In a small community in South Etobicoke, just west of Toronto, a few years back, a buzz could be heard. It was faint at first, but it was audible all the same. The Mimico Mountaineers were awarded a Junior A Lacrosse franchise for the first time in over thirty years.
The move came as Mimico Arena began hanging more and more ‘A’ banners at the minor level underneath those of Minto and Mann Cup Championships almost an entire generation before. It is a community full of history, not just in lacrosse, but stretching back to a small railroad town. But the buzz began because amongst that history, new legends were about to be made.
Bleed Blue became the battle cry as the buzz became a rustle when the rest of the province was put on notice. Peewee, Bantam and Midget Mountaineers began winning tournaments at the ‘A’ level. Soon the Novice ranks followed. The rustle caused those above to take notice as Mimico’s annual John ‘JR’ Robinson Memorial Tournament itself was reclassified as an ‘A’ tournament.
It was then the community’s turn to take notice as the rustle built to a roar when the Mountaineers played their first Junior A game. As the arena went dark, no longer were fans cheering for other teams because their boys played there, but they cheered as long-time Mimico names like Riley Hutchcraft and Tanner Thompson, amongst others, returned to their home town to don the jerseys of their youth.
Despite a disappointing first campaign, the boys understood their role and began supporting minor lacrosse, along with Mimico alumni. Oakville was supposed to have home floor advantage at last year’s Ontario Lacrosse Final Six. But the teams from ‘The Six’ stole it away, thanks to their blue brethren, capturing two of a possible three provincial championships. That day, truly, the roar crescendo’ d to an echoing thunder the likes of which hadn’t been heard in a long time in this part of town.
In the midst of year two, there was another sound. Outsiders began to moan; it’s not Mimico’s time, they’re not strong enough. And yet, they clinched a playoff spot. The bellowing continued; they’re not experienced enough, just wait for the graduates. And yet, they captured home floor in round one as the fourth overall seed. But they can’t do it, they’re not fast enough. And they swept Burlington in three games.
With the second round upon us, there is a wall of sound surrounding this team, some positive, some not so much. It all depends what you choose to listen to.
Can they beat the heavily favoured Six Nations Arrows? Four times? At least once at the ILA? Can they win a Minto Cup this year? Next year? Who knows— but there is coming a day when the Drummond Street Bowl will host a national championship and when that day comes, it will likely be restored to its historic outdoor predecessor because the walls won’t be able to contain the bodies and the roof won’t cap the cheers.
Make no mistake, something big is happening here.
By: Matthew Caruck