Jordan MacIntosh (left) and Andrew Suitor (right) helped coach a local box team in Eagan on Tuesday evening.
Andrew Suitor chats with a few of the Rattlers on the bench.
EAGAN, Minn. - A few hours after receiving the news that he had won Transition Player of the Year, Andrew Suitor found himself right back on the floor Tuesday evening.
This time though, Suitor was called upon for his lacrosse expertise rather than to collect loose balls, score goals and win faceoffs.
After being informed that a local box team was shorthanded for the night, Suitor and teammate Jordan MacIntosh grabbed their lacrosse sticks and made a trip to the Eagan Civic Arena to provide a helping hand.
With two of its coaches tied up due to other commitments, the Rattlers of the Dakota County Lacrosse League – a boys team comprised of 2nd/3rd/4th graders – reached out to the Swarm for some assistance to help run their practice.
“We needed help, we reached out, and they helped out,” Rattlers coach Mike Murphy said.
With Suits and Mac on the floor, the Rattlers received a few lessons from the Swarm’s playbook on passing, loose balls, catching and shooting. The kids even had a little fun taking part in a shootout with their guest coaches in net. (After seeing the kids sneak a few past Suitor and MacIntosh, it’s safe to say Evan Kirk and Tyler Carlson’s jobs are safe next season.)
“They’ve never been this vocal,” fellow coach Pat Sjoberg said as his team erupted in cheers after the shootout.
With the 2012 Swarm season all wrapped up, Suitor and MacIntosh are among a handful of players that are still in town this week spending their final days in ‘Neverland.’ The two will begin their summer lacrosse adventures next week.
Ironically for MacIntosh, who will be joining the Rochester Rattlers of the MLL, he first paid a visit to a more local Rattlers squad from Eagan to start the offseason.
“They listened and seemed excited to have Andrew and myself out. It was a lot of fun and a good experience,” MacIntosh said.
For MacIntosh and the rest of the rookies in town, this week serves as a reflection period for a talented group that accomplished a lot in Year 1. As one of 12 rookies that saw floor time in 2012, MacIntosh and the rest of the Young Guns will now enter the 2013 season with a full year of experience under their belts.
“It was a good year for us as a rookie class to get to know the league and our team, and ride the waves of being in the NLL,” MacIntosh said. “Next year with a little more experience, I think that this team is going to be a team to be reckoned with in the future.”
Suitor will also be heading out East, but will settle down in Ontario with the MSL’s Peterborough Lakers. Suitor will join two of his Swarm coaches in the process - head coach Joe Sullivan and assistant coach Bobby Keast.
After completing his second season in the league – and his best one yet – Suitor was modest when asked how this year’s team fared on the floor.
“The season was OK,” Suitor said. “I think that’s the best way you can put it. I don’t think anyone should be happy with it and you should always strive to be champions in whatever you do.”
Before leaving Eagan, Suitor had one more task for the group of youngsters.
“Whoever can tell me Jordan’s number, gets the head on my stick,” Suitor said.
All 16 hands instantly rose in the air. In the end, one lucky player received a new head courtesy of the Swarm’s captain and let out an emphatic, “Yes!” when he received it.
For a group of 2nd/3rd/4th graders, these kids knew their Swarm stuff, likewise did their parents who shared stories of games they had been to this past season to Suitor and MacIntosh. Monday’s visit was another indication that box lacrosse continues to gain steam across the metro, in particular among kids just starting out at the elementary level. And as the Rattlers piled out after another successful practice, another couple dozen kids entered the facility ready to play.
As the future continues to look brighter and brighter for Minnesota box lacrosse each passing year, likewise does the Swarm’s.
Minnesota holds four first round picks in this year’s draft, which gives the team the opportunity to retool its roster once again with some of the games top up and coming players.
“We’re hopefully going to take that next jump out of the Western Division and into the Champion’s Cup,” Suitor said in regards to next season.