OTTAWA, ON, June 12, 2014 - The Canadian Lacrosse Association (CLA) is honoured to name Micheal 'Kanentakeron' Mitchell as the 2014 recipient of the Lester B. Pearson Award. Considered to be the highest honour in the Canadian lacrosse community, the Lester B. Pearson award is presented by the CLA to an individual in recognition of their outstanding contributions of sportsmanship and leadership in the game of lacrosse, along with the physical and mental development of our young athletes through unselfish dedication as a volunteer. A recipient of the Lester B. Pearson award has made a significant contribution, enhancement or legacy to the game of lacrosse at the national or international level and has promoted a positive image and respect for the game of lacrosse.
Mike Mitchell epitomizes all of those qualities - a leader, a contributor, an advocate and relentless promoter of the game, giving his time, unselfishly, as a dedicated volunteer.
Mike was born into lacrosse; both of his parents were involved in the making of the hickory lacrosse stick, a piece of the game that embodies the traditional and spiritual values of the game, a tradition which was passed on to Mike at a very early age. From a playing standpoint, Mike played in the St. Regis, Cornwall Island & Cornwall Minor Lacrosse systems of eastern Ontario & western Quebec for many years and is considered by many to be one of the best face-off man and stick handler to come out of Akwesasne.
Mike’s greatest contributions to the game of lacrosse is quite possibly his quiet determination to promote the game of lacrosse as the Creator’s Game and that it’s a game of thanksgiving to the Creator for all He has provided to us. While Dr. William George Beers is considered the Father or founder of the modern game of lacrosse, Mike has been and continues to be a true champion of the game nationally and internationally - not just for the Mohawk people, but for all other First Nation people.
In 1990, Mike started his vision of promoting lacrosse by reviving the Akwesasne Minor Lacrosse Association. After many dormant years, Mike's revival of the Akwesasne Minor Lacrosse Association would have minor teams once again competing in the Ontario Minor Lacrosse Association. His drive to further promote and grow the game continued with the development of the Iroquois Lacrosse Association over twenty (20) years ago.
In 1993, Mike was appointed to the CLA's Board of Directors where amongst his duties as a Board member, he led the campaign to have First Nations participants recognized and inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame (CLHoF), both as players and builders . In 2003, he himself was honoured by the CLHoF with his induction as a Special Contributor in lacrosse.
Mike’s selfless advocacy for the game and those who play it continued as he played a key role in establishing the Akwesasne Lacrosse Hall of Fame [presently in a transition stage to become the Akwesasne Sports Hall of Fame]. Most recently, he was recognized for all that he has given when he was the proud recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal for his service to his people and Canada.
In his nomination letter for the Lester B. Pearson award, the nominator perfectly summarized what makes Mike a valuable recipient of the award, "In our First Nations communities and in the lacrosse organizations both here in Canada and in the United States and possibly abroad, Mike is lacrosse and he epitomizes how lacrosse is to be demonstrated and played to celebrate our good life, a healthy body, mind and spirit, to never to lose sight that we play the game for the Creator and that it is a gift from the Creator."
It was with great pleasure that CLA President, Mr. Joey Harris, presented the Lester B. Pearson award to Mike at the 2014 CLA Semi-Annual General Meeting, held in Montreal, QC.
Thank you, Mr. Micheal ‘Kanentakeron’ Mitchell.
About the Canadian Lacrosse Association
The Canadian Lacrosse Association (CLA) is the governing body responsible for all aspects of lacrosse in Canada. The CLA mission is to honour the sport of lacrosse and its unique nation-building heritage, by engaging our members and leading our partners and providing opportunities for all Canadians to participate. We value health, excellence, accountability, respect and teamwork. For more details on the Canadian Lacrosse Association and the sport of lacrosse, visit www.lacrosse.ca