This year’s version of the Six Nations Arrows has an opportunity to accomplish a first for the powerhouse organization. Since moving up to the Junior A ranks in 1990, the lacrosse squad, a perennial contender in its own Ontario league, has captured three national Minto Cup championships, including one last year.
But the Arrows have yet to win a Canadian title on their home turf. That could soon change as the Six Nations squad is hosting this year’s national tournament, beginning this Saturday.
British Columbia’s Coquitlam Adanacs will provide the opposition for the Arrows in the Minto Cup, a best-of-seven series. All of the matches will be staged at the Arrows’ home, the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena.
Being able to capture a national championship in Six Nations would be a significant feat.
“It would mean the world to us,” said Arrows’ general manager Jake Henhawk. “Our fans are everything for us. It would mean a lot for us to be able to win (a Minto Cup) at home.”
After winning the Ontario title last summer, the Arrows travelled to Coquitlam to square off against the Junior Adanacs to determine national bragging rights. Six Nations dropped the first two matches but then reeled off four consecutive victories to win the series.
Fifteen of the players on the Arrows’ roster were also on last year’s championship squad. Henhawk believes that experience will be a key this time around. “It will pay off very well,” he said. “You could see it in our own league playoffs and the leadership they brought.”
Henhawk also believes hosting the Minto Cup will be an advantage for his troops.
“I think having the boys sleep in their own beds will help a lot,” he said, adding he thinks his club will be much more prepared to start the series on a winning note.
The Arrows are led by goaltender Doug Jamieson, arguably the top Junior A netminder in the country. “Everybody raves about our offense,” Henhawk said. “But it is our defense and our goaltending that our team was built around. Dougie is our brick. He’s the one that holds this team together.”
Following Saturday’s Minto Cup series opener, Game 2 will be held on Sunday. Games 3 and 4 are scheduled for next Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.
If necessary, games 5 through 7 will be on August 27, August 29 and August 30.