July 12, 2010
John Grant Jr. hopes to help Canada win title in England just like his father did in 1978
MANCHESTER, England _ Dave Huntley can see the similarities, and one big difference, too.
John Grant, Huntley’s teammate on the 1978 Canadian side that won the world field lacrosse championship in nearby Stockport, was a towering six-foot-six stick artist.
John Grant Jr., playing for now head coach Huntley on Canada’s 2010 world entry, is a six-foot-two magician with the ball, too.
“They both are big guys with great sticks,’’ says Huntley. “The intriguing difference is that Senior was a pass-first guy and Junior is a shoot-first guy.’’
Grant Jr. _ simply Junior to his friends and fans _ already has a world title to his credit from 2006 in London, Ont., and hopes that this his fourth world tournament will yield another. Canada opens Friday against Japan. The team practiced in a light rain six hours after arriving at dawn Monday.
Grant Jr. was coached by his father while growing up in Peterborough, Ont.
“When he wasn’t coaching me, I was following him to his games when I was a kid,’’ says Grant Jr. “I modeled what he was doing on the floor.’’
Just like his dad, he shoots left.
“I hope our team gets a chance to go by Stockport where they won _ use it as an inspirational kind of thing,’’ he says. “I know all the guys on this team are cognizant of the tradition of this, and we’ve got a lot riding on this tournament as we’re defending champions. We’ve got a lot to play for here and everybody is excited about playing here.’’
The 35-year-old forward has been a prolific goal scorer all his life.
“I have to be a leader offensively,’’ he says. “There’s a lot of young guys on this team so off the field I’ve got to kind of lead by example. It’s a difficult situation sometimes when you fly a young kid over here to spend two weeks away from home. We have to come together as a team and hopefully my leadership can help with that.’’
The 1978 world champions were coached by Bobby Allan of Peterborough and Don Barrie of the Lift Lock City was an assistant coach. John Grant, Carm Collins, Jim Wasson and Sandy Lynch were Peterborough players on the field.
Grant Jr. is the only player from Peterborough on this year’s team although two of his summer teammates with the OLA Lakers _ Mark Steenhuis of St. Catharines, Ont., and Mac Allen of Toronto _ are on the world team, too, and Peterborough native Dean French is the team’s executive director.
“It’s in our blood in Peterborough,’’ Grant Jr. says of lacrosse. “I’m proud to represent the city. I just recently moved back there (from Rochester, N.Y.) . . . and I’m also representing St. John’s, Newfoundland, as well.’’
That angle comes about because the Newfoundland Lacrosse Association is sponsoring Grant Jr. during this tournament.
“I’ve been in contact with a guy who’s starting a program that is new out there and he’s pretty excited about getting things done so anything I can do to help out I’ll do. I will get out there to hold a camp or a clinic. It’s good to see that the growth of lacrosse is spreading all over the country.’’