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09/26/2012 - 3:43pm

(September 26, 2012)… Rochester Knighthawks Owner and General Manager Curt Styres and Knighthawks Assistant Coach Jason Johnson were honored Saturday with the Coaching Staff of the Year Award. The staff was recognized by the Six Nations Minor Lacrosse Association for leading the bantam team to a gold medal at the OLA Final Six “A” Provincials, which was the first for Six Nations since 2008.

“It was a surprise,” said Johnson. “I planned on helping this season, but ended up taking on a bigger role than I expected. My involvement was fast-tracked.”

“It was quite a surprise that we got it,” said Styres. “We worked hard as a whole organization to win that Championship. We put in a lot of hard work and time to get a shot at the title. It was all worth it when we hoisted the Cup.”

Styres and Johnson took over the team on June 10th and what followed was a dominating summer that ended with the team’s third championship of the season. For Styres that meant leaving work during the week to drive to the Iroquois Lacrosse Association to run drills and practices with the team, which included his son Wake:Riat “Bow” Bowhunter. Bow was honored as the Most Sportsmanlike by the minor lacrosse association on Saturday at the organization’s annual banquet. 

In the title game, Six Nations defeated Burlington 10-2 to clinch the fourth Bantam “A” Provincial Championship in Six Nations’ history. The prestigious trophy dates back to 1937 and has been handled by some of the greatest names in the history of lacrosse. Knighthawks Assistant Coach Paul Day captured the Bantam “A” crown as a player in 1982 with Peterborough. Other notables that have won the Cup include RIT grad and Calgary Roughneck Dan MacRae and the NY Islanders' John Tavares, who both won the Bantam Championship in 2002 with Oakville. 

Knighthawks star and NLL All-Rookie Team member Johnny Powless won back-to-back Provincial “A” titles with Six Nations from 2006-07. His brother Sidney was a member of the 2012 Six Nations team.

Six Nations advanced to the OLA Final Six “A” Provincials after finishing third with an 8-3-2 record at the OLA Qualifiers. The team won two tournaments heading into the Canadian Provincials. In June, Six Nations won the 20th Annual John “Gus” McCauley Tournament in Brampton. The following month, the team captured the Bantam “A” Division gold at the 35th Annual Super Series. 

This year’s team was fueled by their efforts in the gym and on the turf. Strength and Conditioning Coach Matt Green trained the team while providing a world-class fitness program for the 12 to 14 year olds. Throughout the season, Six Nations also received advice and lacrosse instruction from the 2012 World Champion Rochester Knighthawks and players like Cody Jamieson and Sid Smith. In addition, Knighthawks Team Captain Pat McCready, Alex “Kedoh” Hill and Powless also spent time at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena working with the bantam team.

“It was a lot of fun hanging out with this bunch,” said Jamieson. “Their passion for the game and to get better is a trait that made them as successful as they were.”

In the Provincial Finals in late August, all that training and practicing paid off for the Six Nations team. Austin Staats, who is the cousin of 2012 Champion’s Cup MVP Cody Jamieson, said having the Knighthawks players at their practices was the extra push they needed to win the gold.

“It was great because they know the game. That’s how we were able to get to the Championship Game by learning from those guys,” said Staats, who was named the Provincial MVP as the top player in Ontario for the 1998 and 1999 age groups. 

Staats and Tehoka Nanticoke-Hill were the offensive stars in the gold medal game, scoring three goals apiece. Longboat was also solid at both ends of the floor and on special teams during the three-day tournament. Yet, Six Nations was successful because of their team-first philosophy not because of the play of a handful of stars. That was evident in the Championship Game as Jeremy Bomberry and Chayton King also chipped in single goals. In goal, Briley Miller earned the win, but was part of a solid goaltending duo that included Daniel Hill. 

“It was good to see the team bought into the system and realized what we were teaching does work,” said Johnson. “After a couple of practices and games, I could see what they were capable of. I challenged myself to get them to play a full game, not just playing well in spurts. I knew they had potential early in the season.”

“All the work they did and the sacrifices they made really showed,” said Green, who trained the kids for two hours a day this summer. “The end result was a Championship.”

Six Nations Bantam "A" Provincial Champions Roster

00 - Daniel Hill
29 - Briley Miller
04 - Levi Anderson
07 - Jeremy Bomberry
11 - Tehoka Nanticoke-Hill
12 - Justin Martin
14 - Austin Skye
16 - Daylen Hill
17 - Travis Longboat
18 - Cecil Monture
21 - Gavin Skye
28 - Wake:Riat "Bow" Bowhunter
43 - Sidney Powless
44 - Chayton King
55 - Sam Green
66 - Hunter Sibbick
77 - Jerry Staats
85 - Marty Bomberry-Burning
88 - Austin Staats
97 - Gutch Salinas


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