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Hometown Hero

09/14/2010, 2:32pm CDT
By Alec Schimke

Swarm Writer Alec Schimke recently caught up with rookie forward and hometown hero Ryan Hurley (Eagan, Minn./Academy of Holy Angels H.S.) about his draft day experience and what he is looking forward to next season.

 Hurley by the Numbers at Cornell University

Final Four appearances

- Career game-winning goals

66.1 - Career shot on goal percentage

140 - Career goals

Schimke: Ryan, first of all congratulations on being selected by the Swarm. Let's first talk about your draft day experience. Where were you on draft day?

Hurley: I watched the draft online at home with my mom and my brother. It was exciting when they called my name. Swarm Co-Owner Andy Arlotta then gave me a call and congratulated me. I look forward to meeting the rest of the organization in the coming weeks.

Schimke: What kinds of emotions were running through your head when the Swarm selected you?

Hurley: Obviously being a hometown guy it’s a dream come true to play pro lacrosse in your own backyard, especially with the way the sport has grown here in Minnesota. You spend a lot of time in high school and in college playing and then when they finally call your name and your going to be a professional athlete…it’s pretty special. I gave my mom a big hug and it was an experience I’ll never forget.

Schimke: Let’s backtrack a bit, when did you first start playing lacrosse?

Hurley: I picked up lacrosse in the winter of 7th grade. I was a big hockey player growing up and I was playing all the time. It was the only sport I played too. One day my dad picked up a local sports hand out and said, "Pick one. You have to play another sport besides hockey." I knew a few buddies that played lacrosse so I decided to give it a shot. Luckily I picked lacrosse and I fell in love with it right away. I couldn’t put the stick down. By my freshman year in high school, I knew that I really wanted to play lacrosse instead of hockey in college. I’m glad it all worked out too.

Schimke: Did you grow up watching current Swarm defenseman and Apple Valley H.S. graduate Colin Achenbach?

Hurley: Yeah…Colin and I are great friends. Growing up he was the hometown hero and someone I looked up to a lot because he was a couple years older than me. You look at his career and everything he has done…he has made a name for himself in Minnesota. I’ve actually been working out with him and learning as much as I can for box. I’m really glad that I will be his teammate now.

Schimke: When did you first discover the Swarm growing up?

Hurley: I found out about the Swarm from being a fan of lacrosse. My dad actually had Wild season tickets, which at the time crossed over to the Swarm. I went to as many games as I could that first year. Although box is pretty different from field, to have the chance to watch professional lacrosse in state was really unbelievable. Like I said earlier, it’s a dream come true to play in front of the hometown crowd with a professional and competitive team.

Schimke: You had a lot of success at Cornell University and you are one of the few players from Minnesota that has excelled on the national level. Do you feel that you are in a sense a ‘pioneer’ of the sport back here in Minnesota?

Hurley: It’s a nice compliment when anybody says that to you, but there have been a number of good players that have gone Division I from Minnesota. I might be the first guy to get on the field and score some goals and kind of make a name for myself, so I guess in some regards you can say that. I’m coaching right now in the Twin Cities and all these kids have a chance to go do that too. It’s unbelievable. 

Schimke: How would you describe your past four seasons at Cornell?

Hurley: Some of the best times I’ve had were under Coach Tambroni at Cornell University. We were very fortunate to be a part of four great years there. One of the highlights was going to the Final Four for the first time in about 20 years during my freshman year. I wasn’t playing much that year, but just getting there was quite an accomplishment. My junior year we made it the Final Four again and that year was a lot more special because I was a starter on the team. We ended up going to the National Championship game, but unfortunately lost in overtime to Syracuse. Again this past year during my senior season, we made it to the Final Four. Three Final Four appearances in four years is something I feel fortunate to be a part of.

Schimke: Let’s talk about the indoor game. How familiar are you with it and how do you think the transition will go?

Hurley: I’m really excited about my chances to play and make an impact in the indoor game. Growing up playing hockey, you get used to the confines of playing a physical game in a smaller area. Even when I was playing outdoor lacrosse, my game was always inside, in the middle of the crease and in traffic. It’s hard to score goals when people are all over you. Being 6’3”, 205 pounds, I think I have the skill set to make an impact. I’m really excited to learn the game more and like I said from my background, I think that I have some potential to play well.

Schimke: What have you done with the lacrosse community in the Twin Cities in the past and what are you looking to do in the future?

Hurley: Last week I was helping out another Swarm player, Joe Cinosky, at his Gopher High School Lacrosse Camp at TCF Bank Stadium. I’ve been doing camps with Northstar Lacrosse out in Hopkins and I’ve joined Colin Achenbach a number of times with Homegrown lacrosse. I’ve also done some private lessons in the area. I’m trying to figure out my job situation so I can settle down. If it all works out, I’d like to stay in the area and help the game grow while I can. Hopefully I can inspire some kids and help them follow their dreams. I'm just trying to help out in any way that I can and show that it can be done.

Schimke: How are you preparing for training camp this fall?

Hurley: I’m training with Colin Achenbach and Sean Pollock right now. I’m following what they are doing as far as weight lifting and picking up as much box knowledge as I can. I look forward to shooting around with those guys and learning some inside tips. Also in my time coaching with Joe Cinosky, I'll try to pick up some tips from him and hopefully watch some film. I'm doing whatever I can to soak up as much information before camp starts.

Schimke: Finally, what message would you like to send to Swarm fans?

Hurley: I’m going to try my hardest to make the team. Hopefully we can go far in the playoffs and bring a championship to Minnesota. That would be a dream come true. Whether I'm contributing on the field my first year or as a practice player, I’m going to give it my full effort.

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