Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
As it turns out, Six Nations will continue to have a Junior A squad in the Ontario Lacrosse Association (OLA) after all.
And Cody Jamieson, one of the world’s top professional players, will be leading the franchise. He has been appointed as the team’s governor.
Late last month it was announced that the Six Nations Arrows, who have captured the OLA title nine times, would be leaving the circuit to join the newly created Tewaarton Lacrosse League (TLL). Our story here.
The move was met with some strong reaction, including from former Arrows’ players who were upset those in their community of Ohsweken would no longer have the opportunity to challenge for the Minto Cup, the national Junior A title.
The Arrows, who joined the OLA’s Junior A loop in 1990, captured five national championships, most recently in 2017.
Jeff Williamson, the co-chair of the OLA’s Junior A league, said the provincial organization did not receive any official documentation from the Arrows’ brass indicating its desire to leave and join a new circuit.
“Our board froze their membership,” Williamson said, adding this move was taken in order to provide some time to find new individuals to head up the Six Nations club.
Jamieson, a Mohawk and an Arrows’ alumnus who led his hometown team to the Minto Cup in 2007, was among those who had voiced his displeasure on Twitter when the franchise announced it was leaving the OLA to join a new league.
At the time, Jamieson, a member of the National Lacrosse League’s Halifax Thunderbirds, said he was disappointed he would not have the chance to coach an Arrows’ team to a Minto Cup crown.
Jamieson said he is not ready to immediately step behind the bench, but has accepted the governor position for the Six Nations team in the meantime.
“I’m only 33 years old and I don’t want to give up my playing career just yet,” he said. “You can’t coach a team while you’re still playing.”
Besides playing in the NLL, during the spring and summer months Jamieson also stars for his hometown Six Nations Chiefs, members of the Major Series Lacrosse (MSL).
The champs of the MSL annually compete for the national Mann Cup against the league winners of the Western Lacrosse Association.
Jamieson has been a member of three Mann Cup-winning squads.
“My commitment is still to the Chiefs and to winning a Mann Cup,” he said.
Officials and representatives from both the OLA and its Junior A league are thrilled that Jamieson has agreed to serve as the new governor of the Six Nations junior team.
“We’ve received a lot of positive feedback since he was announced on the weekend,” said Colleen Grimes, the OLA’s vice-president of promotion who is also the communications director for its Junior A league.
Prior to becoming the Six Nations governor, Jamieson had been appointed to an advisory council for the OLA’s Junior A league to offer his input on lacrosse related matters and on return to play issues.
Jamieson has received plenty of encouragement and offers of support since becoming the Six Nations governor.
“Nobody can do this by themselves,” he said. “I’ve been talking to a few people who are actively helping. It isn’t just a one-man band.”
Jamieson said he has yet to talk to any players that might suit up for his team. He is not sure how many of those who toiled for the Arrows during the 2019 season (the 2020 campaign was wiped out because of the COVID-19 pandemic) might be suiting up for his club.
“I haven’t had any discussions with any players,” he said, adding it would be premature to do so at this point since it remains to be seen when a 2021 season might start.
What also needs to be sorted out is who retains the Arrows’ name, the franchise that is now part of the TLL or the one that will continue to operate in the OLA.
Jamieson said it will be up to those who still have junior eligibility remaining to decide whether they would like to remain in the OLA’s league or if they wish to head to the TLL.
“The new league is an outlaw league,” he said. “The players can play in that league or they can stay in this league.”
So far just one other franchise, from Burlington, has announced it will be joining Six Nations in the TLL.
Meanwhile, the Burlington Chiefs will continue to be part of the OLA’s league.
Rumours had circulated that several of the existing franchises in the OLA would be joining the Six Nations entry in the TLL.
But Williamson said even if others do follow suit, the OLA’s Junior A loop will continue to operate with teams in all its existing centres.
“We’re an 11-team league,” Williamson said. “If individuals leave, so be it.”
Local Journalism Initiative Reporters are supported by a financial contribution made by the Government of Canada.