October 5, 2020
Canada’s Iroquois Nationals, a lacrosse team that represents the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy, is ranked #3 in the world. That shouldn’t come as a surprise: the Iroquois invented the game of lacrosse, which they dubbed “the medicine game,” hundreds of years ago.
So, when invitations went out to men’s lacrosse teams to compete at the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Ala., you would think that the Iroquois Nationals would have been on the guest list, right?
Organizers, using the same criteria that are used for to determine Olympic Games qualification status, determined that the Nationals couldn’t compete because the team is not from a sovereign nation — even though players have their own passports.
After more than 50,000 people signed a petition calling for the Nationals’ inclusion in the games, the directors had a change of heart. There was just one problem: only eight teams could compete, and all eight slots were already taken.
Enter the Irish.
Hearing of the National’s plight, the Irish national team withdrew from the Games, paving the way for the Nationals to get a spot. Says Michael Kennedy, Chief Executive Officer of Ireland Lacrosse, “It’s simply the right thing to do. We are a proud member of World Lacrosse and we recognize the importance of the World Games to the continued growth of our sport. As much as our players would have been honored to compete, we know the right thing is for the Iroquois Nationals to represent our sport on this international stage.”
Erin go Bragh!