Canada seeks 3rd straight world indoor lacrosse title
Three-peat is on the mind of lacrosse fans across Canada as the national team prepares to defend their back-to-back World Indoor Lacrosse Championships in Prague from May 21-28.
Canada sends overseas another dream team, which boasts all-stars from across the National Lacrosse League and a seasoned coaching staff that helped guide the country to gold medals in 2003 and 2007.
Ed Comeau moves from assistant to head coach and brings an impressive 13-year NLL resume, including general manager and coach of the year awards.
"Ed is one of the best coaches in the game and has great chemistry with assistants Paul Day and Derek Keenan," Team Canada executive director Dean French said.
Opponents will have their hands full with a talent-laded outfit, led by Colin Doyle, Brodie Merrill, and Dan Dawson. A few others might fly under the radar.
"Rory Smith, who plays for the Minnesota Swarm, comes to mind," said French. "He is known as a fighter but we were impressed with his defensive abilities, work ethic and presence on the floor." In the past two tournaments the United States and Iroquois finished second and third respectively, keeping them both as the top threats to take Canada's crown.
"I'm impressed with how quickly Paul Rabil has learned the indoor game and I think Casey Powell is one of the best overall," said French of Team USA.
The addition of the NLL Rochester Knighthawks rookie sensation Cody Jamieson of the Rochester Knighthawks has made Iroquois more dangerous. An improved England squad is knocking at the door after placing fourth in 2007, so Canada appears to have its toughest challenge yet at the world championships.
Meet the captain
Doyle, captain of the NLL's Toronto Rock, will sport the 'C' for Team Canada. The 33 year old Kitchener, Ont., native was an important contributor on the 2003 and 2007 national teams.
"I'm looking forward to being one of the many great leaders on this team," he said, "and hopefully getting the chance to hoist that trophy at the end."
CBCSports.ca caught up with Doyle to learn more about the man behind the jersey.
CBCSports.ca: What do you love most about lacrosse?
CD: I love the competition. I love the physicality of the sport, tied directly with the speed of the game. You have to be good, but you also have to be able to think and make split second decisions.
CBCSports.ca: What is your leadership style and how do you motivate teammates as a captain?
CD: I have always been honest and vocal, but have also prided myself on being the hardest working guy. That way, it is do as I do. The luxury of being around such good teams is that the leadership of a team never lies on one man's shoulders. I still play with some of the best leaders in the game. It is important to allow them to lead just as much as you do.
CBCSports.ca:What are you looking forward to most in playing for Team Canada again at the world championships in Prague?
CD: Getting a chance to play with and against the best lacrosse players in the world. It is always an honour to see guys you only compete against to see how they prepare and how they motivate. It will be a great dynamic in Prague and in International competition I always look forward to putting on the Canadian flag, and seeing different parts of the world. Seeing Prague will not be lost on me while we compete to win a gold medal.
CBCSports.ca: Which team do you feel is Canada's strongest competition and why?
CD: I think both the U.S. and Iroquois will be the toughest. The U.S. have always had athleticism, but now they have a pretty solid understanding and passion of the indoor game. The Iroquois have talent, passion and depth. They will be tough on skill alone, but the fact that most of them play together somewhere will give them chemistry as well.
Andy McNamara is a Toronto-area sports broadcaster and writer. He is the play-by-play voice for the Toronto Rock on the National Lacrosse League Network and for the 2011 World Indoor Lacrosse Championships. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow on Twitter @AndyMc81