By Janice Huckin (ISN)
September 4, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – After a long – too long – hiatus, the Victoria Shamrocks are going to host the Mann Cup at Bear Mountain Arena beginning this Friday, September 6. The visitors will be the Six Nations Chiefs who last won the coveted Canadian championship in 1996, the last of a 3-year run for the team.
Incidentally, the losing team in that 1996 series was the Victoria Shamrocks as they were swept in 4 games.
What do we know about the Six Nations Chiefs? Well, they finished first in the Major Series Lacrosse league and they swept Kitchener-Waterloo in the semi finals and the Brooklin Redmen in the finals to get here. Where is Six Nations? Hmmm Six Nations is the largest First Nation in Canada and the only territory in North America that has the six Iroquois nations living together. The acreage at present covers some 46,000 acres near the city of Brantford. I found this out on Google so – I’m really not any further ahead but I tried. The arena they normally play out of is located in Hagersville, Ontario.
As far as the team goes, obviously they have a strong record coming into the Mann Cup. There are a few names on the roster that will be familiar to Victoria fans. Former Shamrock Ian Llord suits up for the Chiefs; Ian and his brother Derek both spent a season or two here a few years ago. A very familiar name will be that of Colin Doyle. Yes – DOYLE!!! One of the older players still active, Doyle will turn 36 during the Mann Cup. Most Victoria fans will remember him as a member of the Coquitlam Adanacs, although he has also played for Brampton and just about anyone who can afford him I guess. He is a long-time member of the Toronto Rock of the NLL, returning there after being traded to the San Jose Stealth. Doyle, along with Cody Jamieson and Craig Point have been the top scorers in MSL post-season with Jamieson being named the MSL playoff MVP. Goaltending is handled by 26 year-old Evan Kirk, a star with the NLL’s Minnesota Swarm. Of course, Matt Vinc played with Six Nations prior to coming west to join the Shamrocks so there won’t be a lot of mystery there.
The Rocks are expected to have Jesse King in the line-up at least for the first few games as he has been given permission from Ohio State University to return. Brody Eastwood is an unknown as I write this but don’t put it outside the realm of possibility that he will also return.
Some things you may see in the Mann Cup: wooden sticks being used by players other than goaltenders. Yes, it’s possible in the Mann Cup. Officials from Ontario will participate along with BC referees. That should be interesting to say the least as many fans had trouble understanding the BC refs during the league finals. Whatever. The series will no doubt be a physical one so it’s probably a very good thing that the Rocks in particular (because we like them better) have had a week-long respite to rest various aches and pains. Let’s face it – if you’re not a little battered and bruised at this point of the season, you probably haven’t been playing lacrosse.
The last WLA win was in 2005 when the Shamrocks beat Peterborough in their first season at Bear Mountain Arena so it’s been a long drought. Certainly long enough. Bear Mountain Arena will be jumping, there’s no doubt about it. Hopefully if you can’t get to the games, webcasts will be available (I’m not sure about that but someone is probably carrying it). For those of us who will be in attendance – just one thing left to say: GO, ROCKS!!!!!!