By Chris Clark
Arthur native Chad Culp has reached the pinnacle of Canadian lacrosse.
A skilled forward for the Peterborough Lakers, Culp helped defeat the Langley Thunder on Saturday, Sept. 15, for the right to hoist the Mann Cup as the senior A men’s amateur lacrosse champions of Canada.
The Mann Cup championship series is played between the Western Lacrosse Association and Major Series Lacrosse champions, and is one of the most valuable trophies in all of sports; made of solid gold and valued at $60,000. Culp was able to raise the goblet in victory in front of nearly 4,000 screaming fans at the Peterborough Memorial Centre.
“It’s probably one of the toughest championships in lacrosse to win,” Culp said of the long grind to win the national title. “A lot of the guys are the best of the best in lacrosse. It felt good to win.”
This year’s series between the Lakers and Thunder was an exciting one. The underdog Thunder won the first two games, a 13-12 squeaker and 15-14 overtime victory, but the Lakers got their act together and strung together four straight wins to claim their fifth Mann Cup in nine seasons.
A goaltending change was the spark Peterborough needed to get back into the series, resulting in a 14-10 win in game three and 9-8 in game four. In game five, the Thunder raced out to a 4-0 lead after 20 minutes, but were outscored 7-0 in the second period and fell 9-5. Game six saw Langley lead 5-3 after the opening period only to be done in by another disastrous second period, this time six unanswered goals by the Lakers en route to a 14-8 final.
Culp played in eight regular season games for Peterborough this past summer, snaring five goals and 10 assists, and landing just outside the top ten in team scoring. He amped up for the playoffs, packing the bulk of his scoring into his last five games, including eight points in his final two regular season contests.
Over ten postseason games, Culp earned four goals and nine assists, for 13 points. His Lakers then earned the right to be called the 2012 Major Series Lacrosse champions by dominating the Six Nations Chiefs four games to one in their league final.
The Lakers finished third in the regular season standings behind the second place Chiefs and first place Brooklin Redmen. Once they were in the postseason, they found their legs and rolled up an 11-1 record to win the MSL title.
“To win it at home and have everybody cheering, it was loud,” Culp said. “It definitely put goosebumps on you.”
Looking ahead, Chad expects to return to the Buffalo Bandits of the National Lacrosse League this fall. His team has picked up Jamie Rooney for this season, and Culp said he is looking forward to having a “fellow Arthurite” on the squad.