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The Iroquois Nationals have replaced their head coach

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  • The Iroquois Nationals have replaced their head coach

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    Indian Lacrosse Team Dismisses Coach
    7/14/2006, 11:09 a.m. ET

    The Associated Press
    SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — The Iroquois Nationals have replaced their head coach
    one day before their first game at the International Lacrosse Federation's
    World Championship in Canada.
    Ron Doctor, the team's longtime coach, was dismissed over his refusal to
    budge on a matter of Iroquois policy, said Leo Nolan, the Nationals' interim
    executive director.
    The team is governed by the Iroquois. It was admitted into the ILF in 1990 as
    a sovereign nation.

    ( The team opened the world championships Friday
    against England. There are 21 countries represented at the weeklong tournament
    in London, Ontario. The championship will be played July 22.
    Nolan declined to provide any details about Doctor's dismissal.
    "He's a real principled person, a real honest, forthright guy," Nolan told
    The Post-Standard of Syracuse. "There was a disagreement. He told us this was
    his way of going about it. He did not resign. He backed his decision. So I had
    to make a phone call on Tuesday morning to my lifelong friend."
    Doctor served as the Iroquois head coach in the 1998 and 2002 World Games.
    He, too, declined comment.
    "Due to circumstances, I was relieved and I don't think it's going to do
    anybody any good to say anything until maybe after the Games," Doctor said.
    Co-head coaches Bill Bjorness and Ron Henry will lead the Iroquois.
    Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

  • #2
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    This Message Is Reprinted Under The FAIR USE
    Doctrine Of International Copyright Law:
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    This Country
    Being Inventors Of Lacrosse Doesn't Mean That Playing It Will Come Without

    * _E-mail Roy MacGregor_ (mailto:[email protected])
    * | _Read Bio_
    * | _Latest Columns_

    'Oh, oh."
    The line goes quiet. Delby Powless is trying to digest the news that has
    caught him completely by surprise.
    Powless's Iroquois Nationals -- which claim to be the only indigenous nation
    in the world playing in an international sports competition -- are headed for
    London's University of Western Ontario and the 2006 World Lacrosse
    The Iroquois team has never been stronger. Powless, the 26-year-old former
    No. 1 draft pick of the National Lacrosse League and from the first family of
    lacrosse, is hoping to lead his team at least to the finals, perhaps even
    against the defending champion, Team USA, with CBC television scheduled to run
    the Iroquois game on Saturday against Canada, as well as the gold-medal match a
    week later.

    But now this.
    Less than 48 hours before the Nationals' opening match today against England,
    the coach of the team has been "relieved" of his duties. Ron Doctor, of
    Syracuse, refuses to comment, but sources say the change came about when the
    board overseeing the team declared three of the players, including Doctor's two
    sons, ineligible at the last minute because of some controversial issue
    concerning maternal heritage.
    Now, less than 24 hours to go before game one, no coach, and three
    replacement players.
    "Unfortunately," Powless says once he gathers himself, "these things can get
    a little too political at times."
    Not much, however, gets more political than this.
    "There are going to be groups all over the world watching these proceedings,"
    says Kevin Wamsley, Western's associate dean of health sciences and a
    recognized expert on international sport.
    The Iroquois Confederacy wants, one day, to be accepted by the Olympics, even
    if lacrosse itself remains outside the Olympic circles. Aboriginal
    representation has been tried before, years ago, but the International Olympic
    Committee refused to entertain the idea. Experience has taught there are few hornet
    nests quite like sports recognition -- remember the two Chinas? -- and
    opening a door to an indigenous group would be like opening the walls to others
    desperate to gain accreditation.
    Leo Nolan, executive director of the lacrosse team
    (_http://www.iroquoisnationals.com_ ( ), says the Iroquois case is
    decidedly different in that "the Six Nations people have had treaties with
    several countries -- France and England to begin with, now the United States and
    Canada. It's a government-to-government relationship."
    When the Iroquois, inventors of the game, originally went to the
    International Lacrosse Federation to argue its case, a caveat was placed on them that
    they would need to have their own recognized passports, and those passports --
    red -- have for some time been available and somewhat recognized. They also
    have their own flag and anthem.
    Playing again in the world championships and getting such wide exposure on
    Canadian television can only, Nolan says, "give even more merit to our cause."
    "There's just so much symbolism," Wamsley adds. "It gives the movement an
    instant legitimacy."
    The "instant" that concerns Delby Powless, however, has nothing to do with
    politics and everything to do with the game he grew up playing on the Six
    Nations reserve in Southwestern Ontario. He is the grand-nephew of the late Ross
    Powless, cousin of the late Gaylord Powless, two of the legendary names in
    Canada's unfortunately ignored other national sport.
    Being drafted first overall in the second sport is hardly comparable to being
    a first-round draft pick in hockey. The young Mohawk began playing for the
    Buffalo Bandits at the rookie standard of $6,000 (U.S.) a year and is still
    working toward the league maximum of $25,000 a year.
    That, of course, is box lacrosse, the more Canadian version of the field game
    the Americans play and the game that is played at the world championships.
    The top tier includes Australia and Japan, as well as Canada, the United
    States, England and the Iroquois team.
    "Box lacrosse," Powless says, "is more like hockey, field lacrosse more like
    There are times, he says, when defence tactics make it more like chess than
    soccer -- "some coaches try and take the creativity right out of it" -- but he
    did play the field game at Rutgers University and received honourable
    mention as an All-American.
    "I like the challenge," he says.
    That challenge suddenly became more difficult with this week's dramatic
    changes in team makeup, but the young star is convinced that, even before the
    opening draw, Iroquois Nationals will make their presence felt.
    "You see the flag and they play your anthem," he says.
    "It's really a ceremonial rattle song, but the first time I heard it while
    standing on the floor I felt the same chills inside that players feel when
    they're playing for Canada or the United States.
    "It's such an honour. Just being accepted as an independent, sovereign nation
    in this tournament is amazing."
    If he had a dream beyond the nightmare of coaches being relieved and players
    being declared ineligible, it would be that his team does so well this week
    in London that even the Olympics will have to take note.
    "That," he says, "would be the ultimate goal."
    Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic


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