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Amped Up and Ready to Go

04/27/2011, 10:35am CDT
By Jessica Baltes

Q&A with F Jamie Shewchuk

In 2007, F Jamie Shewchuk entered the league after being acquired by the Colorado Mammoth. He spent four seasons with Colorado prior to being traded to Minnesota this past February.

Shewchuk has made three appearances in the NLL playoffs and will make his fourth this Saturday when the Swarm takes on the Washington Stealth at 7:30 p.m. on Treasure Island Field at Xcel Energy Center.

Jessica Baltes from the Minnesota Swarm recently caught up with Jamie Shewchuk.

Baltes: How did you get into playing lacrosse?

Shewchuk: I started playing lacrosse when I was 13 and in eighth grade. I played baseball every summer before that and a really good friend of mine from school played lacrosse. I also played hockey. I was looking for something to do in the summer and my friend Dean said, “You should play lacrosse, you’re fast, you don’t like to lose.” He put a lacrosse stick in my hand, and we started playing on the school team. Then he got me involved with his box team and the rest is history. I fell in love with it right away.

Baltes: Back in Colorado, you taught lacrosse to students in P.E. as part of a “Sticks 4 Schools” program. Do you do any coaching or teaching here in Minnesota?

Shewchuk: Not in Minnesota. Not yet. I’m still living in Denver, and I coach an eighth grade team. I also help Matt Brown run an indoor league where we send teams up to Canada to play in box tournaments.

As far as Minnesota goes, I’m not there very much and I’m pretty new to the team. I just got traded in February. I haven’t really had an opportunity to pursue anything in Minnesota. It is always an option, and I’d like to reach out to the kids in the community.

Baltes: You had played your entire NLL career with the Mammoth up until you were traded to the Swarm earlier this season. How has the transition been for you?

Shewchuk: It has been great, really good actually. I was in a very comfortable situation here in Colorado. I relocated to Denver two years ago. I was very involved with the team as far as being in the community. I had some great times here, and I still have a lot of great friendships with the Mammoth guys and the management.

Right away when I came to Minnesota and talked to Marty O’Neill, my first thoughts were that I felt very comfortable with my situation. I think it’s taken me a few games to get really use to the offense and use to the guys, but overall I feel now that I fit in and we have a great group of guys and coaches who know their stuff.

I’m a big believer that it starts from the top and to have an owner like John Arlotta who is as passionate about this game as anyone playing, or anyone who has seen or played the game before, is definitely really nice to see too. The transition has been pretty good for me. I’m really excited going into the playoffs, especially now.

Baltes: How does the coaching style of the Minnesota Swarm compare to that of the Colorado Mammoth?

Shewchuk: Every team in the league, any sports team, if you move from one team to another has a different culture. That’s something that starts from the top. As far as team chemistry goes what the coaches do or the vets or the rookies or some of the young guys. But as far as coaching styles go, I think it’s really tough to kind of pinpoint any one thing. I left a team that started off 1-8. I feel comfortable playing here. I know the coaches have faith in me and have identified a role for me, which makes my job easier. I just have to go out and play. I definitely enjoy the coaches and the coaching style in Minnesota.

Baltes: Obviously, everyone has the ultimate goal of helping the team make it to the Champion’s Cup and winning. Are there goals that you set at a personal level for yourself? Like a certain number of points, goals, assists, etc. that you aim to achieve?

Shewchuk: As an offensive player, we all get caught up in the stats. When you’re not producing it kind of sucks. The way I look at it now, especially with the way the last couple of games have gone, I play on the side where Ryan Benesch is there and he’s having a career year. He has one of the best shooting percentages in the league. I am 100% fine just going and setting picks and creating some space for him. Those numbers don’t go on the board, but it’s helping out the team.

Statistically, I had a career low this year. It’s kind of disappointing, and I definitely wanted to contribute, but I look at where our team is going and in the direction we are going. We are coming into the playoffs on a high with a two-game winning streak here. I feel pretty comfortable.

My goal going into the playoffs is that I would definitely like to chip in with a few goals. Points are always great, but I could have eight points and we could lose the game and it’s not going to mean anything to me. It goes one way or another I think, and it’s just a matter of doing what the coaches ask. Like I said, offensive guys can’t get caught up in the stats, but we are all guilty of that.

Baltes: I read that you will be playing with the WLA’s Victoria Shamrocks this summer, as will Andrew Suitor. Will you be playing with any other Swarm players?

Shewchuk: Yeah, there are a few guys. Inch, Patterson, Talbot, Hass. I hope I didn’t leave anyone out. I don’t think I would have had that opportunity if I didn’t come to Minnesota. Maybe fate is just taking its course here.

