Maybe Just Leave The Game Alone

Right now the top two teams in all of Canada, the New Westminster Salmonbellies and the Brampton Excelsiors are battling it out for arguably the most cherished trophy in lacrosse, the Mann Cup. In game one of the series after a hit sent Brampton star player Colin Doyle to the floor in need of medical attention, a bench clearing brawl ensued.

That brawl has caught the eye of TSN, CTV, and even CNN. Of course, it was not news worthy to any of these media outlets until the brawl took place. The outrage and cries of violence in sports have been heard all across Canada and into the United States. And the thoughts of many are being voiced on forums, about our inability to grow the game and to expand it into a mainstream sport with this sort of thing happening.

And while I am still a little uncertain on where I stand on this whole situation, I was speaking to someone yesterday that made a comment to me that made me really think. And I’ve thought about it ever since.

The comment was that they wondered if everyone, instead of crying and complaining about the “black eye” that this was for lacrosse, and our inability to expose more people to it, actually sat down and thought about what was going on in British Columbia, they might have a different opinion. They went on to say; I wonder if anyone has taken the time to see that these are regular Joes, all with “real” jobs, and families to take care of, playing a game they love. Maybe, just maybe, an incident on the floor or some pent up frustrations in the game itself, caused these normal guys, all non-multi millionaire players to expose the passion that they have for this game and for their team mates. Maybe for 10-15 minutes, they lost their composure, but felt that what transpired warranted the actions that took place. Remember, any one of these players in the altercation, are not going to get a million plus dollars to sit home after the fact, nursing potential injuries. They will be back at work as soon as this best four out of seven Championship is over.

I hear a number of folks stating that hockey had brawls back in the 70’s and what they did was get rid of brawls by way of stiffer penalties, and badda boom badda bing, the next thing you knew they were at 32 teams and exposure like we could never have imagined. Well let me throw this thought out there. Hockey today sucks! It is boring and many of the teams are struggling financially. Yes they are the most talented players in the world, but there is no passion in the game, save for the last couple of rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Many of the players are more concerned with their multi billion dollar endorsement deals than laying it all out on the ice. And maybe, just maybe, the fans can see that and are choosing to spend their $225 per ticket on other forms of entertainment.

So, to bring this back to lacrosse; would I like to see the game expand, and exposed to millions more? Absolutely. But at the expense of losing the passion that I see in so many of the lacrosse players in the game today? Never. Don’t misunderstand what I am saying; I am not pro bench clearing brawls. But it is a part of the game, that we almost never see in nowadays. I cannot imagine the intensity building in Queen’s Park Arena to the point that this all happened. But I am willing to accept that it does happen, knowing it is not an everyday occurrence.

In the end, I really do not like what Gary Bettman and his entourage have done with the NHL, to the point that I was once an avid fan of the NHL. Today I do not watch a single game, except maybe the Stanley Cup final (because I see passion). As I said, they are the most talented players in the world, but there are too many millions invested for anyone to really care, and I for one don’t like it.

If eliminating the passion in lacrosse has to happen so that we can “hope” to attract more people, then I say let’s continue to be our own little culture. Change can be a good thing, but not at the expense of dismantling the intensity and excitement of the game itself. Hockey has given into that, I say we learn from their mistake.

Oh, and by the way, the second game went into Overtime and the third into double Overtime.  It appears TSN has noticed.  Good to see.  Anyone seen CNN?

As always, let’s hear your thoughts / comments.



  1. It is a black eye for anyone that wants to see the game grow the way you and I both dream about . Crap like this sickens me , what entertainment value does this offer? other than to a few knuckledraggers like you can hear in the background on the video. I am sorry my esteemed colleague , but I dont think that a stern warning from the commish about this kind of behaviour at our Grand Finale would be out of order. We have to consider the fans without them ,you me ,and the eplayers are out of a job !!!!

