Indigenous players in the National Lacrosse League (NLL) are excelling this season. Many find themselves among the statistical leaders in a variety of categories in the world’s top professional box lacrosse circuit.
For starters, two of the top goaltenders in the 13-team league this season are Doug Jamieson and Warren Hill. Both are from the Six Nations community of Ohsweken in Ontario.
Jamieson, who is in his fourth NLL campaign, is a member of the New England Black Wolves. He has posted a 4-2 record in his first six appearances with the Black Wolves this season.
And he’s leading the league with an 8.74 goals-against average (GAA).
Jamieson also has a league-best save percentage of .832.
As for Hill, who is in his third year in the NLL, he has a league-leading six victories in his first seven appearances with the Halifax Thunderbirds.
This marks the first season of play for the Thunderbirds, who relocated to Halifax from Rochester where they were known as the Knighthawks. It should be noted an NLL expansion franchise is still operating in Rochester, under the Knighthawks’ moniker.
Hill’s 9.00 GAA is third best in the league while his .819 save percentage is fourth best.
While they are both shining away from home now, both Jamieson and Hill starred in their home community this past summer.
Jamieson was a member of the Six Nations Chiefs, who advanced to the championship final of the Ontario-based Major Series Lacrosse (MSL).
And Hill backstopped the Six Nations Rivermen, a Senior B squad, to a provincial crown in the Ontario Series Lacrosse and then a national title, the Presidents Cup.
Hill’s teammate in Halifax, Cody Jamieson (no relation to Doug), a Mohawk from Ohsweken , is continuing his high-scoring ways in this, his 10th, NLL season.
Cody Jamieson, who is the Halifax captain, spent the past nine years starring in Rochester. He moved with the franchise to Halifax and is now leading the Thunderbirds in scoring with 30 points (12 goals and 18 assists) in seven games.
Cody Jamieson led his Rochester team in points in six of the nine years he was with the Knighthawks.
A pair of other Indigenous players are also challenging for their team scoring lead. Ohsweken’s Randy Staats and Lyle Thompson, who is from the Onondaga Nation in New York and currently arguably the world’s best lacrosse player, are second and third, respectively, in scoring for the Georgia Swarm.
Staats has collected 37 points (nine goals, 28 assists) in seven games. Thompson has 35 points, including 16 goals in seven matches.
As for Travis Longboat, he’s had some early success in his rookie NLL season with the expansion New York Riptide.
The diminutive forward – he’s listed at 5-foot-9 and 155 pounds – is in a three-way tie for fifth place in NLL rookie scoring. Longboat had scored twice and added 14 assists for a total of 16 points after his first six outings.
The Riptide selected Longboat in the third round, 47th over-all, in the NLL Entry Draft this past September.
Longboat had a successful junior career in his hometown, first with the Six Nations Rebels’ Junior B squad and then with the Six Nations Arrows, a Junior A club. He led the Arrows in scoring in 2019 by racking up 57 points (22 goals and 35 assists) in 19 regular season contests.
Longboat’s Riptide teammate Jake Fox has shown a glimpse he might develop into a future NLL star. Fox, a Metis who hails from Ottawa, is on the New York practice roster, after being New York’s second-round pick, 19th over-all, in the league draft this past September.
Fox has been activated for a pair of games this season.
In his NLL debut last month Fox, who played this past summer with the MSL’s Brooklin Lacrosse Club, scored a goal and added a pair of assists. For his efforts Fox was voted as the league’s rookie of the week.
Oshweken’s Austin Staats (Randy’s younger brother), a member of the San Diego Seals who was named the NLL’s top rookie in 2019, is back in action now.
Austin Staats, who racked up 61 points in 14 games as a rookie, missed the Seals’ first seven matches this season as he was recuperating from knee surgery.
But Austin scored once and added three assists in his return to the San Diego lineup this past Saturday as the Seals downed the Colorado Mammoth 17-10. Though that match was a San Diego home game it was actually played in Las Vegas.