Canada Set Standard with Sixes Sweep at The World Games

Brooklyn Walker-Welch and Dhane Smith won gold medals with Canada at The World Games in Birmingham, Ala.

This story appears in the September/October edition of USA Lacrosse Magazine. Join our momentum.

A new discipline seemed all too familiar for the Canadian men’s and women’s Sixes teams.

In the land of Southern barbecue and soul food, The World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, had a distinct North of the Border flavor.

Armed with men and women well-versed in box lacrosse, Canada utilized those skills masterfully to earn gold medals.

The men ran roughshod throughout the rest of the field, picking apart the U.S. 23-9 in the gold medal game. The women topped the U.S. 14-12 to capture a gold medal of their own, riding a late save by Lauren Spence to glory.

“Brodie Merrill, John Grant Jr., Jordan Hall and the rest of the coaching staff did a great job of preparing and picking this team,” said Dhane Smith, the NLL MVP who helped facilitate the high-octane men’s offense. “They didn’t pick individuals that could play just offense or just defense. They picked players that could play both ways.”

Physical, aggressive and playing with a little bit of a mean streak, Canada scored 117 goals over its five games in Birmingham. Instead of taking risky shots, they tried risky passes inside. Because shots that go out of bounds result in a turnover and not possession for the team closest to the ball, Canada focused its game in front of the cage.

It worked, and there wasn’t a defense at The World Games that could stop it.

Dana Dobbie, who also captured a silver medal at the World Lacrosse Women’s Championship in Towson, Maryland prior to hopping on a two-hour flight to Alabama, thinks it’s too simplistic to say that box experience was the lone factor in Canada’s success. It helped for sure, but Dobbie thinks Sixes gives countries the opportunity to focus heavily on their strengths while masking their weaknesses.

In a discipline that’s still developing worldwide, that could provide interesting opportunities to see how lacrosse evolves in each nation.

“Take the best of what you have in your country and then build a team around that,” Dobbie said. “Sixes really allows you to highlight your strengths and hide your weaknesses if you have the right strategy.”

Dobbie called Emily Boissonneault, Brooklyn Walker-Welch and Lydia Sutton unsung heroes for frustrating opposing offenses and then kickstarting Canada’s own offense on the other end.

“We had such strong defensive matchup players who had the stickwork and lacrosse IQ to transition the ball and take care of the ball,” Dobbie said.


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