    • Ron,

      You CLEARLY never played this game. If you did, you certainly never played Sr. A. People like YOU make me sick. Commenting on this like it is the end of the world. 3500 people cant be wrong. Queens Park has been sold out, standing room only for 3 nights. You are the BLACK MARK. By getting mad, and not listening to reason you are the fan we DONT want and DONT need. If you cant stand behind a game and more importantly a series that has been around for 100 years, and stand behind it as IT IS, then move on, stop watching, and most importantly shut your mouth. Lacrosse is a passionate game played by intense high level athletes. What happened in game 1 was not staged. It happened because, like the author of this article said, you have high level amatuer athletes who are competing for a once in a lifetime oppourtunity. There is no big windfall pay day hanging in the balance. So if something happens, blood boils and these guys get over the top aggressive with one another, we dont have to act like its what makes lacrosse great, but we accept it as the nature of highly tensioned competition.

      Furthermore. While people like you Ron, moan and complain about the violence, do you realize that there was a code of honour during the brawl? Wait just a minute, and listen. There were no sucker punches, there was no disrespect, they all got it out of their systems, no one was injured, not even Colin who if you watch the game 1 video was hit with a shouler to the sternum NOT the head. His helmet popped off from the impact. He then walked 4 steps before falling to the ground on his own accord. The guy drew a penalty.. the wrong call was made.. but he did draw a penalty so congrats for that.. but he has played outstanding in games 2 and 3 so we can all see that it was an act. Having said that No one was hurt from the melee. Move on.

      We are witnessing one of the greatest Mann Cup series in recent history. For those of you who have always stood by lacrosse, Enjoy it! For those like Ron, either enjoy it yourself or head to a more tame sporting event like soccer where you can watch HIGHLY paid athletes roll around on the ground feining injuries, because you feel they are better human beings/atheletes/role models.

      If you have never played lacrosse, you simply dont understand the intensity. It is a passionate, heart on your sleeve, full throttle game, that is loved by those who “get it.” Violence is not the issue here, its perception, so if you want to play to the hype, go for it Ron, youve already shown your true colours.

      For eveyone else, get out to game 4 or watch it on the webcast, its sure to be another barn burner.

      • I played ,reffed, coached ,managed ,watched ,appeared on TV, in the press you name it . I played to Jr then found that it interfered with my job and life, I have been a part of this game since 1968 and I will continue to hold my beliefs . passion hell yeah , hits and hard play hell yeah . But I draw the line at players and fans who think that brawls and bullying are part of this wonderful game .Have you ever witnessed a brawl in the stands where fans are bloodied , have you witnessed players punching or hitting fans with their sticks , that is what this kind of non play leads to , it is a GAME for Goodness sake Call me all the names you want , understand the intensity ? Hell yeah . It is time for this kind of behaviour to stop or the game of Lacrosse will remain a curiosity instead of being recognised as the Fast ,exciting and yes Mr Nameless , intense, Athletic Contest that it can be .

  2. I don’t think we should be surprised that the mainstream media picked up on the ‘brawl’ in the Mann Cup. Any kind of bench clearing brawl- whether in Major League baseball, Jr hockey, or even occasionally minor hockey, seems to get an inordinate amount of media coverage.
    The Mann Cup ‘brawl’ coverage just follows that same media pattern.

    Having watched a lot of the recent Midget Nationals and Minto Cup in Brampton, it’s too bad some local outlets there weren’t around to report on the skill level and passion exhibited by these future stars.

  3. Jim mentioned what real irritated me most about the coverage: the media pattern.

    I first saw the melee on Sportsnet and, I’ll admit, was excited lacrosse was actually getting coverage. I had not heard any scores or updates and wanted to know. Yet all I got was a poor quality, 30 second clip of men pounding each other.

    Now, I put myself in the shoes of someone who is not a lacrosse fan. Is this now what they think every game is? WWE or UFC? My concern surrounding this issue isn’t that both teams left the bench and fought for 10 minutes. It’s the Canadian championship and no doubt New West wants revenge after last year’s sweep. Sometimes in a contact sport such as this, these things happen (anyone else see the Argos/Ticats game on labour day?)