Baltes: This Saturday, the Swarm will host a home playoff game for the second time in franchise history. How much does home turf advantage help when you make it to the playoffs?

Shewchuk: It’s huge. Everybody is comfortable playing in that building. The guys play eight games there, obviously more than any other. We have guys who live there, can sleep in their own beds. It’s always good to get a home game, especially for the fans. I think that the fans really deserve it. I think we have a lot to prove as far as our group goes as a team. We have a really solid veteran core and we have a lot of really good young guys who are stepping into their roles very well. As long as Patterson is on his game, which he has been the last few games. I think it’s great obviously for any club to get home playoffs. I think it’s really important for the fans. I hope we get a lot of fans out to come cheer us on and be loud, because that definitely helps and gets the adrenaline flowing.

Baltes: This is your fourth time going to the NLL playoffs. Do you feel a lot more pressure going into a playoff game versus a regular season game?

Shewchuk: I live for these kinds of moments. Pressure as far as our season could be over after this weekend possibly. That’s something that is obviously in the back of everyone’s minds. Right now I have a smile on my face just thinking about it. These are the moments that you play for and we’re trying to put on another three-game winning streak here and win the Champion’s Cup. I don’t think that I’m bothered by the pressure at all. I don’t feel anything like that. If anything, I get more fired up to play.

Baltes: You have been with the Swarm for 2 of the 3 games against Washington this season, both of which were close, overtime games. You also played Washington twice while you were with Colorado this season. Knowing this team well, does that help you prepare yourself more?

Shewchuk: I think obviously our team has had success against them. I think that we are very similar teams. We each have an offense that can score in bunches. Definitely we’re an explosive offense and so are they. They have some top guns that once they get going it’s tough to shut them down, but so do we. I think with this game goals are going to come and it’s going to be a defensive battle and whoever wins the defensive battle. I think goaltending is going to be important too. Like I said, goals are going to come and I think that it’s going to be a defensive battle. It will probably come down to some special teams too, as far as power plays and last minute offense. It’s going to be a battle. They are a very physical team and so are we. I think everyone amps it up a little extra going into the playoffs too.

Baltes: In the NLL, teams don’t tend to get a lot of practice time. What do you do to compensate for that? Do you watch a lot of video or what is it that you do?

Shewchuk: Me personally, I am a very visual learner. Somebody can tell me how to shoot the ball or how to set a pick or go here, but I need to see it to believe it. I do watch a lot of film by myself.

Obviously our offense is very important and seeing what different guys like to do. I definitely like to study my opponent a little bit, and I think I have pretty good experience against these Washington guys to know their d-guys’ tendencies and their goalie’s tendencies. I will be watching film this week and as far as staying in shape and stuff, I have my own workout routine here that I follow. I have my stick in my hand pretty much every day. I coach three times a week, and I do private lessons. My stick is always in my hands, especially at this time. Like I said, the season could be over this weekend. I know none of the guys want it to be, so I think that it is very important to be prepared physically in the gym and staying in shape. A lot of guys are banged up at this point and taking care of injuries and that is important. We just have to do our best to prepare for this weekend so that our season isn’t over.

Baltes: In your five seasons in the NLL, what has been the highlight for you?

Shewchuk: Since I haven’t been able to win a Champion’s Cup. I was fortunate that I started my career with Colorado. I’m going to have to say my first game in Colorado. We played the Rochester Knighthawks against John Grant, Jr. He’s a big name, one of my idols growing up and I got to play against him. I scored my first goal. It was at Pepsi Center and we had a sellout crowd of 18,000. I’ve never, ever experienced that in lacrosse before. It was pretty nerve wracking, but I’d have to say that. That year was really great for me. I was able to break into the league and get a power play spot and be able to play every game, which was something that I didn’t expect of myself. My coaches believed in me, and I had good leadership.

Hopefully in three weeks if you ask me that question, it will be something new. It will be me saying that I got to hoist the Cup with my Swarm teammates. That would be the ultimate goal for everybody.

Baltes: What do you like to do in your free time?

Shewchuk: Golf. I just finished a round of golf. Since I’ve been traded, I’m not really working much. I really like to golf. It’s something that I’ve picked up and is a new hobby of mine. I’d have to say golf for now.

Shewchuk's Favorites

Favorite Candy: Sour Patch Watermelon Slices
Favorite NLL City to Visit: Edmonton. That’s my hometown.
Favorite Professional Sports Team: Edmonton Oilers
Favorite Movie: Godfather Part II
Favorite Artist/Band: Tiesto
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Cold Stone Oreo Crème Filling
Favorite Season: Summer

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