Iroquois Nationals Capture Silver Medal at World Indoor Lacrosse Championship

Iroquois Nationals Capture Silver Medal at World Indoor Lacrosse Championship

Sam Laskaris

The Iroquois Nationals once again returned with some hardware from a world lacrosse tournament.

But the celebration was somewhat tempered by the fact the club had to settle for a silver medal at the world indoor (box) lacrosse championships, which concluded on Saturday in the Czech Republic capital of Prague. Canada defeated the Iroquois Nationals 13-6 in the gold-medal contest.

"We're not 100 percent satisfied with the silver," said Iroquois Nationals' general manager Ansley Jemison. "It was definitely a disappointment to win that. We felt we had put together a team that was capable of winning the gold medal."

This marked the third time the Iroquois Nationals finished in the runner-up position to the Canadians at  this world tournament.

The host Canadians had edged the Iroquois Nationals 15-14—in overtime—at the last global tourney, staged in Halifax in 2007. Canada had also soundly beaten the Iroquois Nationals 21-4 at the inaugural tourney in 2003, held in the Canadian city of Hamilton. Though not content with the color of the medal they captured, Jemison added team members were thankful they were able to compete in Prague.

That's because the Iroquois Nationals had a well documented passport snafu which prevented them from participating at the world field lacrosse tournament in England last summer.

Officials from the United Kingdom prevented members of that team from entering England with their Haudenosaunee passports. As a result, the Iroquois Nationals, who were also considered medal contenders for the world field tournament, were forced to withdraw from that event.

Oneida Nation Representative and CEO Ray Halbritter, who was a part of the three person delegation in Prague with the team, expressed his pride in the team’s accomplishments: "The Oneida Indian Nation joins all of Indian country in extending our congratulations to the Iroquois Nationals for winning a silver medal in the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship. We take great pride in the teamwork, determination and skill displayed throughout the tournament by the Iroquois Nationals, as those are the values that have been passed along by our people for generations.”

Oren Lyons, Onondaga Faithkeeper and a former All-American lacrosse goalie, said, “When you talk about lacrosse, you’re talking about the lifeblood of the Six Nations.  The game is ingrained into our culture and our lives.”

As for this year, officials from both the Czech Republic and Switzerland—where the Iroquois Nationals had connecting flights to Prague—allowed team members to travel with their Haudenosaunee passports.

"That was amazing," Jemison said. "That was certainly appreciated and we thank the Czech Republic officials for all they did for us. "The Iroquois Nationals were on a roll at the eight-team tournament in Prague, up until they squared off against the Canadians in the gold-medal tilt.

The team thumped Ireland 23-3 in its opener and followed that up with a convincing 25-5 triumph over the host Czechs. The Iroquois Nationals then edged the United States 11-10 in their final round-robin contest.

Then, another meeting with the Czechs ensued, and the Iroquois Nationals won that battle 19-6 to earn a spot in the championship final. Iroquois Nationals' coach Duane Jacobs believes the better team did win the final.

"You look at (Canada's) lineup and they had all pro players," he said. "We had half."

Like Jemison, Jacobs said team members are not content with their second-place finish.

"I don't think anybody is satisfied getting the silver," he said. "But it is what it is and we move on."

Two of the Iroquois Nationals' players, Cody Jamieson and Sid Smith, were also singled out for their efforts at the tournament. They were among the six players named to the event's all-star team. Also, Jamieson, who scored 22 points, including 16 goals in five games, was chosen as the top transition player at the tournament. And Smith was selected as the top defenseman.

Jamieson also expressed a bit of disappointment returning home with a silver medal instead of gold.

"Our expectations were higher than what we got," he said.

Jamieson added team members were thrilled being able to participate in the world tournament without encountering any travel (passport) problems. "That was a positive right off the bat," he said.

“We have always been proud of the fact that lacrosse was one of the many gifts the Creator gave to the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), and now thanks to the Iroquois Nationals, people across the globe are able to see for themselves the tremendous pride we continue to take in this important tradition,” Halbritter said.  “One of the lessons we reaffirmed from this experience is that through perseverance and integrity  American Indians can accomplish great things, from recognition of sovereignty to winning the silver medal in the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship."

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