One Step Forward To Take Two Back?

This summer was a real great one as it relates to lacrosse action across the Province.  The Ontario Lacrosse Festival was a huge part of it.  This thing just keeps getting bigger and bigger every year.  Some would even say too big.  But I disagree.  It can never get too big and as long as more and more kids are playing this great game, it is a good thing.  Sure there are always wrinkles to iron out, but this year was again a spectacular one.   Then we had the OLA final six which as I posted last week was an unbelievable display of lacrosse by  the best 18 teams from across Ontario.

So now we head to the last week where the Major Series is down to two teams (Brampton and Peterborough again), the Minto Cup is set to start this coming weekend with Coquitlam, BC, Edmonton, AB, Orangeville, On and Brampton, ON battling it out for Junior A supremacy in Canada.

All the while this is happening the Founders Cup is being contested in Edmonton, Alberta for the Junior B Championship of Canada..  And as much as this is a National Championship, I have to ask; what in god’s name were they thinking on how this tournament is being run?

First off, there are eight teams competing, three from Alberta, one each from Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and the ILA.  Is this a National Championship or an Invitational Tournament?  I understand that the days of a team from Ontario playing a team from BC for the National Championship are gone.  And that is great, because it shows that the other Provinces have grown lacrosse to the point that we can make this a National Championship.  However, three teams from Alberta?  I know they are the host and all, but come on.

And then there is the schedule.  I went to a tournament 2 years ago in Alberta with a Peewee team and the setup was exactly the same.  There were two groups of four that do not play each other.  They play the other group.  What does this do?  It encourages the teams to beat the hell out of others so that their goal differential (GF / GF + GA) is higher than everyone else’s.  It also does not give the teams the opportunity to create their own destiny.  Nothing infuriates a team more than hearing they do not advance and there really was nothing they could do about it, except beat someone worse than they did.

I made comments earlier this season about a Minor tournament here in Ontario doing the exact same thing in a schedule.  And there was uproar.  But this was a kid’s invitational tournament I was talking about.  Sure it cost money, but people drove and stayed over a night or two.  The Founders Cup doing the same thing?  Are you freaking kidding me? Teams have flown in from other Provinces, are staying for a week, with all of the related expenses to deal with this?  It is a disgrace to the game to see the teams from Port Moody BC, and Onondaga (the ILA) going to a bronze medal challenge at 3 wins and 1 loss, while another team is going to the gold medal challenge at 0 wins and 4 losses.  It is just a big old slap right in the face for trying to promote the game.

I mean no disrespect to the teams because they are just there to play the games.  But with this sort of thing happening, it is no wonder lacrosse is not taken too seriously across all of Canada.  And if the organizer / scheduler / whoever cannot see this sort of potential problem happening, please step aside and let someone who can see it, fix it.  Good lord it is not rocket science, and you do not need to be a Philadelphia lawyer to understand it.

I have read that the Founders Cup is being looked for potential changes in future years.  I would wholeheartedly agree.   As great a job as was done at the minor lacrosse level with the Nationals, and I am sure will be done at the Minto and Mann Cups this season, we took a huge step completely backwards with the Founders in 2009.

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8 Comments

  1. Gary, Not to worry, at teh CLA we in the box sector are working towards making it a true National Championship. I believe there are discussions in the works to have the host run the same format every year to be decided by the Box Sector at the CLA (which is made up of members from all MA’s).

  2. Hi Gary,

    Great comments! It seems we (Lacrosse in general) need to standardize formats for tournament play some how. We are entering the Masters “Nationals” this weekend in Brampton as a Sr team. There is only one out of province team, Calgary, there are 14 teams in 2 groups. Everyone plays 3 games vs teams in their group, I think there can be three teams in each group that go 3-0 the top 2 move on to the semis, resulting in the dreaded math (I hate winning or losing due to math).

    I think the rankings are done properly, however I think we should go back to the old type of tournament such as the NCAA basketball, 1v16, 2v15 and so on. The winners go one way the losers play for the “B” championship simple gotta win or your gone. I know this always has surprises but every game is a important game for both teams involved. I think we could have a third exhibition game for each of the teams knocked out early.

    JS

  3. Gary as you know Jr B is close to my heart . I have stopped myself from being too critical of the Edmonton group as I am not there and dont know the whole story . But as you alluded who in creations name put this together someones Aunty Flo with no idea about competition and the level of athleticism possesed by many of these players ,that will go on to College and pro/ Senior careers . Take note CLA there are a lot of unhappy campers .

    • OK- from a completely nuetral observer- Gaels got scr_ _ wed. Clearly the class of the tourney. Did anyone wonder what was going on when schedule was not issued till so late? Alberta set this up nicely. (We could all wish to set something up as nice as this) Enjoy your BS champioship Calagary

  4. da lax man
    how can you possibly call this a bs championship
    as i will first hand acknowledge the set up of the tournament was awful but in the end the two best teams of the tournament met in the finals and isnt that really the goal?being at the founders the mounties were clearly the class of the tournament other then the gaels and thouroughly deserved to be in the finals along side the gaels and no matter the set up that was what should have been the final result.
    and all you ontario whiners are taking the sweetness of this victory away from the calgary team although in the overall scheme of things the gaels may have been the better team on the night that mattered the big game the gaels crumbled at the hands of the mounties
    so tell me how did the gaels get screwed in this tournament they got their spot in the finals against the best contender and couldnt finish so please tell me where the screw job is?
    if anyone got screwed it was the kids from ila or port moddy that didnt get their chance to try for gold even though i doubt they would have made it there anways

    • I believe the controversy lies more in how they lost; with upwards of 4 goals getting called back on questionable calls for the Gaels, the 19 year old ref, etc.

      • the thing that bothers me about everyone ripping on the ref is the fact that he actually called the game correctly and you ontarioians dont understand. I am from alberta and i admit I dont know the rule book from ontario but clearly you in ontario dont understand the alberatn rule book. In alberta you are NOT allowed to swing your stick into the crease at all and from what i understand you are allowed in ontario. The green gaels just wanted the world to fall down to their rule book so they could claim their inevitable championship the way it was supposed to be. Unfortunatley they couldnt realize this after the first couple crease violations and kept going to the well. So in no way did gaels get screwed they screwed themselves by not understanding the rules

  5. Hey laxxer,

    I was about to commend you on your first comment as it was well put.

    However you erred in your second. The Founders Cup was to be played using the “CLA” rule book, not the Alberta one, not the Ontario one. And in the CLA rule book, yes you can swing your stick into the crease. You just cannot put your feet or body into the crease.

    This was pointed out to the officials / organizers / etc. in round robin games and pre and post game meetings (I do know this first hand). However, the Alberta ref in the final was still calling the game using Alberta’s “minor” lacrosse rules.

    I have also since been informed that it was stated to the teams early on that no Ontario or Alberta refs would be doing the final (as at some point they could clearly see that these would be the two finalists). But when push came to shove, the Alberta ref was in the game but not an Ontario ref, because they “did not want to break the Alberta ref and his partner up”. All of this info has been slowly coming out.

    Again, as I’ve stated, congrats to the Mountaineers, they won and by all accounts I’ve heard, they played a great game. But more info that comes out, the more one wonders!


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