RALEIGH, NC – Womble Bond Dickinson attorneys Alex Buckley and Ripley Rand recently helped the Iroquois Nationals men’s lacrosse team secure a position as one of eight national teams to compete in the 2022 International World Games.
The Iroquois Nationals represent the sovereign Haudenosaunee nation, part of the Six Nations Confederacy (the territory of which is located generally within upper New York state and southeastern Canada), in lacrosse on the international stage. The Haudenosaunee and other indigenous people refer to lacrosse as the “Creator’s game” and are credited with having invented the sport nearly 1000 years ago. The Iroquois Nationals were first recognized as a full member nation by World Lacrosse in 1987 and have participated in international lacrosse competition since 1990. The Iroquois Nationals’ men’s team is currently the third-ranked national team in the world, and won the World Lacrosse bronze medal in international competitions both in 2014 and in 2018.
The International World Games are an international sports competition similar to the Olympic games, with nations competing at various sports every four years but for sports that have not yet qualified for inclusion at the Olympics. Although lacrosse has been granted provisional status by the International Olympic Committee, it is not yet a full Olympic sport. In July 2020, the decision excluding the Iroquois Nationals from the 2022 International World Games ignited a firestorm of opposition within the international lacrosse community. Over 50,000 people signed a change.org petition protesting that decision and seeking the inclusion of the Iroquois Nationals at the 2022 International World Games. Buckley (a former All-American and professional lacrosse player and current youth lacrosse coach) and Rand represented the Iroquois Nationals in the dispute; along with Howard Stupp, a former IOC legal adviser, they challenged the decision to exclude the Iroquois Nationals from the 2022 International World Games and sought to enforce the rights of the Iroquois Nationals to compete based on their world ranking and rights as a member nation of World Lacrosse. On September 7, 2020, World Lacrosse reversed its earlier decision to exclude the Iroquois Nationals and certified the Iroquois Nationals as one of the eight teams that will participate in the 2022 International World Games.
Buckley said, “As a lifelong lacrosse player and now coach, it has been a great honor to represent the Haudenosaunee, the inventors of the Creator’s game, and to help them take their rightful place in the 2022 International World Games as one of the top lacrosse teams in the world. This was the only just result and is hopefully a big step forward on the path to their continued international success and to the Iroquois Nationals flying the Haudenosaunee flag at the Olympic Games.”