Saturday, 27 April 2013
My first year with CLax is done. I got to a few games; reconnected with some old lacrosse friends; made a few new ones; got to do a bunch of the stuff I like to do; created more projects for myself than I had time for in one season. And I was reminded why I fell in love with The Creator’s game in the first place.
What follows is not something I wrote. When I first got involved in the game one of my players shared this with the team. I suspect it was originally written by a hockey player. And so, with apologies to the original and a little rewording…
Why do we play lacrosse? … from one of the boys
We are… the most intense, physical, enthusiastic group of athletes in the world. We would do anything just to be able to tell our teammates a great story in the dressing room. We live the dream until we turn 35 (or maybe even 40)…and then realize we never quite made it. Ladies love us. Guys want to be us. We are the soul of the universe.
We put on the gloves, strap on the helmet, grab our stick and walk on to the floor. Nothing else matters. It doesn’t matter that you failed a test, your family is being “difficult” or that you got a ticket on the way to the game. Your world is perfect for the next couple of hours.
Here’s to face-offs, goal & assists, overtime, penalties, hot sweaty rinks, early mornings & late nights, breakaways, suicides, going behind the back & around the world; countless hours of practice; big hits, broken sticks, new gear, dropping the mitts; coaches & trainers & equipment guys; adding the letter “y” to the end of everybody’s name; the word “****” (you figure this one out); pick-ups, stick-to-stick, miracles and most of all- the Creator’s game.
Why do we run back & forth every night; running so hard that we want to throw up? Running so hard your heart beat rings in your head, while your lungs are gasping for air? Broken bones, torn muscles, groin pulls and big ugly bruises. We play through it all.
Because we live on adrenaline; because the game frees your spirit; because the party in the locker room is second to none; because you are invincible once you step onto the floor; because one shot can make you smile all night…and for days to come.
And because the sweat hitting the floor is a rhythm to live by. Because it’s possible to play hard enough to leave all your worries behind.
Why would anyone push themselves so hard? It’s not for the money. It’s not for the fame.
We play because we love it…and that is enough.
Congratulations to this season’s winners, the Iroquois Ironmen. They did what good teams do. But also to every player who accomplished a personal goal; got to play with their best pal for the first time; learned a new move; played the game the way it was meant to be played. You are all winners!
And my personal thanks for all the coaches, support staff, referees, league officials, game day staff and anyone I forgot. You guys make sure the players get to do what they do and I know they appreciate your hard work and dedication. Having done team & game day stuff for the past 8 summers I have a real appreciation for what it takes to get a team on the floor.
But most especially thanks to the volunteers who helped for the same reason the players play…because you love the game just as much.
I look forward to my second season and getting a bunch of stuff on my “To-Do” list done. No games over the next few months but lots to do. Of course there will still be time for lots of lacrosse games and hopefully I will run into a few of you along the road.
Sunday, 21 April 2013
In front of a hometown crowd, the Iroquois Ironmen defeated the Toronto Shooting Stars by the score of 14-11 to be crowned the 2013 Canadian Lacrosse League Creator's Cup Champions.
Iroquois scored five time on their first seven shots against Toronto starter Gary Muzzin leading 5-0 with 6:47 left in the opening quarter. Muzzin was replaced by backup Craig Robertson.
The Ironmen would go up 6-1, before Toronto closed out the quarter with two goals in the final thirty-seconds, cutting the lead to 6-3 at the end of 15 minutes.
The Ironmen offense would continue to roll in the second quarter as they outscored the Shooting Stars 6-2 to take a commanding 12-5 lead at the half.
Jake Henhawk would put Iroquois up 13-5 five minutes into the third quarter, before Toronto rallied to score four of the next five goals trailing 14-9 going into the final quarter.
The Shooting Stars would continue to rally, adding two more goals in the opening three minutes of the fourth quarter making it a three-goal game 14-11. Despite being held scoreless in the final 15 minutes, Ironmen starter Jake Lazore would stand tall registering nine saves in the final 10 minutes for his third straight postseason victory.
