellness, family services and workforce development in the Buffalo-Niagara region.
The Buffalo Bandits roster includes three Haudenosaunee players, including Alex Kedoh Hill (Mohawk Six Nations), Craig Point (Mohawk Six Nations) and Brier Jonathan (Tuscarora Nation), as well as assistant coach Rich Kilgour (Tuscarora Nation).
“NACS is proud of our partnership with the Bandits and we appreciate the respect they’ve shown the Native community throughout the years,” said NACS executive director Michael Martin (Onondaga Six Nations). “We’d like to extend our thanks to the Bandits director of lacrosse operations Scott Loffler for his dedication to an ongoing collaboration that builds bridges and understanding between our communities in a very positive way.”
The Buffalo Bandits kicked off the evening with an opening ceremony in a packed arena that acknowledged the region’s Native community with a thundering ovation. The festivities included a Native color guard accompanied by Seneca Nation president Todd Gates, a video exploring the origins of the game, special recognition of Native American veteran Eugene Porter, (Mohawk Six Nations) and the presentation of a $1,000 scholarship to Nicole Printup (Tuscarora Nation.)
Half-time featured Haudenosaunee Smoke Dancers and a scrimmage between minor lacrosse teams, the Tuscarora Thunder and the Newtown Golden Eagles.
After Friday’s victory over Rochester, Buffalo Bandits player Alex Kedoh Hill was awarded Most Valuable Player. With an average attendance of approximately 16,000 per game, the Buffalo Bandits are one of the most popular teams in the National Lacrosse League.
“Lacrosse is the game of the creator and is a medicine game to us,” said Martin. “As Haudenosaunee, it is a part of who we are, and we’re proud to share our game with the world.”