Mi’kmaw goalie, 15, had no lacrosse experience before making his NAIG debut

Mi’kmaw goalie, 15, had no lacrosse experience before making his NAIG debut

Lewis was an AP with the Jets last year.

At first, Ethan Lewis turned down the offer to play goalie for the U-16 Mi'kmaw Nova Scotia lacrosse team.

“I didn't know the game and I thought it would be too confusing to learn it by the time it started," said Lewis.

The 15 year-old from Eskasoni First Nation in Nova Scotia had never even picked up a lacrosse stick before he made his debut with the Mi’kmaw team, but he was a standout ice hockey goalie and his coaches kept after him and suggested he try lacrosse.

Lewis eventually agreed to play and has three games under his belt as a lacrosse goalie and now he's hooked on the sport.

“This was my first three games ever playing lacrosse and I love it," he said.

His head coach, Ayden Pierro, knows a thing or two about lacrosse. He was the goalie for the Mi’kmaw lacrosse team that competed in the 2014 and 2017 North American Indigenous games.

This is his first stint as a coach and he’s impressed with Lewis, who has been standing tall between the pipes and has brought his skills as a hockey goalie over to lacrosse.

“It is incredible not only his skill but his will to keep working," said Pierro. "During game 2 he almost passed out. He was that hot and he was that tired but he kept going."

Lewis knows it’s a rare opportunity to play one of the traditional Indigenous sports at NAIG and so now, he's making the most of his opportunity.

“I’m trying to get my brothers to play, so they don’t miss out on this experience," said Lewis. "Because these past few days, have been the best of my life.”

Lacrosse is more than just a game, the Iroquois who invented the sport call it “the medicine game” because they believe it heals their body and mind.

The coaching staff is trying to bring the Mi’kmaw language and culture into the game said Pierro.

They use Mi’kmaw words to call out for plays they’ve designed as a way to bring the language into the game.

“I’ll share two of them," said Pierro. "One is ‘Nist’ which translates to cool or good and the other is ‘Glooscap’ which is one of our mythical creatures.”

Lewis and his teammates battled hard on Thursday, but lost to Alberta in the quarterfinals. Despite that, their tournament isn't done yet, as they'll play in a consolation game on Friday at 1 p.m. to determine the fifth and sixth-place finishers.