#9 Tyler Hass. Photo Credit: Alex Carroll
Selected by the Minnesota Swarm in the third round (30th) of the 2006 NLL Entry Draft, T Tyler Hass began his NLL career with the Swarm during the 2011 season. In his rookie season, the Victoria, British Columbia native led the league in shooting percentage (.615) after converting on 8 of 13 shots. He tallied 10 points (8g, 2a) and 44 loose balls in 14 games en route to being named to the NLL All-Rookie Team.
In his second season with the Swarm, the 6’6” transition player has tallied eight points (7g, 1a) and 34 loose balls in 8 games, having returned to the lineup on March 17 after suffering an injury in the season opener. On April 6, Hass recorded a career-high five points (4g, 1a) in Minnesota’s 13-9 road victory against Philadelphia for which he was recognized as the Transition Player of the Week.
Jessica Baltes from the Minnesota Swarm recently caught up with Hass.
Baltes: You were actually drafted back in 2006 by the Swarm, but didn’t start playing in the league until the 2011 season. What were you up to between being drafted and joining the Swarm?
Hass: I was at the University of Victoria on a basketball scholarship.
Baltes: Did you continue playing lacrosse during that time as well?
Hass: I only played it during my first year, which was my last year of junior lacrosse in Victoria. After that, I decided to just play one sport.
Baltes: Since you and Rich Morgan are both basketball guys, have you ever had the opportunity to shoot around together?
Hass: Last year, we actually played each other. It was a little two-on-two game, but he got the best of me.
Baltes: He’s a pretty big guy to go up against, but you’re pretty tall yourself.
Hass: Yeah, we’re similar in height, but he has 40 pounds on me. He has a lot more weight to throw around.
Baltes: Coming into this season with such a young group of guys, some of the expectations for this team weren’t very favorable from media members. With only one regular season game remaining, what is your assessment of how this team has done?
Hass: I think that any time that you're in the NLL and you go a couple of games over .500 it’s good regardless, because it is so competitive. I guess most people probably think that we are overachieving, but I don’t really think so. I think that we are just getting better every game. We have a lot of guys who do certain things well and they are doing those things really well this season. They are getting better. We’re young. That’s the good thing about a young team. By the end of the year, you’re going to be a lot better than in the beginning.
Baltes: During your first season in the NLL you were named to the All-Rookie team after you notched 10 points (8g, 2a) and collected 44 loose balls in 14 games. Did your rookie season meet your expectations?
Hass: Yeah, I think so. I was hoping to have a year like that. I had a real good summer, so I knew that I was capable of it. I was playing with some guys who play in that league and do really well. I expected myself to do that good and this year I expected myself to do a little better that I am right now, but being hurt didn’t help that.
Baltes: In the first game of the 2012 season, you ended up sustaining an injury. What happened and how did you get yourself ready for the remainder of the season?
Hass: I wish I could tell you what happened. It was a hit I’ll do 40 times a game, and I guess I just wasn’t warmed up properly because it was the first hit of the game. My wrist didn’t handle it very good. I spent eight weeks with a wrist injury where I couldn’t play. Honestly, after about six weeks I didn’t know if I would be able to play at all this year. I’m just happy to be back. Every week, I just kept training at home like I was going to play next week. You just never know when you are going to be ready to go. You just have to keep the mind set and keep going with it.
Baltes: You received your first player of the week award this season, when you were named Transition Player of the Week in Week #14 after scoring a career-high four goals on four shots in the 13-9 road victory in Philadelphia. What were your thoughts on winning that?
Hass: I was very happy to win that award. I don’t know if I expected to do it in my second year. I was hoping that eventually that I would be there where I could contend to win that award one or two weeks in the year. I was very pleased with myself. It was a career highlight for me right now.
Baltes: You have a very high shooting percentage, with a lot of the shots you take finding the back of the net. How did you manage to get so accurate with your shots?
Hass: My first year here, I hadn’t played in a while. So, when I was training for lacrosse again, I kept it really simple and just learned a couple of things. I wasn’t trying to do too many things at once. I learned a couple of moves that seem to work, and I really just worked on those moves. I made the game easier on myself, and I think that really worked out for me in my first couple of years. Now in my second and third year I am going to have to learn more things, because people watch tape and they pick up on tendencies you have. It will get harder for me now.
Baltes: Being a basketball guy, there are some similarities to lacrosse. Would you say that your basketball skills transfer and help improve your lacrosse game?
Hass: Definitely. They are probably more similar than most people think, defensively and offensively really. It’s just more physical. That was the biggest change, getting use to the hits and hitting harder. Everything else transferred over real good. I was fortunate that way.
Baltes: You have played for the Victoria Shamrocks for the past couple of summers. Will you be returning again this summer?
Hass: I’m going to take a little bit of time off. I’m getting married in August. I’m hoping that I will be joining them, but I’m not sure when or how long into the season. I’m just going to finish the season with the Swarm and see how I feel and where I’m at. Then I’ll make my decision after that.
Baltes: With your wedding coming up in August, do you and your fiancé have most of the plans complete?
Hass: We have all of the main stuff ready to go. My fiancé was in law school and she just finished, so she’s going to be all over that now until the wedding.
Baltes: This Saturday, you guys will be taking on the Colorado Mammoth and you will also be playing Colorado during the first round of the playoffs. Colorado is a team that you guys have played tough so far this season, with the game coming down to the fourth quarter. What are your thoughts going into these two games and do you see playing them twice in a row as an advantage of sorts?
Hass: I don’t think that it’s an advantage for anybody. It’s hard to beat any team in the NLL twice in a row. We just have to keep doing what we’re doing. It’s working and we can’t change what we are doing because of a different team. I think that we are giving teams trouble by the way that we are playing. I think more than anything that we are just going to do what we do best. In the first game, we will see how it goes. If it’s not working, we’ll look at tape and probably make some changes next time. I don’t think that there is an advantage to playing a team twice in a row for anybody.
Baltes: The game has been moved to 6:30 p.m. to accommodate a national broadcast on CBS Sports Network. The team also had one game broadcast nationally last season. Does it make it more exciting knowing that a larger audience that is exposed to the game?
Hass: Sure, of course. It’s great for the sport that this is happening. Hopefully it’s a really good game for that. We’re all playing the sport hoping that 5-10 years from now it’s going to get more popular. I hope that we really put on a good show for everybody. I think that the excitement level will definitely be up and guys will be ready to go just because of that too.