NLL players & prospects will compete in the 2014 Minto Cup Jr. A Championships at Langley Events Centre starting Aug. 16.
National Lacrosse League players and prospects will be on display at Langley Events Centre with the 2014 Minto Cup starting Saturday, Aug. 16. The Best-of-7 East vs. West series will feature some of the best junior A lacrosse players in the country.
The Minto Cup alternates between an Eastern and Western facility every year and is returning from a four-team tournament format to the more traditional best-of-seven series.
Two of lacrosse’s most storied junior franchises will meet in this year’s final. The East will be represented by the Six Nations Arrows, led by Rochester Knighthawks young star Johnny Powless, who defeated last year’s Minto Cup champion Whitby Warriors in the East final. For the West, it will be the Coquitlam Adanacs with top prospects for the 2014 NLL Draft in Eli McLaughlin and 2015 Draft in Wes Berg, after they beat the Calgary Mountaineers in the West final.
“The Langley Events Centre is very excited to be the host venue for the 2014 Minto Cup,” said LEC Director of Business Development Jared Harman. “This championship brings with it a lot of history and will provide fans the opportunity to see the best junior A lacrosse players in Canada. Both Coquitlam and Six Nations are highly skilled and it should be an exciting tournament to watch.”
The Arrows, from just outside Hamilton, Ontario have ran through their opponents in this year’s playoffs, winning 11 of 13 games, including a four game sweep of Whitby, outscoring the Warriors 44-22 in the East final.
Six Nations last appearance in the Minto Cup was in 2007, when they defeated Burnaby in the finals to capture their second ever title in franchise history.
This will be the seventh Minto Cup final appearance for The Coquitlam Adanacs. In 2010, the Adanacs defeated the Orangeville Northmen to win their first and only Minto Cup championship.
The Adanacs road to the final started with a three game sweep over the Victoria Shamrocks in the BCJALL semi-finals. The finals proved to be a much tougher task. Coquitlam met their BC rivals, the New Westminster Salmonbellies in a best-of-seven that went the distance. In the end, the Adanacs captured their sixth straight BC Junior A crown, to advance to the Western Final. In the final, Coquitlam beat the Calgary Mountaineers in four games to advance to the Minto Cup.
The last time these two teams met in the Minto Cup Final, it was 1992, when the Arrows won the final in a seventh and deciding game at the old Coquitlam Sports Centre. Coquitlam has won one Minto Cup and Six Nations has won two in their franchise’s history. The Adanacs are looking to even up the total, but know it’s not going to be an easy task.
“It'll be a test for us, said Adanacs head coach Neil Doddridge. “We're looking forward to playing what we're told is the best team in the country. New Westminster was apparently the best team in the country and we proved them wrong, so now we're looking to prove Six Nations wrong as well”.
One guy the Adanacs will need to pay close attention to is the Rochester Knighthawks' young star Johnny Powless, the Arrows' leading scorer. He missed all of the regular season due to injury, but came back in time to lead the league in playoff scoring.
“The offense runs through Johnny; he’s been an elite player on the NLL scene for three years now, winning three championships with Rochester, said Doddridge. “He’s a great player to watch and the fans in BC are really lucky to get to see him play."
Six Nations is making their first Minto Cup final in six years but have looked strong in the postseason, winning eleven of thirteen games.
“The biggest difference from last year’s team to this year’s is our transition game and our defense," said Arrows General Manager Jake Henhawk. “Last year, the guys relied more on their skill and offense, hoping the goalies would make the saves when needed to, but this year it's been an all-around effort and everybody bought in. That's what got us past Whitby in four quick games."
Having finished their series early, the Arrows were able to watch Coquitlam play Calgary in the Western Final, and know the Adanacs are a team with some weapons.
“There definitely not a team to be taken lightly,” said Henhawk. “We know Neil (Doddridge). He knows the game very well. Their captain, Wes Berg is a big athletic righty, Tyler Pace is another good one, as well as (Eli) McLaughlin. We have a similar style of play. I think it will come down to who executes their game plan better."
Johnny Powless (Six Nations & Rochester Knighthawks)
Don Alton (Six Nations & Philadelphia Wings)
Wenster Green (Six Nations & Rochester Knighthawks)
Peter Dubenski (Coquitlam & Calgary Roughnecks)
Taylor Northway (Coquitlam & Rochester Knighthawks)
NLL draft prospects:
Eli McLaughlin (Coquitlam- eligible for 2014 NLL Draft)
Wes Berg (Coquitlam- eligible for 2015 NLL Draft)