    But what I saw was JUST the thirty second clip. While the Labour Day CFL games took five minutes or more including highlights, scores, interviews and analysis all we saw of the Mann Cup was the brawl. No other highlights, no analysis, not even a final score!

    I have since emailed Sportsnet to let them know of my disgust for the treatment of our game. In the future I would like to see the SPORT covered, not the show. With the surge of the NLL and MLL (especially in Canada (notably the GTA where most broadcasters are situated)) I believe it’s high time lacrosse was treated with the same respect as sports like baseball, hockey, football, etc.

  4. Jimmy V, wow, did you call out the wrong guy. The only Jim V I can ever recall playing the game at an advanced level was the Captain of the Rock and far above any of the pointless, childish, uneducated attacks you threw at Mess.

    Code of Honor, passion, aggression, tension, blood boiling, etc. are all things that exist in the Major Series Game. It’s a great game. It’s a beautiful, violent game. It’s intensity beyond what you will ever see in 99% of all other sports. That is a fact that cannot be argued.

    Standing behind the game though can carry many definitions. The very fact that you decided to compose a long winded diatribe supporting ten minutes of the game you love that resulted in 173 penalty minutes wouldn’t fall under any of them.

    Yes it’s part of the sport, but it remains against all of the rules that it was founded upon and has been played under for 100 hundred years. Is it something to celebrate? That’s up to the fan, (and I won’t deny your right to celebrate it) but it is certainly not something to drag another fan through the mud with.

    I don’t know Ron well, but I have met him on a number of occasions. All of these events centered around the game you feel the need to defend. If you were aware of the levels he has participated at within the lacrosse family you would be shocked.

    You were very wrong about one thing. There was a sucker punch. You threw it.

  5. Just throwing this out there, did lacrosse not originate from a war game? 😀

    Joking aside, I agree with MattC. People who saw that and knew little to nothing about our great sport are most likely disgusted now; why would you sign your kid up for a game that violent (you get my idea?)? Disgusting that Sportnet did not even show any support for the official summer sport of Canada, and it is outrageous the message they are spreading.

  6. How many of you were actually at the Game on Sept 4th at Historic QPA. I was.
    I can tell you what caused the brawl, it was Doyle’s antics.
    He got caught with a perfectly timed . legal shoulder check by Hawksbee.
    Check out the video and you will see Snider had nothing to do with the check at all. Doyle was embarrassed and he got up right way, walked towards the bench, then he stopped, and went down and rolled around, then he got up again and walked, and once again he went down, this time he rolled over on his back and looked like he had been shot by the sniper from the Texas Schoolbook Depositorty.
    It was an embarrassment to himself, to his teammates and to the fans, it was a total scham.
    The Bellies took exception to his falking/feigning an injury and started to tell him that in no so many terms, thats when Sanderson started to send out his so called tuff guys.
    When Dangerous Dan’s Younger brother, Paul ” Gethro” Dawson cam e out thats when things got ugly.
    After the game Doyle , had taken some wonder drug and was seen on the floor with young Barmpton supporter , frolicking around having a good old time.
    Pay the game some respect and it will respect you back.
    Make a mockery of it on the floor, then be prepared to pay the price.
    Colin Doyle should take up Europena Soccer, he’s not welcome in the West.

    • Good thing you referenced this to soccer………….he didn’t get “magic water”…….and he isn’t the first person to fake ( as you imply) an injury.

      They are playing for one thing………..PRIDE

      I am sure Brampton are not only playing for their team………..but for all the teams in Ontario……….it is an East-West rivalry…………..and probably always will be.

      If that was a peewee game………it would be different…………….but it isn’t……….men playing against men for an opportunity to get a ring…….and just a ring…………leave it all on the floor.

      I am sure that at the end of it all……….the better team will prevail and a few beers will get tipped back……at least that is the way it should be

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