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Levelling up in lacrosse 

Courtesy Angel Horn

Local lacrosse player Kaientaronkwen Nash Diabo is setting off to BC, where he’ll be playing at the Junior A level in the upcoming lacrosse season – a milestone the young athlete had aimed to reach before he turned 20. He did it at 18.  

“I felt overjoyed and a sense of relief. All of my hard work for the last two years was finally paying off,” said Diabo, after signing with the Burnaby Jr. A Lakers who play in the British Columbia Junior A Lacrosse League (BCJALL). 

Diabo has already racked up a decade of experience in Kahnawake, including playing for the Kahnawake Jr. B Hunters and at the World Junior Championship.  

“I’ve learned that lacrosse is a part of me, something I can’t live without.” 

Behind it all, it’s his late grandfather Billy Kaientarónkwen Two Rivers who has inspired his motivation to keep reaching his goals, and the joy it’s brought to his family, he said.  

This is something that resonates with Diabo’s mother, Kasennine Two Rivers, who’s been a pillar of support throughout the years. 

“The best medicine for a parent is being about to watch their child being so happy in their element and being the absolute best at it,” she said.  

“I will always cherish the memories of watching him play and practice,” she said, adding that Diabo always insisted she stay. 

“Sometimes I would be the only parent watching and staying at practice, because let’s face it, 15 and 16-year-old boys don’t really like their moms hanging around at their practices, but not him. I needed to be there, and those times helped me as much as they helped him.” 

But the journey has come with its fair share of challenges. “As an athlete, I learned it’s important to believe in yourself enough to advocate for yourself within the league, as not everyone wants what’s best for you,” Diabo said. 

His determination and laser-focus are his driving strengths, something his mother can attest to. “Kaientaronkwen is a hard worker on and off the floor,” she said, referencing one particular instance where he lost 100 pounds after a coach he respected advised him to improve his fitness level. “That’s the kind of person he is. He does whatever it takes to get the job done,” she said.  

His commitment and approach to the game also caught the attention of the Lakers head coach, Ty Yanko, upon first connecting with him.  

“He seemed to have a great attitude and was really committed to improvement and bringing a good attitude to our team environments,” said Yanko. “And the biggest thing that we’re looking to build with our program is that kind of team camaraderie.” 

Diabo’s performance also impressed Yanko and others in the program. “He came highly recommended,” said Yanko. Though he’d never seen Diabo play in person, after watching a few of his games online from previous years, Diabo seemed to be an ideal fit.  

“I’m most excited to be able to showcase my skills with the team,” said Diabo, the sole Kahnawa’kehró:non on the roster of just over 20 players.  

The anticipation is echoed over on the west coast with the Junior A’s regular season kicking off May 15, with their first match in Burnaby against the Port Coquitlam Saints. Leading up to that, exhibition games will also take place, with the first one this coming Sunday. 

“We’re just really looking forward to having Nash be a part of our team. We think he’s going to be an excellent fit,” said Yanko. “The biggest thing I think was his potential. Obviously, he’s a great size in the net and he moves very well and seems to bring a really versatile skillset to the goal, which is what we were looking for,” said Yanko.  

He believes Diabo to be a valuable asset to the team as they pursue a Minto Cup. 

Diabo having three years of Junior eligibility was also a plus for the coach, as he sees an opportunity for growth where Diabo will have a chance to be mentored by the team’s current goaltender, who’s in his fifth season.  

As Diabo takes this leap, he’s confident there’s more to come. “I would describe this milestone as just the beginning,” he said.  


This article was originally published in print on April 12 in issue 33.15 of The Eastern Door.

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Nanor is a reporter and copy editor with The Eastern Door. She was previously the managing editor and creative director at The Link.

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Nanor is a reporter and copy editor with The Eastern Door. She was previously the managing editor and creative director at The Link.