Rush GM/Head Coach Set to Repeat at Minto CupAugust 17, 2012 - National Lacrosse League (NLL) Edmonton Rush
The Whitby Warriors and their head coach Derek Keenan have the honor of hosting the 2012 Minto Cup, and they are well aware that the role has its advantages and disadvantages. By far the biggest challenge for the Warriors will be the distractions that are associated with hosting, in particular the buzz around town that the tournament creates, and the players receiving non-stop requests for their attention, not to mention prime tickets.
Yet those same distractions can also be somewhat of a benefit as the Warriors will enjoy home cooking, their own beds, and boisterous fan support. Whether the hosts' roll turns out to be a plus or minus won't be settled until the Warriors play their final game of the Cup.
"As coach it might not be the greatest thing to be the host team because there are a lot of things that are hard to deal with," noted Keenan, who returns this winter as the GM/Head Coach of the Edmonton Rush.
"What I do like is that we can get in our routine rather than worrying about traveling. And for the organizing committee and the community of Whitby, hosting the Minto Cup is absolutely great. The arena is going to be packed."
Whitby enters the 2012 Minto Cup as the defending champions, taking last year's event in Okotoks, Alberta, and giving Keenan his first national Junior "A' title. But the Warriors will have their work cut out for them going up against a trio of rivals all aiming to knock them off their perch, mostly notably the Orangeville Northmen who cruised en route to the Ontario title, quickly dispatching Whitby along the way.
Calgary Mountaineers and Coquitlam round out the field of four vying for the Minto Cup - a championship trophy that is as tough as the come to claim.
"There isn't one specific area that you need to have to win," said Keenan. "The winning team is the team that plays the most well-rounded game. We're not as good offensively as we were a year ago, but I think we're better defensively. You have to be well-rounded, you have to have a balanced attack.
"I think the team that does the best is the team that can adapt and make quick changes to circumstances within a game and between each game. Last year in the tournament we didn't play that well early on but we got better and played our best right at the end when it mattered most."
Only 11 teams have repeated or won multiple Minto Cup championship in consecutive years. The most successful run came from 1963 through 1969 when the Oshawa Green Gaels won seven straight Cups, defeating the New Westminster Salmonbellies in each championship tournament.
The second-longest streak of championships belongs to the Peterborough PCO's and Gray Munros which won four straight titles from 1972 through 1975. Peterborough defeated Richmond and Burnaby twice apiece while winning those Cups.
Minto Cup Streaks
Brampton ABC's (3) - 1957 through 1959
Oshawa Green Gaels (7) - 1963 through 1969
Peterborough PCO's/Gray Munros (4) - 1972 through 1975
Burnaby Cablevision (3) - 1977 through 1979
Peterborough James Gang (3) - 1981 through 1983
Whitby Warriors (2) - 1984 and 1985
Peterborough Maulers (2) - 1986 and 1987
St. Catharines Athletics (2) - 1990 and 1991
Orangeville Northmen (2) - 1995 and 1996
Burnaby Lakers (2) - 2004 and 2005
Orangeville Northmen (2) - 2008 and 2009
National Lacrosse League Stories from August 17, 2012
- Hill Exceeds Own Expectations, Named Top Rookie - Rochester Knighthawks
- Rush GM/Head Coach Set to Repeat at Minto Cup - Edmonton Rush
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