Mi'kmaq Warriors junior A lacrosse club sticking together through tough times

Published on July 4, 2017

Mi’kmaq Warriors coach Brendon Smithson says he is proud of his players, despite a tough season in the East Coast Junior Lacrosse League. Wednesday, the Warriors play their final game of the season against the Halifax Lions.

©Joey Smith/Truro Daily News

TRURO, N.S. – Brendon Smithson doesn’t measure his team’s success on just wins and losses.

For Smithson, there’s a bigger picture – one that involves effort, commitment and a desire to become better lacrosse players on the floor and even better men off it.

“Our boys learn leadership skills, and dealing with different types of people from across the province that will help them develop into strong, young men who will be leaders in their community, which is something we focus on,” said Smithson, head coach of the Mi’kmaq Warriors junior A lacrosse team.

It’s been a trying season on the floor for the Warriors, to say the least. The team is winless in 14 games heading into its final East Coast Junior Lacrosse League tilt of the season Wednesday against the Halifax Lions (Colchester Legion Stadium, 8 p.m.).

“Our boys give 100 per cent every game and come out to play to the best of their abilities each time,” said Smithson. “We always remind them that we’re only three years into this process; it’s a long building process.”

The Warriors joined the junior A ranks in 2015. They won three games during their inaugural season, but haven’t been able to muster a single W in the past two years against more experienced teams from HRM.

Despite their record, the Warriors are making gains in the lacrosse community, said Smithson.

“When you talk to any of the kids in Truro minor, they all want to come and play for us and that shows we are going in the right direction, it just takes time to get there.

“At times it’s tough; we go out there to play and to win every game and when you don’t have a win it starts to weigh a little bit, but I think the one thing that I take from all the kids is they love to play this game; we hear them say it multiple times – we just love to play.”

The Warriors are a team comprised of native and non-native players from all over the province, including Truro, Millbrook, Indian Brook, Pictou County, Cape Breton and Bear River, Digby County.

Smithson takes pride in seeing friendships being formed among teammates.

“We are literally one family,” he said. “There is no distinction between anyone. Anytime there’s an issue on the floor, whether it becomes a native thing or a non-native thing, we are all one. It’s not any different and it’s really great to see that.”

Smithson understands nothing will come easy for the Warriors in the future and that developing the team into a playoff contender will take work. However, he and the players are prepared to put in the time and effort required to make the program a success.

“We want to follow through with the process,” he said. “There are frustrating moments where it’s tough but they want to see this through. They are a family and they love being together and they love being on the floor. One of these days we’re going to get that result that goes the other way.”