Leading the Ironmen offense was Josh Johnson who recorded two goals and four assists. Chris Attwood contributed with one goal and four assists while Travis Hill (3G, 1A), Elijah Printup (2G, 2A) and Torrey VanEvery (2G, 2A) all added four points. Rounding out the Iroquois scoring were Jason Henhawk (2G, 1A), Elijah Johns (1G, 1A), Dewey Porter (1G), Kyle Jamieson (3A), Blue Hill (2A), Kraig Maracle (2A), Mike Attwood (2A) and Lloyd Chrysler (1A).
Josh Wasson led the Shooting Stars with five points adding one goal and four assists. Connor Daly and Josh Ruys both added two goals and one assist. Mack O'Brien and Aaron Grayson chipped in with two goals each, while Joel Wasson rounded out the scoring with a single marker.
Lazore turned aside 39 of 50 Toronto shots he faced for the victory. Muzzin suffered the loss allowing 10 goals on 36 shots.
* Travis Hill was named Championship MVP. In the final he led the Ironmen with three goals and one assist. In the postseason he registered 12 points adding seven goals and five assists. This weekend
* Chris Attwood became the first CLax player to record 150 career points (72 goals, 85 assists in regular season & playoffs)
* The Canadian Lacrosse League honoured Wray Maracle, Larry "Wamper" Power, and Tim Prothero for their dedication and commitment to the league.
|Ironmen captain Kyle Jamieson accepting the Creator's Cup trophy|
Travis Hill was named Championship MVP. In the final he led the Ironmen with three goals and one assist. In the postseason he registered 12 points adding seven goals and five assists.
Saturday, 20 April 2013
For the second straight season, the Ironmen will play for the Creator's Cup title, while in their inaugural season the Shooting Stars will look to join the Toronto Argos and bring a second championship to the City of Toronto in the past year.
In the opening semi-final, Iroquois jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, before Niagara battled back to tie it 5-5 early in the second quarter. The Ironmen led 9-7 at the half and 12-10 after three quarters.
In the fourth quarter, the Lock Monsters scored four unanswered goals to take a 14-12 lead with 7:20 left in regulation, their first lead of the game. Iroquois would answer back with the next two goals including a shorthanded marker by captain Kyle Jamieson tying the game 14-14 with 4:52 remaining.
Jon Arnold would put Niagara up 15-14 with 2:42 on the clock, but that would be short lived as 30 seconds later the Ironmen's Dewey Porter added a power play marker to even it 15-15 sending it overtime.
Just 1:36 into the overtime, Iroquois' Kraig Maracle played hero as he beat Niagara goaltender Grant Crawley short-side for the game-winner.
Leading the Ironmen was Josh Johnson who added four goals and two assists. Travis Hill contributed with three goals and two assists, while Chris Attwood (1G, 3A), Jerome Thompson (1G, 3A), Elijah Printup (4A) and Craig Attwood (4A) all added four points each. Rounding out the Ironmen scoring were Dewey Porter (2G, 1A), Kyle Jamieson (1G, 2A), Elijah Johns (1G, 2A), Mike Longboat (1G, 1A), Kraig Maracle (1G, 1A), Jason Henhawk (1G, 1A) and Blue Hill (3A).
The Lock Monsters were led by Kimbo Squire (2G, 4A) and Andrew Tober (6A) who both added six points each. Dylan Llord (3G, 2A), Jon Arnold (2G, 3A) and Corey Fowler (1G, 4A) all contributed with five points, while Andrew Potter chipped in with four points adding two goals and two assists. Rounding out the scoring were Kyle Goertz (2G), Bryan Neufeld (1G, 1A), Jason Mazachowski (1G) and Dan Williams (1G).
In goal, Ironmen's Jake Lazore registered 37 saves for the victory. Lock Monsters starter Connor Danko allowed nine goals on 27 shots before being replaced by Grant Crawley who gave up seven goals while collecting 24 saves in the loss.
In the second semi-final, both Toronto and Durham and battled it out right to the end. Durham led 2-1 after 15 minutes and took a 4-2 lead with 7:24 left in the half.
