Journey Begins for Johnson and PowlessJuly 9, 2012 - National Lacrosse League (NLL) Rochester Knighthawks
The trek started with a 6:30 a.m. bus to Montreal, where the team caught a flight to Switzerland. After a six-hour layover, it was on to Helsinki, Finland. The Iroquois team will finally reach Turku today, which they will call home for the next two weeks.
"It's a great honor to represent the Team Iroquois. I'm getting excited to leave now," added Powless. "It was kind of hard at first because I was busy playing with the Arrows."
Powless finished second on the Arrows with 77 points (37+40) in 14 games during the regular season. Six Nations captured the regular season title and swept the St. Catharines Athletics 3-0 in the first round of the Ontario Playoffs. The league now takes a two-week break for the World Championships.
Johnson and Powless are on a trip they hope produces another championship to go along with the 2012 Champion's Cup they won in May with the Knighthawks. Powless will play for coaches Johnson, Delby Powless and Freeman Bucktooth.
The 2012 U-19 World Championships are set for July 12th to the 21st with 13 competing nations heading to Turku. The teams include Australia, Bermuda, Canada, Czech Republic, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Iroquois Nationals, Netherlands, Scotland, USA and Wales.The Iroquois team opens play on Friday, July 13th against England.
"I am nervous I am going to forget something, because I haven't packed yet," said Johnson on Saturday night. "Off and on as far as the excitement because you realize how long you will be gone for."
The Iroquois Nationals are looking to build upon their bronze-medal finish at the 2008 U-19 tourney. The team returns three players from that team in Albany's Lyle Thompson, Onondaga Community College's Randy Staats and college-bound goalie Warren Hill. Johnson cited the key to the Iroquois winning gold this time around.
"We have to be patient on offense and defense. Stay out of penalty box and don't get overly aggressive," said Johnson. "Offensively, I think we are deeper especially at the midfield position than in past year. When we get scoring chances we have to bury them."
The Iroquois team has immense depth with scorers like Thompon, Staats, Seth Oakes, Jake Bomberry, Zach Miller, Quinn Powless and Powless. Staats and Powless are two of the eight Six Nations Arrows on the Iroquois team. Johnson has coached about a dozen of the players and half of the players since they were Pee Wee or Bantams. He admitted that Powless will impress people with his off-ball play and skills as a defensive midfielder.
"He brings maturity and leadership to the team. At 19, he is one of the older guys that players already looked up to. Now he can take that to an entirely different level," said Johnson. "He has been there and won a championship in his first season. His stock has doubled by what he brings to the team."
Powless completed his rookie season in the NLL with 50 points and added 11 in the postseason. The fifth overall pick of the Knighthawks won the NLL Sportsmanship Award and was an All-Rookie Team member. For Powless the last two months have been a whirlwind with an NLL title, a playoff run by the Six Nations Arrows and now playing for the Iroquois team.
"It's been a crazy year so far," he said. "Life doesn't get much better than this."
National Lacrosse League Stories from July 9, 2012
- Knighthawks Among Players Giving Back to 'Right to Play' - Rochester Knighthawks
- Journey Begins for Johnson and Powless - Rochester Knighthawks
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