Grant to Make 40th International Appearance


 From Canadian Men’s Indoor Lacrosse Team

 Monday, May 23, 2011


     John Grant Jr. will play his 40th international game for Canada on Tuesday.

     The prolific scorer from Peterborough, who is in Prague to help Canada shoot for a third straight world indoor championship, played his first international 13 years ago.

     “It’s an honour to throw the sweater over my head,’’ says Grant. “Hopefully 2011 isn’t the last of me.’’



     He’s equipment manager and driver, and he’ll do anything else to help Canada’s team during the world indoor tournament.

     Ward Sanderson’s contribution is huge, and he’s a great guy, too, with a lacrosse background that’s mighty impressive. He was on the Vancouver Burrards teams that won the Mann Cup in 1975 and 1977 and was team president in 1984 and 1985. He lives in Colorado now and is a special assistant to head coach Bob Hamley of the NLL’s Mammoth.

     So, what kind of a lacrosse player was he?

     “I was a goal scorer but I’d get back on defence once in a while,’’ he coyly replies.

     His style of play was reflected in a career penalty minutes total in excess of 1,500 minutes.

     “None of them should have happened to me,’’ he insists. “I was unjustly charged in almost all cases.’’

     Asked if he dropped the gloves at any time while a Burrards game was in progress, Sanderson hesitated before answering.

      “Mine were pretty loose so they fell off quite often,’’ he offered as a smile crept across his face.

      He also was a rugby player in Vancouver, earning the nickname Weird Ward. How did that come about?

     “That’s not a lacrosse question so I refuse to answer on the grounds it may incriminate me,’’ he said during a rare interview.

     In his teens, he was once dubbed Batman.

     “A guy through a ball way over my head and I threw a bat up at it,’’ he explains. “I forgot about the bat and it came down and hit me on the head. I picked up the bat and started walking and I couldn’t see for the blood in my eyes. I had to go to the hospital and when I got back all the kids called me Batman.’’



     The Baggataway Braves are one of the teams participating in an all-ages tournament being held in conjunction with the world indoor championship and Ray McWhirter, who helped gather players from across Canada to create a lineup, is loving every minute of it.

    “We wanted to come and watch the worlds, that was our number one goal, and when we learned through the OLA Forum on the Internet that there was this event going on, too, we decided to throw together a team,’’ explained McWhirter, 50, who is from Whitby, Ontario, and who is on the tactical team that guards the nearby Pickering nuclear power plant.  “We all played pretty competitive lacrosse in our younger days and, you know what, we’re out here to have some fun and drink some beer. At 50 years old, if you can still get out here and throw a stick around, man, that’s life.’’

     The Braves defeated the Prague Padres 15-6 in their first game of the week.

     Peter Parke, a veterinarian in Courtenay, B.C., is on the team. He was also a multiple Mann Cup winner with the Brooklin Redmen.

     “I always like to play masters whenever I can because you never know how long you can keep moving and be fluid out there,’’ said Parke. “And it’s a nice chance to see a part of Europe. This ties in a lot of things.’’

     Blue Hill was going to play for the Braves but dropped out when he was asked to join the Iroquois Nationals in the main tournament.



    For all those who are convinced that lacrosse referees are from a different planet: world championship officials are staying at the Mars Hotel two blocks from Eden Arena.

    Doing an absolutely marvellous job as supervisor of referees is Canadian Lacrosse Association international director Stu Begg of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.


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