There's no question that Swarm forward Ryan Benesch has enjoyed a hot start to the 2011 season. The five-year pro has posted a team-high 52 points (27g, 25a) through nine games and his deadly shooting ability has caught the attention of everyone across the NLL.
So how did Benesch get to where he is now? Joe Sibley of MNSwarm.com recently caught up with Benesch to find out a bit more about Minnesota's leading scorer.
Sibley: Where did you grow up? What is your hometown like?
Benesch: I grew up in Kitchener, Ontario and I still live there now. Kitchener is a small town, but I like to think of it as a hot bed for lacrosse players. We've had some pretty good players come out of Kitchener including Aaron Wilson, Andrew Watt, and Colin Doyle of the Toronto Rock.
Benesch: My dad introduced me to the sport because he wanted to find something for me to play during the summer. I started playing when I was about four or five and ended up loving it right from the start. It was an easy transition for me from playing hockey in the winter.
Benesch: I played for Kitchener all the way through high school. I can’t even begin to describe all the good times I had with my teammates growing up. Lacrosse has allowed me to meet so many people and make some really close friends. One of the best things we did growing up was go camping as a team. It was a lot of fun hanging outdoors with the guys and it was a great bonding experience.
Benesch: I played a lot of sports growing up, including hockey and squash. I chose to pursue lacrosse because I felt I had a better shot to make it pro. I received offers from a few colleges in the states, including Princeton, but decided to go pro instead.
Benesch: I work as a finishing carpenter in Kitchener. One thing I do is put on all the trim for windows, doors, baseboards, and any crown molding in new houses. Basically anything you want to look nice in your house is what I work on.
Benesch: I got started through a friend of mine in high school. He bumped into me while I was handing out flyers for a hockey school that I worked for at the time. I have been working as a finishing carpenter for five years now, and have learned a lot about construction over that time.
Benesch: On a typical week, I’ll go to work at 7 a.m. and get done at 5 p.m. I’ll go straight from work to the gym for about two hours. After that I’ll go home and eat and watch a little bit of hockey and then go to bed. I’ll have that routine on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and sometimes Thursday depending on what day I travel to the game.
On travel days I’ll have to wake up pretty early to get to the airport. I try to make sure I get a good breakfast on travel days, and then it’s time to get ready for the game. After the game we will go out with the team. The next day I’ll fly home and try to get a good night’s sleep and recharge the batteries, because it starts all over again on Monday.
It is really important that you are staying in shape and taking care of your body. Teams don’t get a chance to practice together as much in this league, so you have to make sure you are working out on your own so you aren’t letting your teammates down.
Benesch: I coach with Andrew Watt in the summer. Our team is composed of 14 and 15 year-olds and we have been doing that for about three years now.
Benesch: I’d like to say I’m a playmaker and a goal scorer. I like to have the ball because I like to control the offense, but I can be an off ball guy as well. A lot of times when I score I’ll get open by cuts up the middle, but I always know that it’s my teammates that allow me to score those goals, and I feel they deserve all the credit because they are the reason that I am able to have any success.
Benesch: My main goal is to just keep playing as long as I can, but I’d also like to score 50 goals in a season. Not many have done that in this league, so it would be something pretty special.
Benesch: We want to make the playoffs and have home field advantage. We are in pretty good position, but Calgary is ahead of us right now so we have to stay focused on every game.
Benesch: I don’t think it will change the way we approach the game, but we are really excited to play knowing that so many people will be able to watch the game. This game is especially important for me because a lot of people back home will be able to watch it as well. It will also allow people who don’t understand the game of lacrosse to be exposed to it. It should be really exciting and I’m really looking forward to it.