Justin Ivey, Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©
The surface question on everyone’s mind at the Connecticut Hammerheads first press conference was fortunately blatantly asked. Why a hammerhead shark? Team President Ian Frenette responded, “We like the type-a, alpha nature of the shark and its aggressiveness.” The actual shark isn’t a common site in Long Island Sound, and it is tough to find if there has been any sighting off the shore in Fairfield, but the population is going to get used to seeing the Connecticut Hammerheads lacrosse program around. Quite possibly the best aspect of Major League Lacrosse (MLL) is their outreach to communities that host their teams. Upon the folding of the Dallas Rattlers and Atlanta Blaze, both social media accounts were sure to thank the local communities and youth lacrosse programs in farewell posts. The Boston Cannons spent good money renovating their playing field before the start of last season that is shared by local lacrosse programs. The Connecticut Hammerheads partnership with Fairfield University opens the door to outreach programs. “We are committed to being a fully embedded community institution so the excitement we have here, these young players here…the need to attract enterprise to Connecticut…its not a small win. It embodies the promise of what Fairfield and what all of us here in this State are looking forward to and that is a community bodied institution that represents the best of who we can be and all that we see in terms of excellence,” said Dr. Nemec, President of Fairfield University. The young players he mentioned were about a dozen local youth lacrosse players that attended the conference in full gear. Excitement filled the room, led by the young players ogling the displayed helmets, crisp backdrop and the board unveiling the team uniforms. It spread to the other speakers as well including Fairfield’s First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchik, MLL Commissioner Alexander Brown and Fairfield Athletic Director Paul Schlickman.
Connecticut field lacrosse fans have been waiting since the Bridgeport Barrage left for Philadelphia in 2003 for professional outdoor lacrosse to return. The continued success of the National Lacrosse League New England Black Wolves, who play indoor at Mohegan Sun, further proved that Connecticut was ready to support professional lacrosse. They should not be disappointed with the team that will take the field this year. The team presented to Connecticut played last year as the Dallas Rattlers, but there has already been a trade to shake things up. Attackman Will Sands was acquired from the Boston Cannons for attackman Bryce Wasserman. Sands led the Cannons last year with 32 assists and was second on the team for points. He will be feeding standout attackman Jack Curran and the two should provide plenty of splash. Dallas finished in fifth out of six teams last year, just outside of the playoff which includes the top four teams, but they had a strong second half. Head Coach Bill Warder said, “We have a really competitive team. A group of guys that won seven of their last eight games. Our goal is to keep it simple and host that championship trophy at the end of the season. This group of players believes they can do that.” Led by veterans such as Shawn Evans and Kyle Buchanan, who have both played for the New England Black Wolves in Connecticut, it is not a far shot for this team to make a championship run.
For those of us who have waited 17 years for the return of professional field lacrosse, the opening game cannot come soon enough. Be sure to grab your tickets and fill the seats for the home opener on Saturday May 30 when the Connecticut Hammerheads host the Philadelphia Barrage.