Written By: Andrew McKay
Canada’s motto at the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship was “we’re not here to defend; we’re here to win.” The Canadians lived up to that motto Sunday, dismantling the Iroquois 13-6 to win the world title for the third time in a row.
There was some trepidation after the Canadians needed overtime to beat the Iroquois in 2007, but the 2011 final was over before the first half ended. After a sluggish start, Canada’s transition game bludgeoned the Iroquois, en route to a 6-1 first-half lead that effectively put this one away.
Goaltender Matt Vinc was named MVP, but the real honour could have gone to the coaching staff of Ed Comeau, Derek Keenan, and Paul Day, who set out to build a team instead of a group of all-stars. As a result, Canada fielded a formidable defence, team-oriented scorers, and goalies who could check their egos at the door.
In retrospect, it might have been better if the Americans had been in the gold medal game. Team USA played Canada much tighter on Friday, with Canada earning a 15-10 win.
The only reason the americans had to face Canada in the semis instead of the final was a 1-goal loss to the Iroquois earlier in the tournament – one which saw USA lose a 7-4 lead after a stupid penalty by Jack Reid gave the Iroquois an extended power play. Outside of that, and a glaring weakness in net, Team USA looked to be the second-strongest of the tournament. Instead, they went home with bronze, again.
Canada’s win also capped an amazing 13 day for Colin Doyle, Sandy Chapman, Patrick Merrill and Stephan Leblanc, who captured the National Lacrosse League Championship on May 15 with the Toronto Rock.
So what’s the legacy of this week in Prague? The host Czechs surprised everyone with not only a fourth-place finish, but strong performances by homegrown players. Ireland coach Jeff Dowling said on Saturday’s broadcast that he expects to be back behind the bench in 2015. The Americans will benefit if the proposed North American Lacrosse League gets off the ground – especially if it can develop a goaltender.
Coming into the 2011 WILC, there were questions about the tournament’s viabilitiy on the world stage. Those seem to have been answered, as has any question about which country is best in the world. Now, maybe more than ever, that country is Canada.
Source: Indoor Lacrosse
Written By: Neil Stevens
Lacrosse is Canada’s official national summer sport but Canada’s team hasn’t encountered a single representative from the country’s media in the Czech capital to cover its quest for a third straight world indoor championship. Team officials regret that, in their view, the players do not receive the attention that their commitment to representing Canada merits. “Canadian lacrosse players are some of the best athletes in the world,” says Team Canada executive director Dean French. “They compete at a gold-medal level and I’d like to think that’s newsworthy.” Team Canada captain Colin Doyle says he appreciated the media coverage his Toronto Rock team received during its run to the National Lacrosse League pro title May 15.
“It felt for a week like we were the Maple Leafs or the Raptors or the Blue Jays because there was a lot of focus on that game and the excitement leading up to it,” Doyle said before Canada played Australia on Monday. “The media jumped on board 100 per cent and it was busier than I’m used to. “It was flattering for the game of lacrosse to see that much media before and after the game. It was awesome and I think the sport deserves that, but I don’t live in a fantasy world where I expect that to last forever.”
It certainly did not.
“I think it’s a sad reality that probably for the most part nobody knows we’re here,” says Doyle. “Maybe even if they did it would be tough to find money in the budget to send people here to cover this just because of what this is _ a work in progress. “It would be great to see media covering this but at the end of the day it is what it is. Selling it to them would have been a lot easier if it had been in Canada but we’ve had it in Canada twice and we didn’t get a ton of coverage there either. I’m kind of used to it. I’m not sour about it or upset about it. I just come to the understanding that this is the way it is.”
Those involved in the sport will be the first to admit that it has not always been organized efficiently and that some players were not worthy of being viewed as serious athletes but the reality is that the sport is in a different place now than it was 25 or more years ago.
The NLL has just completed its 25th season, lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports in North America and, as French pointed out, some of the best athletes in the world are participating in this third world indoor tournament.
Dr. Rardi van Heest of New Westminster, B.C., is Team Canada’s doctor. She’s a former national ski team member and a new lacrosse fan.
“I think lacrosse is one of the most exciting sports I’ve ever seen,” she says. “I’m a convert. I love it.”