Locals look to find national gold
Lacrosse: Mountaineers one of favourites at Founders Cup
By: By Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 06:00 am
There are few certainties in lacrosse more clear-cut than the Calgary Jr. B Mountaineers finding their way to the national Junior B championship.
For the seventh year in a row the Mounties won the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League (RMLL) championship and earned a berth into the 2013 Founders Cup, Aug. 19-25 in Winnipeg, where five foothills players will look to give Calgary its second national title.
“We’re playing a lot better as a team compared to last year so I think we have a chance to go pretty far,” said DeWinton’s Drake Mooney, a sophomore Mountie.
“The experienced guys have stepped up like in past years, it’s been going really well so far and hopefully it continues to go our way.”
Calgary posted a perfect run through the post-season in the RMLL, sweeping the rival Calgary Shamrocks, Manitoba Gryphons and blitzing the North division champion Edmonton Crude in the three-game league finals.
Okotokian Josh Norton, a third-year Mountie, attributed the team’s habitual dominance to the burgundy brotherhood.
“It’s not so much a winning culture, it’s more so a family culture,” he said. “It’s a real tight-knit group, everyone gets along and we basically treat each other like brothers throughout the entire season.”
Under the guidance of head coach Wayne Sutherland, the Mounties bring a transition-heavy game to the floor and use players in all situations rather than the traditional use of front and back-end players often seen in lacrosse.
“Everyone plays offence and defence and that’s the thing that makes us unique from our entire league,” Norton said. “Everyone has a really good back and forth game.”
In Winnipeg, the Mountaineers are pooled alongside the provincial representatives from Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Ontario, either the Green Gaels or the Six Nations Rebels – the two-time defending Founders champions.
Mooney and Okotoks’ Brandon Davis will be making their second trip through the national tournament with Calgary, joined by DeWintonian Brendan Bachmeier.
“It was the coolest experience I’ve probably ever had,” Mooney said of the 2012 Founders Cup. “We were all treated like we were pros, playing against the best in Canada.”
After two years of watching from the sidelines as his teammates compete for the national Junior B title at the Founders Cup, Josh Norton will finally get his chance to hit the floor with the Calgary Mountaineers.
Norton was sidelined with a shoulder injury and had to watch his clubmates win silver at the 2011 Founders Cup. Last year, despite an ankle injury he travelled with the team to witness the Mounties take bronze at the nationals in Six Nations, ONT.
This year the injury bug unfortunately bit Josh’s younger brother Jacob Norton, a rookie member of the Mountaineers, who’s out for the season with a torn ACL.
“It’s been tough to watch them ever since it’s happened, but we’re still a team and I still feel part of it even though I’m not wearing a jersey,” said Jacob, who will be travelling to Winnipeg to support his teammates. “It makes me feel like I’m still playing the game.”
The Mountaineers open their Founders Cup slate on Aug. 20 versus the Ontario representatives. Following pool play, the finals take place on Aug. 25.
To keep track of the latest scores visit founderscup2013.com.