Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
JR. NLL TOURNAMENT A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE
08/28/2013 - 12:46pm

By Travis Larner - The first-ever Junior National Lacrosse League Tournament gave youth lacrosse players the opportunity to square off against teams representing six different NLL cities. Regardless of their performances on the floor, is one the Jr. Rochester Knighthawks will not soon forget.
 
The tournament was a success for the Jr. Knighthawks’ Pee Wee and Bantam teams. Although both teams lost to the Jr. Colorado Mammoth in their respective semifinal rounds, all of the players and coaches expressed the same sentiment.
 
“It was a lot of fun. I’m still getting feedback from the kids. They had a great time,” said Bantam head coach Ron Elijah. “Having (assistant coaches) Johnny Powless and Chris Driscoll on the bench, and having the Champion’s Cup there the entire time, they had an awesome experience.”
 
“I thought it was a great event,” Powless said, whose younger brother, Marshall, wore his No. 93 jersey for the Bantams. “I really enjoyed coaching my brother and he really loved playing in the tournament.”
 
Driscoll’s son, Kyle, also suited up for the Bantams.
 
“He had a lot of fun playing, and being able to wear a Knighthawks’ jersey, shorts, gloves and helmet,” said Driscoll. “To be able to play on the turf in that Rock facility was fun for the boys.”
 
The Jr. Knighthawks Bantams swept all five of their games in the round robin portion of the tournament, earning a spot in the semifinal round. They defeated their opponents by a combined 50-18, including a 15-0 win over Buffalo.
 
“They were confident. They beat every team in the round robin,” Elijah said. “They really gelled together. We were only together for about a week but it looked like they had been playing together all summer.”
 
According to the coaches, the players adjusted well to the NLL rulebook, which was enforced by professional referees. Of the new rules, the players, ranging from nine to 13 years old, mostly enjoyed being able to dive into the crease.
 
“The kids really liked the NLL rules, especially dunking, diving and picking up the ball in the crease,” Powless said.
 
Chase Scanlan of the Jr. Knighthawks Bantam team was one of the top players in the entire tournament. He tied Toronto’s Joshua Dawick with a tournament-high 22 points, scoring 11 goals and 11 assists.
 
The Pee Wees, coached by the Dawson brothers, Pat O’Toole and Vince Longboat, held a 2-2 record before their semifinal loss to Colorado. Their two wins over Buffalo and Vancouver came by a combined total of 23-2.
 
“I think they enjoyed the experience,” Paul Dawson said. “Obviously when you win more you’ll have a little more fun, but I think overall they all had a good time. I think everyone got a bit better this weekend.”
 
Playing in goal for the Jr. Knighthawks Pee Wee squad was O’Toole’s son, Connor, who wore Matt Vinc’s No. 48. Dawson says that Rochester’s Hall of Fame netminder and goaltending coach has a star in the making.
 
“He moves really well,” said Dawson, who entered the NLL as a goalie. “He’s just a bit small, and Pat knows that, but he’ll grow into himself. I think he’s on the right track. He made a lot of big saves. He is well on his way to being a good goalie.”
 
Coltrane Tyson led the Pee Wees in scoring with 10 points (2+8). He was noted by his coach as “one of the better players” on the team along with Brendan Anderson, Ryan Brooks and Ross Hill.
 
The players and coaches hope to see the Jr. NLL Tournament continue annually with more events like it throughout the year. According to Elijah, the Jr. Knighthawks and Rock have already discussed playing an exhibition game during the season.
 
“I think an annual tournament should be the goal with hopefully at some point all of the NLL cities participating,” Dawson said. “Anytime you have a stick in your hands, you’re going to get better.”
 
“It’s obviously a great experience for the kids,” Driscoll said. I think it’s something that can grow into something bigger and better.” 


5/25/2013
Syracuse men's lacrosse pulls off another one-goal victory, advances to national title game with 9-8 win over Denver

7/1/2015
Syracuse lacrosse adds UMass transfer Nick Mariano, according to reports

6/30/2015
Syracuse has lowest percentage of female head coaches among major conference schools (report)

6/29/2015
Mark Coyle on Scott Shafer's job security, Carrier Dome and 'New York's College Team'

6/25/2015
Syracuse finishes with second-best Director's Cup ranking in school history

6/23/2015
Meet Mark Coyle: Everything you need to know about Syracuse's new athletic director

6/22/2015
John Desko resisted urge to quiz new Syracuse athletic director on lacrosse knowledge

6/20/2015
Syracuse search committee wanted athletic director who could connect with fanbase

6/20/2015
6 reasons why Syracuse hit the nail on the head hiring Mark Coyle from Boise State as AD

6/19/2015
10 things to know about new Syracuse athletic director Mark Coyle

6/18/2015
The 7 biggest challenges facing Syracuse's new athletic director

6/17/2015
Syracuse athletic director search: Bucknell AD John Hardt staying put after garnering interest from SU

6/12/2015
Syracuse men's lacrosse player arrested for possession of alcohol, hid from police

6/8/2015
Almost 100 years after World War I, William Shemin's Medal of Honor reunites two families

6/4/2015
Northern Illinois' Sean Frazier, a hot AD candidate, says he has no interest in Syracuse job

6/4/2015
Syracuse's Matt Palumb rises in referee ranks after stellar lacrosse career: 'I love it'

6/3/2015
Long live Syracuse football and basketball, despite what Carl T. Bogus thinks (readers emails)

6/2/2015
President Obama awards Medal of Honor to William Shemin: 'It's never too late to say thank you'

6/2/2015
Way-too-early 2016 college lacrosse lookahead: Nos. 1-5 (Notre Dame the early favorite)

6/1/2015
See what's under the turf at the Carrier Dome (photo gallery)

6/1/2015
Way-too-early 2016 college lacrosse lookahead: Nos. 6-10 (Syracuse lands at No. 6)