(BRAMPTON, ON) – Fifteen wins in 15 playoff games. That is what it took for Windsor natives Josh Jubenville and Liam LeClair and their Ontario Junior A Lacrosse League team, the Six Nations Arrows, to win the greatest prize in junior lacrosse; the Minto Cup.
After 3-0 sweeps of Toronto Beaches, Whitby Warriors, and Mimico Mountaineers, winning the Iroquois Trophy as provincial champions the Arrows trekked to Brampton to compete in the Canadian Lacrosse Association’s national Junior A championship with the best teams in the nation.
On August 17, the Arrows took to the floor against Alberta’s Okotoks Raiders to open the Minto Cup round robin phase. Six Nations edged the Raiders 9-7, coming from behind with four unanswered goals in the final period. The next evening, the Arrows met the host team, Mimico, who they swept in the OJALL finals, and crushed them by an 8-3 score.
Twenty-four hours later, with first place on the line, Six Nations dropped British Columbia’s Coquitlam Adanacs 9-2. With a 3-0 record, the Arrows clinched first in the tournament round robin and earned a bye into the best-of-five finals.
Their eventual opponents turned out to be Coquitlam after a tie-breaker win over the Mountaineers. In the finals, the Arrows had no trouble wrangling the Adanacs, taking them in straight sets; 12-7, 9-4, and 8-3.
“Winning the Minto was a surreal feeling,” said LeClair. “This was something I’ve dreamed of since I first started playing lacrosse. It was great to see our hard work all year pay off. Having such a special and talented group of guys, any other outcome would’ve been disappointing.”
Born in 1998, LeClair still has two years of junior eligibility left. His older brother, Kellen, plays defence for the National Lacrosse League’s Calgary Roughnecks.
“It felt absolutely unreal to win a Minto Cup and the group of guys that I was a part of made it even more surreal,” said Jubenville. “It was our goal to win the last game of the year since training camp started in December and we wouldn’t settle for anything less. All the blood, sweat, and tears that we shed throughout the year paid off and made everything worth it.”
Since winning the Minto Cup, Jubenville has been drafted 40th overall by the Toronto Rock in the 2017 NLL Entry Draft.
“Our team was like a family and the togetherness was unmatchable. I can easily say [winning the cup] was one of the best moments in my life,” he said. “Being one of the very few guys from Windsor to achieve such an accomplishment makes it a lot more special. It’s one of those things that will stay with me for the rest of my life and every time I think about it I get chills.”
Before joining the Arrows, LeClair and Jubenville were both members of the Windsor Clippers Junior B lacrosse team. Jubenville was with the Clippers for four seasons, while LeClair started this year with Windsor to tune up for the Arrows season, but played two complete seasons prior.