For ILS, lacrosse legend Lyons to share story of Creator’s Game


While Scott Simon takes the Amphitheater stage this morning to talk about touchstone moments in American sports history, this afternoon, Rex Lyons will examine the same — but through a lens accounting for the original American sports and athletes. 

At 2 p.m. today in the Hall of Philosophy, Lyons will continue the Interfaith Lecture Series Week Two theme of “A Spirit of Play” with a discussion of the Creator’s Game: Lacrosse.

Lyons is a former coach and world class lacrosse player who played on the original Iroquois Nationals (now the Haudenosaunee Nationals) team formed in 1983. He’s played professional lacrosse in the MILL with the Rochester Knighthawks and the Onondaga Athletic Club Senior B team for 19 seasons. He’s a lifelong advocate of growing the game throughout the world.

In an interview with Pete Gallivan of Buffalo’s WGRZ last week in advance of the The Haudenosaunee Nationals’ semifinal game in the World Lacrosse Championship, Lyons shared his bigger hopes for the team: that 2028 sees the return of lacrosse to the Olympics in 2028, and for the Haudenosaunee to be there.

“It’s been a culmination of 40 years that we’ve been working on it, and we’re getting stronger,” he said. “The program is getting stronger. The athletes are getting stronger. It’s just getting better as we’re moving in the right direction.”

As the Creator’s Game, lacrosse is considered a gift to the Haudenosaunee; this is best reflected in the lacrosse stick itself. 

Hickory wood is the gift of the land; the leather is from the animal world. The weave represents family, while the ball represents medicine.

“When you’re dealing with Indigenous nations, everything is tethered to the natural world in some way, shape or form,” Lyons told Gallivan.

Lyons,  born and raised on the Onondaga Nation, capital of Six Nations Haudenosaunee Confederacy, is a  member of the Eel Clan. He currently sits on the Haudenosaunee Nationals Board of Directors and served as key spokesperson and representative for the World Indoor Lacrosse Championships, hosted by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy on the Onondaga Nation in 2015.

A business consultant and retired Tradesmen of 30 years with Local #677, Lyons is also an accomplished musician, vocalist, and guitarist who founded the award-winning Fabulous Ripcords out of Syracuse, New York, and is president of the New York State Blues Festival, one of the last free existing music festivals in the country. 

Most recently, Lyons co-created a 501(c)(3) for the Haudenosaunee Nationals Lacrosse Organization as president of the Haudenosaunee Nationals Development Group — the nonprofit was created as the fiscal operating arm of the Haudenosaunee Nationals Lacrosse Board of Directors.


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