The Shooting Stars answered back with four straight goals, including back-to-back markers from CLax Transition Player of the Year Mack O'Brien, to take a 6-4 lead with 59 seconds left in the second quarter. Durham's Scott Defrancesco would close out the half with his third goal of the contest as Toronto led 6-5 after 30 minutes.
In the third quarter, Toronto would add two straight to take a 8-5 lead with 6:30 left in the quarter. The aggressive TurfDogs would battle back answering with three straight goals before the end of the quarter tying it 8-8.
Durham would take two more leads in the final quarter before Toronto rose to the challenge both times to tie it. With just over a minute remaining and the extra-attacker, Shooting Stars Jackson Gair would bury a shot past Durham starter Kevin Croswell sending it overtime.
7:18 into the overtime period, Toronto sniper Aaron Grayson would add the game-winner beating Croswell five hole, sending his team to the Creator's Cup final for the first time.
Leading the Shooting Stars was O'Brien who added two goals and three assists. Brian Croswell (1G, 3A) and Brad Levick (4A) both contributed with four points each. Rounding out the Toronto offense were Brad Mazzocato (3G), Grayson (2G, 1A), Gair (2G, 1A) and Geoff Griffiths (1G, 1A).
Durham was led by Defrancesco who finished with four goals and one helper. Tyler Tanguay and Shane Scott both added two goals and two assists. Rounding out their offense were John St John and Blake Kenny who added single markers.
In goal, Toronto starter Gary Muzzin recorded 41 saves for the victory. Croswell collected 48 saves in the loss.
Iroquois and Toronto play for the CLax Creator's Cup on Sunday, April 21st (2pm) at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena.
Fowler has been named the 2013 Clax Most Outstanding Player while VanEvery was selected as the 2013 CLax Most Valuable Player.
In his rookie campaign, Fowler helped lead the Niagara Lock Monsters to an 11-3 regular season record. He played in all 14 regular season contests registering 32 goals and 48 assists for 80 points, a new single season points record. Fowler also tied teammate Andrew Potter for a new single season assists record with 48. In his first game of his CLax career on Jan. 20th, Fowler recorded a career-high 11 points adding four goals and seven assists. Fowler was also named to the 2013 CLax All-Rookie First Team and Second Team All-Star.
"Corey was the best all around player in CLax this season," said Clax Commissioner Paul St. John. "He really did it all, played tough defense, transitioned really well and was terrific offensively."
VanEvery had a breakout second season in the Canadian Lacrosse League. After putting up 28 points as a rookie in 2012 with the Iroquois Ironmen, VanEvery finished the 2013 season third in league scoring registering 41 goals (a new CLax single season goals record) and 27 assists for 68 points. He also led the league with 12 powerplay goals. Wayne had two six-goal performances and three five-goal games during the regular season. VanEvery was named a 2013 CLax First Team All-Star.
"Wayne played consistent throughout the season leading the Demons to a third place finish," said Clax Commissioner Paul St John. "After a preseason trade, he made an immediate impact with the Demons. Wayne is the type of player that can change a game quickly with his ability to put the ball in the net. He is another young CLax player with tremendous talent."
2013 CLax Major Awards:
Most Outstanding Player - Corey Fowler (Niagara Lock Monsters)
Most Valuable Player - Wayne Vanevery (Ohsweken Demons)
Goalie of the Year - Connor Danko (Niagara Lock Monsters)
Defensive Player of the Year - Ben McCullough (Brampton Inferno)
Offensive Player of the Year - Andrew Potter (Niagara Lock Monsters)
Transition Player of the Year - Mack O’Brien (Toronto Shooting Stars)
Rookie of the Year - Caleb Wiles (Barrie Blizzard)
Coach of the Year - Glenn Clark (Toronto Shooting Stars)
Official of the Year - Wayne Paddick
Friday, 19 April 2013
Semi-Final #1 - 1pm
1. Niagara Lock Monsters vs 6. Iroquois Ironmen
This week the Canadian Lacrosse League handed out their regular season awards which have been been dominated by the Niagara Lock Monsters, and rightfully so. The team set records for season wins, goals scored and saw individual records fall all across the board.
