Lacrosse nats wiser this time

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:53 AM ET

Almost five months after the fact, the Canadian national indoor lacrosse team still is the butt of jokes.

Based on what happened yesterday at the introductory news conference for the inaugural world indoor lacrosse championship (May 15-24 around southern Ontario), it\'s clear the Canucks won\'t soon forget their embarrassing 21-16 loss to the U.S. in the Heritage Cup, Oct. 5 in Mississauga.

The insult of the day was delivered by Iroquois Nationals general manager Rusty Doxtdator, who directed this beauty at Canadian counterpart Johnny Mouradian: \"We learned from the Heritage Cup -- thanks Johnny -- not to go in with a completely offensive team,\" Doxtdator said. \"When the tape comes in with highlights from our games, you\'ll actually hear some checks.\"

Defence was a foreign concept for the favoured Canadians at the Heritage. Just four pure defenders played for the team. That number will increase for the worlds.

\"Let\'s face it, we picked an all-star team for the Heritage Cup and that was the right thing to do at the time,\" Mouradian said. \"It sets us up to build a team that can play at the international level.\"

Yesterday, Canada named its first 11 players. Six Toronto Rock players -- goalie Bob Watson, defenders Pat Coyle and Glenn Clark and forwards Steve Toll, Colin Doyle and Jim Veltman -- made the cut. Canada will be coached by Rock general manager/coach Les Bartley.

The six-team tournament features three lacrosse minnows in the Czech Republic, Scotland and Australia. Torontonian Ron McNeil will coach Australia, while fellow Toronto native Paul Suggate will coach Scotland. Essentially, three teams -- the U.S., Canada and the Iroquois Nationals, who feature Rock forward Kim Squire -- will be going for gold.

\"You have a fear (games against weaker teams) could be bad for the sport,\" Doyle said. \"It\'s growing pains ... In my mind, you play to win, and if it gets out of hand, you (slow down).\"

Interestingly, the Rock, as a business entity, has nothing to do with the tournament. Usually, the Rock makes a point of getting involved in Ontario lacrosse events, but Toronto president Brad Watters said his team\'s sponsorship proposal was rejected by tournament organizers.

Games will be played in Oshawa, Mississauga, Kitchener and Hamilton. The final goes May 24 at Copps Coliseum.


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