NLL PLAYERS CONTRIBUTING TO CANADIAN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
August 15, 2023By: Anna Taylor
If you’ve ever wondered what NLL players get up to during their offseason, we have an answer for you: they’re still playing lacrosse.
Some choose to exercise different skills and play field lacrosse, but many more retreat up to Canada to play summer box lacrosse.
For Canadian lacrosse players, summer means national championships. From peewee to senior A, playing for a national championship is a rite of passage. They’re not just for kids with big dreams; even players who have already made their professional dreams come true return home in the summer to play for the pride of their communities and families.
A lot of players turn into coaches, too: either for their own kids or for everyone’s kids. Jr. A and Sr. A teams are littered with NLL players behind their benches. Dan MacRae, for example, is the head coach of the Jr. A Burlington Blaze. Kevin Brownell and Alex Crepinsek are assistant coaches. Paul Day is the general manager of the Sr. A Peterborough Lakers, and directs head coach Mike Hasen and assistant coach Tracey Kelusky.
Read on to learn about three levels of the upcoming Canadian championships and find out which team your favourite players are representing.
Mann Cup – Sr. A Championship
September 8 – 17, 2023 Location TBD
Fans at every level of Canadian lacrosse will tell you that their trophy is the most prestigious, but it’s hard to argue that the Mann Cup isn’t the true crowning jewel on most players’ resumes. Sr. A lacrosse is the top level in the country, which is why over 150 NLLers joined Sr. A rosters this summer to try to win this trophy.
The Mann Cup began as a challenge cup for field lacrosse in 1910 before box lacrosse took over in 1932. The trophy was donated by Sir Donald Mann, a pioneer of Canada’s railway. The gold-plated cup was last appraised in 1999 at $60,000. You can imagine how much its value has increased in the last 20 years due to inflation!
The Mann Cup is a seven-game series between the winners of Major Series Lacrosse (Ontario) and the Western Lacrosse Association (British Columbia), switching provinces each year. This season, it will be hosted by the winner of the WLA.
Akin to the Stanley Cup, players who win the Mann Cup are able to take the trophy to their hometowns for celebrations. Since it features a cup on top, many beers and much champagne have been consumed from it. Some folks have even eaten poutine from it.
Current playoff picture
In the MSL, the Peterborough Lakers will face the Six Nations Chiefs in the final. It is the seventh time in the last eight seasons the teams have played in the final, with the Lakers holding the 4-2 edge. That series begins on Monday, August 15th.
The Lakers are the defending champions; they’ve won the last four Mann Cups in a row dating back to 2017 (summer lacrosse was cancelled in 2020 & 2021). The Lakers want to be the first team to ever win five in a row.
In the WLA, the Langley Thunder will face the New Westminster Salmonbellies in a best-of-seven final series for the right to host the Cup, beginning Wednesday. Langley is the defending WLA champion.
New Westminster holds the record for most Mann Cup wins with 24. The Lakers are close behind with 18, with eight of those coming since 2004.
President’s Cup – Sr. B Championship
August 27 – September 2 Oakville, ON
Rather than a seven-game series, the President’s Cup is a tournament featuring a host team and the winners of six different leagues from Canada and the Northeastern United States. This year’s tournament is being held in Oakville, ON at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre. This league is one level below Sr. A.
The President’s Cup trophy “is in honour of the Canadian Lacrosse Association President and recognizes the contributions of all Past Presidents of the CLA. This beautiful silver trophy was donated to the Canadian Lacrosse Association in September 1964 by Mr. K.G. Thompson.” – CLA Website
Current playoff picture
The Ladner Pioneers represented the WCSLA last season and won the President’s Cup, and they’re looking to repeat as champs after beating Victoria 2-0 in a best-of-three final.
In the Three Nations league, Akwesasne is currently up 3-2 in a best-of-seven against Snake Island. Kahnawake has already earned a berth into the President’s Cup as the only team competing as a member of the Quebec League.
In Alberta, the Miners lead the Mounties 2-0 in a best of five.
Oakville is tied 1-1 against Six Nations with the deciding game three to be played on Wednesday. With Oakville hosting the President’s Cup, both teams are already in by default, but each wants to go in as champion.