Leading the charge for Niagara are Corey Fowler and Andrew Potter who both were named to All-Star teams this year. with Potter was also being named the league's Top Offensive Player. Factor in first team all-star goalie, and the top goaltender of the year Connor Danko who tied the league record for wins, and the result is a forgone conclusion, no?
Not so fast. Yes, the Iroquois Ironmen only won four games all season. But the final two came when it counted most - the final week of the season when they needed two to clinch a playoff spot.
No surprise the biggest contribution has been from Chris Attwood, last year's CLax Most Outstanding Player, and holder of most of the records the Lock Monsters players broke this year. He has finally found his game after a lacklustre season. Factor in the addition of Hiana Thompson who finished the season with nineteen points in just four games, and Dewey Porter who scored four in the semi-final, and they will be hard to count out playing in front of the ILA faithful Saturday.
Semi-Final #2 - 4pm
2. Toronto Shooting Stars vs 5. Durham Turfdogs
Is there a more balanced attack in the Canadian Lacrosse League than that of the Toronto Shooting Stars? The leading points getters on the team (Aaron Grayson and Brad Levick - 43 points) finished 15th in the league. Every other team had at least one member ahead of these two. Look no further than the fact Derek Hopcroft is no longer with the club after joining the Buffalo Bandits of the NLL, and the team hasn't missed a beat. Mack O'Brien was named Transition Player of the League earlier this week and Glenn Clark was named Coach of the Year. While every other team in the league is easy to pinpoint one or two players to watch on defence, the Toronto Shooting Stars will have sixteen dressed on Saturday - their entire running roster.
The world of lacrosse is full of strange coincidences. None of them is more apparent than the goaltending situation in game two on Saturday. Angus Dineley was Toronto's goaltender all season, but was signed by the Philadelphia Wings of the NLL at the deadline.
To make room for the signing, the Wings released Kevin Croswell who was then signed by the Durham Turfdogs. And, yes, Croswell will likely get the start against the Stars on Saturday. Croswell instantaneously began staking a claim to the title of top goaltender of the year. Had he played more than two games, it is a convincing argument. Croswell finished the season 2-0 allowing just 14 goals on 85 shots for a goals-against-average just north of seven and a save percentage of .835 (both numbers were on pace for tops in the league). If anyone can stop the balanced attack of the Shooting Stars it will be Kevin Croswell.
He'll also get help from a great supporting cast including second-team all star defensive specialist, and captain, Mitch Dumont. Shane Scott erupted for five goals in the Turfdogs' quarterfinal win against the Brampton Inferno while Scott DeFrancesco is always a threat to have a massive game. Teams who forget about Nic Grasby or super-rookie John St John will have a long afternoon.
Yes, the two top seeds in CLax will face the two lowest playoff seeds. But these are two lower seeds who are clicking at the right time. On paper there are two easy victories for the top teams. However, lacrosse is played on turf, not paper. If the quarter-finals have taught us anything, expect two exceptional lacrosse games on Saturday afternoon.
NOTE: Final Four Weekend passes are now available for $20 for adults or $10 for students/seniors/elders. Children 12 and under will be admitted free with a paid adult (one per adult ticket, $10 otherwise). Weekend passes include admission to all three games, but not transportation or accommodations.
Single game tickets are also available for $10 for adults or $5 for students/seniors/elders. Children 12 and under are again free with a paid adult, $5 otherwise. All tickets are available through www.ticketpro.ca or at the door on gameday.
Fans wishing to stay overnight on Saturday are invited to check out the host hotel of CLax Final Four Weekend, the Hampton Inn Brantford. Fans can stay in the same hotel as players and league personnel for a special CLax price of $109. This includes a double-queen room, complimentary tea/coffee/fruit all day, a breakfast buffet from 6am to 10am, pool, fitness centre, hot tub and business centre facilities 24 hours a day. Visit www.hamptoninnbrantford.com for more information.
CLax Final Four Weekend is presented by Jack Astor's.