ONONDAGA NATION _ Team Canada chairman Dean French does not hesitate when asked what he thinks of how the world indoor lacrosse tournament has been organized and run.
“I have been involved in six world championships as chairman of Team Canada and this, by far, is the most professionally run and organized world championship that I have ever attended,” says French. “The Haudenosaunee made a very wise decision in heading up the world championship by bringing on a specialized event management company to handle logistics. We’re all benefitting from that wise leadership decision by the Haudenosaunee.”
Similar sentiments are voiced by Team Canada director Johnny Mouradian, who sends a special thank you to organizer Oren Lyons and all of the volunteers who have been so accommodating.
“It all starts at the top,” he says. “Onondaga Faithkeeper Oren Lyons and his committee that did the planning did it right.
“The event management company they brought in, Honeysweet Productions headed by executive producer Erick Weiss, has done a spectacular job. As for the athletes’ facilities at the arenas and the players’ meals, all of which was sponsored by the Bill Belichick Foundation, everything has been first class for our athletes.”
Langley, B.C., is interested in staging the next world boxla tournament in 2019. There were 13 entries this year and Mouradian expects as many as 20 will want to play in four years given growing club registrations in Europe. It all started with four entries in 2003 with the tournament in southern Ontario to fulfill a vision by Stan Cockerton, Jim Calder and others of growing the indoor game. Priority to that, the international federation was strictly a field lacrosse group. Cockerton, from Oshawa, Ontario, now is international president.
“The bar has been set high here,” says Mouradian.
The world indoor tournament was held in southern Ontario in 2003, Halifax in 2007 and Prague in 2011. Players are happy with this one.
“It’s been first-class all the way,” says forward Stephan Leblanc. “Not to say that Prague wasn’t a once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s been a surprise and a delight since we’ve come here. We’ve been treated so well. There are no complains on our end, for sure.”
“It’s fantastic,” said forward Curtis Dickson. “It’s been very well-run, very professionally done. I experienced the Denver (world field tournament) last summer and it is similar. They’ve been gracious hosts and I’m sure that is going to carry on through the weekend.”
A visit to the wooden stick-making facility of Alfred Jacques started the week for Canada’s team and there have been no problems since that memorable morning.
“This is a tremendous experience,” says defenceman Kyle Rubisch. “Everyone has been so welcoming. We’ve been learning about the culture and the traditions of the people. Hopefully, we can accomplish our goal in the next round of the tournament.”
Forward Shawn Evans offers his take on things: “This is a great tournament, starting with the opening ceremonies. We’re seeing a lot of new countries here and we’re bonding with them. It’s been a great time, meeting new people from different countries. It’s always a great experience.”
Defenceman Ryan Dilks: “From the moment we got here they’ve provided everything for us. It’s more than I ever expected. It couldn’t be better. I’m with a great group of guys. The tournament organization has been great. People go out of their way to get what we need between games. The water, the snacks . . . and they’re even providing the banana sandwiches we love before games. It’s always there. We never have to ask twice. It’s been great.”
There is a tent city beside the arena and each team has an area.
Forward Mark Matthews: “It’s awesome. This tent is a lot better than anything they’ve had at other world championships I’ve played in. All the athletes are together. Everybody eats together. It’s a lot of fun.”
“I’ve not heard a negative word,” he said. “Usually, you hear something negative. Not this time. The tournament is organized so well, transportation for the teams is great, everyone seems to be going out of their way to make this a wonderful experience for the teams and players, and the lacrosse has been great. We could not ask for more. Life is good.”