After an adrenaline-filled few days, Kaymen Diabo and Kobe Lahache returned home from their first-ever lacrosse tournament overseas, which took place in Radotín, Czech Republic, a district of Prague.
And they came back with a third place.
The two Kahnawa’kehró:non athletes participated in the Aleš Hřebeský Memorial (AHM) international box lacrosse tournament on April 26-29 with the Glasgow Clydesiders, representing Scotland.
“It was fun, it was a good tournament. I learned a lot. It was a good experience,” said Diabo. “The team was really welcoming, and it was just good to be out there.”
The Glasgow Clydesiders won three of the five games they played and ended the tournament in third place. “Obviously, you want to go for the gold medal. But, we’re quite happy with a third place finish,” said Brian Witmer, one of the team’s general managers alongside Dylan Cowman and Chris Foran.
Through previous years, the Glasgow Clydesiders have maintained an impressive record at AHM: they came in first place in 2019 and second place last year and in 2017. This year, they got off to a rocky start losing their first game 4-2 against the German Shepherds, but they were back on top for their second match, sweeping the Tel Aviv LC with a 6-1 win, with Diabo scoring Glasgow Clydesiders’ third goal.
“Kaymen and Kobe both, they’re a huge part of that third place game. I don’t know if we would have gotten the trophy without them,” said Witmer.
In their last game, facing off against the Turku Titans, Diabo scored three goals, and Lahache one, ending the game with an 8-3 win.
“On offense, Kaymen jumped right in…. He was putting up points, assisting on goals right away,” said Witmer.
Lahache on the other hand was put in a defensive role. “He knocked down a lot of passes and played really great transition for us and moved the ball to the guys who were going to score some goals,” said Witmer.
To Lahache, the biggest challenge of the tournament was the six-hour time difference, which he said took a toll on him on and off the floor. But it didn’t eclipse his experience out there. “I felt very appreciative that the team asked me to play in such a big tournament like that,” he said, adding he was a bit nervous to get back on the field since he hadn’t played for about six years.
“It’s got to be a little rough, you know, being a young guy meeting a whole new team,” said Witmer, with both Diabo and Lahache aged 19. Players’ ages at the tournament averaged around 25, according to Witmer, but they can be as young as 15 or 16 and there are some who play in their 40s, since Aleš Hřebeský Memorial is an open tournament. But that didn’t distract either of the Kahnawa’kehró:non.
“As they kind of came alive with the team, in a bonding way, they also came alive as players as well,” said Witmer.
Integrating into the new team just days before the games didn’t seem to phase Diabo. “I’ve been doing it my whole career where I’m just jumping into a new team and doing what I can to help them win,” he said.
He’s bringing back what he learned on the field back to Kahnawake, where he plays with the Kahnawake Junior B Hunters, alongside Lahache. “I just do what I can, be a leader. I feel like that’s what I learned a lot out there was being a leader,” he said.
Lahache also left the field with more than just a winning performance.
“The highlight of my experience playing (at the tournament) was all the love I felt from people there and on the team, having fans asking for my autograph, my jersey, helmet, and stick,” said Lahache. “I’ve never experienced something like that, but it felt good.”