It took seven seasons, but the Onondaga Redhawks can now call themselves champions. Finishing runner-up four previous times to the Seneca WarChiefs, Onondaga made history on Tuesday night when they defeated those same WarChiefs in Game 3 of the best-of three finals 11-7 and capture their first league crown.
Since the league first began in 2014 the Seneca WarChiefs have been the only team to win a championship. They have medaled in five of six Founders Cup appearances (silver in 2014, 2015, 2018) and were again the favorite to return to the national tournament after finishing atop the league standings with a 10-1-1 regular season record.
Onondaga were finalists in the first three seasons and again in 2019. The Redhawks went 9-3-0 in the regular season which included a 13-12 victory on July 9. After dropping Game 1 of the finals the Redhawks won Game 2 on their home floor before defeating the WarChiefs in front of a packed crowd at Cattaraugus Community Center.
Now the champions turn their attention to the Founders Cup, hosted this year in Brampton, Ontario. Six teams play a round robin then are seeded for medal games.
Onondaga Redhawks Founders Cup schedule
August 16 vs Edmonton Warriors, 4:30 PM
August 17 vs Saskatchewan SWAT, noon
August 18 vs Brampton Excelsiors, 7:30 PM
August 19 vs Ontario (Nepean Knights vs Windsor Clippers), noon
August 20 vs British Columbia (Coquitlam Adanacs vs Kamloops Venom), 4:30 PM
History was made on Sunday when the Tuscarora Junior Tomahawks took the floor for the very first time at Cornerstone CFCU Arena. More than two years after announcing the squad the Tomahawks went on to defeat Tonawanda Braves 16-6.
Head coach Randy Chrysler was excited about the event saying, “What an emotional night for myself, players, management, volunteers and Tuscarora Nation. This was a historical night. To top the event off we come away with our first ever Junior B win!”
Tonawanda, one of the original members of the First Nations Junior B Lacrosse League, returned to league play after sitting out the 2018 and 2019 seasons. They are led by newly appointed coach Wyn Blueye.
The two teams meet again this Sunday at Cornerstone. Game time is scheduled for 3:00 PM.
Tonawanda Junior Braves have named Wyn Blueye as their head coach for the 2022 season. Blueye was set to lead the team in 2020 before COVID-19 caused the cancellation of the season.
A 2014 graduate of Akron Central High School, Blueye has played in the Tonawanda Braves system for a number of years. He also played for the Niagara Thunderhawks of the OJBLL in 2017 finishing tied for sixth in team scoring with eight goals, 20 assists in 20 games played.
“I am excited and I can’t wait to get started,” said Blueye.
The 2022 FNJBLL regular season is set to begin May 22 when the new Tuscarora Tomahawks host Tonawanda.
Lacrosse is back and so is First Nations Junior B Lacrosse League! After two seasons of cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic league play will return in 2022.
Four teams will compete this summer: Onondaga Redhawks, Seneca WarChiefs, Tonawanda Braves and Tuscarora Tomahawks.
Seneca are six-time league champions and have medalled five of six appearances at Founders Cup. Four-time runner-up Onondaga nearly unseated the champs in 2019 taking the two of the first three games in the league finals. The WarChiefs battled back though winning the final two games to capture their sixth-straight title.
Tonawanda return to the fold after sitting out the 2018 and 2019 seasons. The Junior Braves play their home games at Logan Field.
New to the league this year are the Junior Tomahawks, who were set to join FNJBLL back in 2020.
Sitting out in 2022 are Allegany Arrows, Mohawk Medicine Men and Tyendinaga Thunder.
Teams will compete for a spot at Founders Cup 2022 hosted by the Brampton Excelsiors.
First Nations Junior B Lacrosse League will have a different look in 2020. Two expansion teams were recently admitted in addition to the returning Tonawanda Jr. Braves, who have been on hiatus since 2017.
New to the FNJBLL are the Allegany Jr. Arrows and Tuscarora Jr. Tomahawks. Rodney Thehotrod Redeye is the Jr. Arrows General Manager while Randy Chrysler leads the Jr. Tomahawks.
An original member of the league, Tonawanda returns after sitting out two seasons. Wyn Blueye will be the new head coach of the team. Blueye played in the Braves minor association, Junior B with the NOTL Thunderhawks, Braves and USA Indoor Lacrosse. He has coaching experience with both the minors and Sr. Braves.
Jr. Braves GM Jason Pragle is pleased to be a part of the now seven-team league.
“Many players have asked the last couple of years if we were going to return,” said Pragle. “We just needed to have commitment from a coach.”
The past four seasons the circuit had just four teams with a 12-game schedule. Seneca WarChiefs have been dominant since the league inception, winning all six titles. The WarChiefs have medaled at Founders’ Cup five times capturing silver (2014, 2015, 2018) and bronze (2016, 2017 before a fifth place finish in 2019.
Pragle is one of many who are excited for the expansion of FNJBLL saying, “we look forward to the 2020 FNJBLL season. We also anticipate the leagues potential to grow in the future, to give our players the opportunity to play more games.”