Rochester Knighthawks' Craig Point & Cody Jamieson joined by other NLL stars on the Iroquois Nationals. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)
The 2014 FIL World Lacrosse Championships got underway with a marquee opening matchup between Team USA and Canada with the Americans taking the first win of the tournament by a score of 10-7 on Thursday night in Commerce City, Colorado. A total of 17 National Lacrosse League players competed with a strong showing in the opener between the two teams that won the last two titles in the international competition taking place every four years. But there's a third team to keep a close eye on and it's the Iroquois Nationals with a roster full of NLL talent.
The Rochester Knighthawks are strongly represented on the Nationals, led by the 2014 NLL scoring champion and MVP finalist Cody Jamieson whose exploits in both field and box lacrosse are well-documented along with his passion for the game.
"It's just pride. Our Creator was the one who made this sport and gave it to us," Jamieson told The Canadian Press. "It's pride to know that we are playing the sport that was given to us by our Creator."
Jamieson is joined on the Iroquois squad by Knighthawks teammates Craig Point and Sid Smith, 2011 NLL MVP Jeff Shattler (Calgary Roughnecks), Brett Bucktooth (Vancouver Stealth), Jeremy Thompson (Edmonton Rush) along with four more Thompsons as Jeremy is joined by his brothers Jerome, Lyle and Miles and cousin Ty.
“It’s our way of life," Jeremy Thompson told the Denver Post. "It’s deep in our culture. In our cradle board, we are given a wooden lacrosse stick. We grew up playing since we’ve been walking."
Standouts at the University of Albany, Lyle and Miles were the first co-winners of the Tewaaraton Award given to the most outstanding collegiate lacrosse player after each of them broke the 22-year-old NCAA Division I single-season points record. Miles projects as a top pick for the 2014 NLL Entry Draft in late September.
With a talent-laden roster full of current and future NLL stars, the Iroquois Nationals are playing for gold while representing Native American culture and achieving almost rock star-like status in the lacrosse community.
"That is something all my brothers have always said we wanted to do," Miles said. "We want to get more Native Americans to go use their talents but also embrace their ways, their roots."
"We are doing camps everywhere and trying to grow the game, our game, the best way we can," Lyle added.
Broadcast schedule for Iroquois Nationals at World Lax 2014 (All times Eastern)
Fri, July 11 • 10 p.m. • England vs. Iroquois • ESPN3
Sat, July 12 • 4 p.m. • Japan vs. Iroquois • ESPN3
Sun, July 13 • 10 p.m. • Iroquois vs. Canada • ESPNU
Mon, July 14 • 10 p.m. • Iroquois vs. Australia • ESPN3
Tue, July 15 • 7 p.m. • Iroquois vs. USA • ESPNU
For more information on the Iroquois Nationals, visit their website at iroquoisnationals.org