Businessman and community member Iohahiio (Wahiio) Delisle and Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame inductee Tewenhni’tátshon Louis Delisle have been working on a lacrosse initiative since 2018, and they are finally ready to roll it out.
Delisle has built and is about to open an elite training facility in town, the Junior Iroquois Hockey & Lacrosse Training Academy, which Tewenhni’tátshon will be running.
The arena, built on Delisle’s property, has a three-on-three rink.
The men are also planning a tournament that will commence on August 16.
“The principles of the Iroquois Nationals Development Group are tied into this current Kahnawake initiative,” said Tewenhni’tátshon, who has been coaching lacrosse for many years and teaches Kanien’kéha at the Kahnawake Survival School.
According to the coach, the group is part of a movement to bring the Creator’s game to all of the communities of the Six Nations.
“The new training facility is fully wired with virtual cameras in specific locations around the rink, giving Kahnawa’kehró:non a panoramic front seat view live via the Internet to all games and practices,” said Delisle.
The games for the tournament will be a four-on-four format with three runners and one goalie on the floor. Each team will consist of six to seven runners and one goalie.
The businessman, a father of seven, said that registration is currently underway for the tournament and that there is a lot of interest from the community.
The current age groups being invited are players born in 2010, 2011, 2012. There is a maximum of eight eligible teams and two divisions of four teams.
“Growing up, I played hockey and lacrosse. I was raised in a sports family, and we loved sports,” said the dad, who played up to Junior B.
“The main reason I built this is the fact that my younger kids were chosen to play in a very high, elite league at a very young age.”
Delisle’s 11-year-old son Kingston is a goaltender for the Junior Bruins Brick team. The dad explained that he was spending the majority of his time taking his kids to training facilities off-reserve.
“We didn’t have anything in Kahnawake that resembled a proper training facility. There is nothing in Lasalle or Chateauguay. There is nothing like this facility built around here,” he said.
Wahiio Delisle explained that it takes a tremendous amount of dedication and training to play at an elite level, which most people aren’t aware of.
“I decided to build a facility so I can bring this type of training to our community,” he said.
The academy is an annex of the Future Prospect, a prep school showcasing and player management company Delisle owns.
“We showcase 400 athletes per year in front of about 24 division one and ivy league schools from the New England area,” said the owner.
When the two men first sat down and started working on the framework, they decided to take the game’s fundamentals and training dynamics and compress it for a smaller space.
“It gives the individual players the advantage of capitalizing that compressed environment, and they are also continuously engaged, offensively and defensively,” said Wahiio.
For his part, Tewenhni’tátshon is excited to keep coaching the youth, especially after such a trying year.
“COVID has put a damper on different tournaments and inter-provincial play, but the kids still have their sticks, they still go to the rink, they still have it in their heart to play,” said Tewenhni’tátshon.
“That is why we are organizing these tournaments here for August, and hopefully, we can continue into September with different age groups.”