Tuscarora leads Allegany 2-1 in Can-Am, with Game 4 set for Friday.
Whitby Warriors vs Miners Lacrosse Club during the 2022 Minto Cup.
Minto Cup – Jr. A Championship
August 21 – 27, 2023 Edmonton, AB
Four teams compete for the Minto Cup – the pinnacle of junior lacrosse – including one host team and three league winners from the Ontario Junior Lacrosse League, Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League and British Columbia Jr. A Lacrosse League.
The trophy was donated by Lord Minto, Governor-General of Canada from 1898-1904. The Cup was donated in 1901, but it was not officially used as the award for the national junior A championship until 1937.
Players in junior A are aged 16-21 and dream of playing in the NLL one day. There are only a handful of current NLLers still playing junior; many others will hear their name called at the NLL Draft on September 16thor in years to come.
Many teams are coached by current NLL players and coaches, like Robert Hope, Turner Evans, Jake Withers and Eric Shewell for the Peterborough Lakers, or Reilly O’Connor, Damon Edwards and Luc Magnan for the Toronto Beaches.
Current playoff picture
This year’s tournament will be hosted in Edmonton, with the Jr. A Miners as hosts. They defeated the Mounties 3-2 in the RMLL final, but both teams will play in the Minto Cup.
In Ontario, the Burlington Blaze defeated the Orangeville Northmen 4-2 after Orangeville had gone undefeated in the regular season. Philadelphia prospect Deacan Knott is the starter for Burlington.
In BC, the Coquitlam Adanacs (Adanac is Canada spelled backwards) will represent the west coast after defeating the Victoria Shamrocks in five games. Calgary’s Ethan Ticehurst is an assistant coach for Coquitlam.
Find your favourite players! Rosters from playoff teams are below. Click the links to find out who else played summer ball this year in each league.
Peterborough Lakers: (BUF) Bryce Sweeting, Joel Tayler, (CGY) Josh Currier, (COL) Robert Hope, Eli McLaughlin, (HFX) Colton Armstrong, Drew Hutchison, Jake Withers, (LV) Landon Kells, (NY) Kiel Matisz, Jay Thorimbert, (PHL) Holden Cattoni, Taite Cattoni, Blake McDonald, Alex Pace, Eric Shewell, Chad Tutton, (ROC) Turner Evans, Austin Hasen, Thomas Hoggarth, Matt Gilray, Mitch Ogilvie, Jordan Stouros, Thomas Whitty
Six Nations Chiefs: (ALB) Doug Jamieson, Ty Logan, (BUF) Dalton Sulver, (CGY) Liam LeClair, (COL) Tim Edwards, (GA) Brendan Bomberry, Bryan Cole, Shayne Jackson, Ryan Lanchbury, Jerry Staats, Jeremy Thompson, Lyle Thompson, (HFX) Tyson Bell, David Brock, Eric Fannell, Cody Jamieson, Randy Staats, Warren Hill, (NY) Mason Kamminga, Larson Sundown, (PHL) Sam LeClair, Ben McIntosh, (ROC) Tyler Biles, (SASK) Jamison Dilks, (SD) Kellen LeClair, Kyle Rubisch, Austin Staats, (TOR) Brad Kri
Ladner Pioneers: (CGY) Jeff Cornwall, Christian Del Bianco, Zach Herreweyers, Tyler Pace, (HFX) Ryan Benesch, Austin Shanks, (PCLC) Matt Beers, Phil Caputo, (SASK) Mike Mallory, (VAN) Owen Barker, Dean Fairall
Oakville Rock: (GA) Andrew Kew, Ryan Lanchbury, (SASK) Adam Jay, Dan Lintner, (TOR) Marley Angus, Josh Dawick, Jamison Dilks, Billy Hostrawser, Phil Mazzuca, Jordan McKenna, Nick Rose, Brandon Slade, Chris Weier
Six Nations Rivermen: (ALB) Jordan Durston, (BUF) Justin Martin, Dalton Sulver (HFX) David Brock, Oakley Thomas, (NY) Mason Kamminga, (TOR) Troy Holowchuk
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