Finally, a big sporting event in Akwesasne, showcase of the Survivor’s Cup

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AKWESASNE – Just before Nepean and Mimico faced off on the turf of the indoor court Thursday afternoon, sound reinforcement veteran Thom Racine turned on his microphone.

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“Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, and, FINALLY, welcome to the Anowara’kowa Arena!” Racine said, and it had to be one of his best deliveries ever.

Over the past two days it has been very enjoyable for many to once again attend a sporting event at the “Turtle Dome”, the showcase of the U19 Survivor’s Cup which ends on Sunday afternoon.

With no current league youth can compete in due to COVID-19, the showcase is seen as a great opportunity and the only chance for them to show off their abilities this summer, an event designed to give junior B players and A – without playing in a league for two years – exposure and possibly being recruited by higher levels of play.

Earlier this month, the organizing committee released details of the event named in honor of those who attended residential schools in Canada, saying it will benefit various community groups as 75 percent of the proceeds will be donated. for benefits such as suicide prevention and mental health, among other programs.

“Nobody expected this (event),” said professional lacrosse player Jacob Ruest of Cornwall, one of the Nepean Knights’ coaches. “It all went so fast (reopening earlier this summer). “

Once it looked like it would be the game, Ruest said the children of the Knights organization were very excited; “We trained every day, we had very intense preparations for the last month.”

It’s finally the return of a high-caliber sporting event in a large lacrosse hall, and the opening ceremonies on Thursday evening, before the 7:45 p.m. prime-time game between the Akwesasne Indians and the Northmen of Orangeville.

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The showcase began on Wednesday night with the Akwesasne Indians taking on – and defeating 10-6 – an all-star team called TriNation, made up of players from multiple regions, including the First Nations Lacrosse Association and the Kahnawa: ke Mohawk Territory.

“We are grateful for this opportunity,” said tournament organizer Perry Blanchard. “What started out as an exhibition game discussion quickly turned into a five-team tournament, and a group of hardworking individuals have been planning the event since early June.”

Blanchard, of Cornwall, well known in local lacrosse circles for decades, said this week he was excited about the caliber of the players – and the coaches.

“We have very competitive coaches here,” said Blanchard, whose co-host is Rick Filion. “It’s a very intense (competition).

Greg Phillips leads the Akwesasne team, with Garrett Cree behind the Tri-Nations bench, and other coaches at the event include Troy Cordingley (Mimico), a former professional player and a former Buffalo head coach Bandits of the National Lacrosse League.

The last major lacrosse event at the site was three years ago, in August 2018, Akwesasne hosted the Founders Cup National Junior B Lacrosse Championship, becoming the venue – and having to scramble to organize the event – When the Seneca Nation territory just southwest of Buffalo in western New York State was removed as hosts for logistical reasons.

Organizers worked with elite athlete ‘return to play’ guidelines and other safety implementations overseen by the Akwesasne Mohawk Council and arena. Spectators are allowed inside the Anowara’kowa Arena but capacity is limited and fans are required to follow safety guidelines

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Friday will be a very busy day at the event, with Mimico and TriNation playing the first of four scheduled games, at 11 a.m. Orangeville and Nepean will hit the cement at 1:30 p.m., and TriNation and Orangeville will face off at 6 p.m.

And, before the 8:15 p.m. last drink between Nepean and Akwesasne, the New York State Section 10 lacrosse champions, the Salmon River High School Women’s Team, will be honored.

On Saturdays, Orangeville and Mimico play at 11 a.m., with TriNation and Nepean in costume at 2 p.m.

Then there will be a special exhibition game, the “Hickory Classic”, between the Snake Island Muskies and the Akwesasne Bucks. It pits two senior FNLA clubs against each other, a competition held to honor the wooden lacrosse stick and show appreciation for legends who played before the development of plastic and metal sticks.

All players will use handcrafted wooden lacrosse sticks, as machine-made plastic sticks will not be allowed on the playing surface. To make this game even more interesting – and more difficult – the tournament organizers announced that neither team would be allowed to play the modern “attack to defense only” style. It just means that players have to play at both ends of the pitch before a substitution can be made.

The 7 p.m. tournament match pits Akwesasne against Mimico.

Sunday is the closing day, and the third and fourth place teams will meet at 10:30 am.

The final match pits the teams in first and second place against each other, starting at 1 p.m.

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