The Salmonbellies and the Six Nations Chiefs
What you need to know about this year's Mann Cup championship, which gets underway on Friday, Sept. 8
The New Westminster Salmonbellies during a home game at Queen’s Park Arena in May 2022. Ria Renouf.
People have been rushing to get their hands on tickets for this year’s Mann Cup, which will take place at Queen’s Park Arena starting Friday, Sept. 8.
On Wednesday alone, there was a line-up at the arena for folks looking to get their hands on highly-coveted paper tickets. The anticipation for sell-out was fairly high—so much so that the buyers were limited to six tickets per person per game.
RT @Salmonbellies: Want paper tickets? Today's the day at QPA!
We expect a sell out. Don't delay!
*Max 6 tix per person per game.
— New West Anchor (@newwestanchor)
Sep 6, 2023
For the team, seeing people from New West rally around them—whether longtime fans or fresh faces—has been nothing short of incredible to watch.
“You know, people were asked in various online polls from the beginning of the season who was going to win the season. Everybody said Langley,” says Paul Horn who, along with serving as Mayor of Mission, is also the president of the New West Salmonbellies.
“The team that’s coming to visit us is a stacked team,” adds Horn, in reference to the Six Nations Chiefs, "but so was the Langley Thunder team. They were out there last year and they’d built their team to win a Mann Cup.”
Horn adds that this was no cake walk: the team knew what it was attempting to bounce back from during their last series with the Thunder.
“I think we were all a little bit low after Game 5. But Game 6, we came into the room, and I could instantly tell—especially from our leadership group—that they were calm and poised and ready,” recalls Horn, adding that the crowd has been a great energizer for the entire crew, particularly when the last few years have been a challenge.
The Mann Cup, on display at the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in New West. Ria Renouf.
“We knew going into this, myself and Ray Porcellato, our GM, talked about this group, coming together, coalescing for this kind of horizon. We didn’t expect to have COVID in the middle of it all but that’s again an example of something we had to be resilient to and demonstrate [Bellie] pride in overcoming.”
Part of the magic, explains Horn, is the winning combination of new faces and veteran players. “I couldn’t be more proud because I see how the established veterans are keeping it cool. It’s not about…lecturing those [new] players…the young guys need to look over and see the older guys and say, "‘ these guys aren’t freaking out, so I don’t think I’ll freak out either.’”
The teams involved
The Salmonbellies have the most Mann Cups in league history. The group won its first Mann Cup in 1915; they brought home their last cup in 1991.
From the east, the Six Nations Chiefs have six Mann Cups to their name, winning their most recent one in 2016 against the Maple Ridge Burrards. This year they beat the Peterborough Lakers to earn their right to play New West.
“We’ve been to the Mann Cup seven times since 1991, and two of [those times] are against this very same team,” notes Horn, who says while the team’s history at the Mann Cup is fair to acknowledge, the game this team plays along with their mentality and attitude over the next few weeks is just as—if not more—important.
New West’s ‘deep roots’
When asked what it is that makes people in New West absolutely crave lacrosse, Horn says it comes down to legacy.
“It’s deep roots, 135 years this club has been around. We have examples in our club…third generation involvement…the streets of our city. We have Jimmy and Jordan McBride on the club this year. Lots of brothers, fathers, sons, and every single person that is in the stand has, at the very least have had some involvement at the [minor] level or juniors.
“It’s one of the few places where you can drive down the street any time of the year, and you’re going to see a kid wearing a Bellies’ jersey, or a Bellies’ hoodie going to practice or going to play wall ball. It’s what we do in New Westminster. It’s that simple.”
Where can I buy tickets?
The best place to purchase your tickets is straight from the Salmonbellies website. The team has been posting the latest information regarding tickets sales to their web page.
There have also been recent warnings from the team over their X/Twitter account, with people apparently reporting potential scammers.
“Don’t click on links you may see claiming to offer free broadcasts. These are scams. The only legitimate broadcast is WLA TV,” the same post goes on to say.
Horn is echoing those sentiments.
“There are lots of people out there who are scamming. What they’ll do is give you a code you can put on your phone but someone else will already have checked in with that code and you won’t be able to get access [to the game]. There’s nothing we can do to help if that happens,” explains Horn.
Friday, Sept. 8 at 7:30pm
Saturday, Sept. 9 at 7:30pm
Monday, Sept. 11 at 7:30pm
Tuesday, Sept. 12 at 7:30pm
Get yours for games 2, 3 and 4 now.
Visit Salmonbellies.com for your tickets!
— NW Salmonbellies (@Salmonbellies)
Sep 4, 2023
If additional games have to take place—for instance, Game 1 and Game 2 end up being split between the two teams at one apiece, you’ll want to watch for Game 5 tickets, which will go up fairly quickly.
Horn is also urging folks to arrive early, and to avoid driving if possible, noting that the parking situation can get pretty rough—and Friday night will be no exception.
“We recognize just exactly how much work it means to get this far, and I cannot thank enough all of the people that have been a part of it,” Horn underscores, grateful that such an incredible community is behind the team. “When you get out there and celebrate that team, you are literally putting fuel in their tank. They cannot make noise about how much noise you make, so wear your red, get loud, and let’s go Bellies.”
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