By Sam Laskaris

Members of the Brooklin Lacrosse Club hit the road on Monday for what they thought would be their 2022 regular season opener.

But what actually transpired was a Major Series Lacrosse (MSL) exhibition contest between the Brooklin squad and the host Six Nations Chiefs.

That’s because the governing sports body in the province, the Ontario Lacrosse Association (OLA), did not assign any officials for the game, which was staged at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena in Hagersville.

Undoubtedly the fact no OLA officials arrived for the game was because of ongoing disputes between reps from the provincial association and the MSL.

One of the main discrepancies is what to do with a league member, the Brampton Excelsiors.

Michigan businessman Joe Norton, who owns the franchise, is determined to have his club play in Owen Sound, effective immediately, while OLA reps believe Brampton should still be home to the club.

When it was determined that no OLA officials were showing up on Monday, Brooklin head coach Jason Crosbie said both teams agreed to go ahead with the match with a pair of volunteer refs recruited from those in attendance.

The Chiefs ended up winning the game 10-6.

Monday’s outing was part of a Bread and Cheese Day doubleheader in Six Nations. Bread and Cheese Day is a long-standing tradition in Six Nations, which holds significant community value.

The Chiefs’ brass said it had been assured by the OLA that officials would be present for Monday’s contest despite ongoing difference between the MSL and the association.

Crosbie said he was surprised to be told no officials were present prior to Monday’s game.

“In a celebration like that, I found it a bit odd,” he said.

Crosbie added he was only told mere minutes before the match it would be an exhibition tilt instead of the season opener for both squads.

And he praised the efforts of the volunteer referees.

“They were great and very respectful in getting it done,” he said.

Crosbie also praised Brooklin veterans Jordi Jones-Smith and Mitch Wilde for fully explaining to their teammates the significance of the Bread and Cheese Day game to the Six Nations community.

Crosbie was also pleased with the efforts of his squad throughout the match. He estimated half of those in the Brooklin lineup were suiting up for their first MSL game and were squaring off a Chiefs’ team that included some National Lacrosse League stars.

“We stayed with them all game,” he said.

Rookie Dyson Williams netted three goals for Brooklin. The other Brooklin scorers were Wilde, Matt Duncan and Cody Ward.

Brooklin is scheduled to play in Cobourg this coming Sunday.

It remains to be seen, however, what will happen with that game and other upcoming MSL matches.