Blogs | 5/21/2014 11:25:22 AM | John Gurtler

It is tough to say goodbye. That’s why I didn’t on Saturday after the Bandits marathon playoff night in Rochester where they played Game Two, Two B, and Not to Be.

Even though I won’t see most of the Bandits until next November when training camp opens, I am OK with this.

This is a good bunch of guys supported by a good coaching staff and organization. I look forward to seeing everybody back and meeting some new faces along the way.

Saturday night’s postseason encounter against the Knighthawks was reflective of the way the 18-game regular season went. There were some “finding” moments, displays of brilliance, a loss of focus on the game plan, a lack of discipline, errant passing, crushing defense, great goaltending and turnovers. Not to mention, a quirky way to end the season in overtime.

I must say the mini-game turned out to be very exciting, especially the countdown after the five-minute mark. The sudden-death overtime was just icing on the cake.

As my broadcast partner Randy Mearns told NLL Commissioner George Daniel, who joined us on the broadcast for the fourth quarter, mini-game and overtime: “There will be a lot of people telling their friends and family they saw a really exciting game.”

Maybe this new format will attract some new fans.

Let’s get back to the commissioner joining us on the broadcast. That was very cool of him to stay with us for that time. He was a natural third man in the booth. Randy and I appreciated his time.

It all ends so abruptly and leaves you with an empty feeling.

But I think the Bandits, as a team, showed their true colors by putting back-to-back playoff wins together after that awful eight-game losing streak.

They met adversity during the season with Shawn Williams’s son Tucker’s battle with cancer. They grew even closer and united with spirit and emotion.

After the first loss of the season to Philadelphia, the team received a cold slap of reality across their face. Every team in the NLL this year could have on any given night as the rosters were loaded with talent.

The Bandits realized that and their 8-2 run was reflective of “buying into the system” and good old fashioned hard work – plus they all enjoy playing the game.

But what went wrong for the eight games after that? It remains a mystery. I am glad the team was able to shake that and leave the season with a good effort, despite the loss.

This is a good nucleus of players and the Bandits will continue to improve. Director of Lacrosse Operations Scott Loffler and GM Steve Dietrich will continue to improve the Bandits as they did so aggressively this past off-season.

Many of the Bandits now move right into their summer indoor season schedule with their respective teams in across Canada. In addition, the 2014 World Lacrosse Championships are set for this July in Denver.

A total of 38 nations will play 142 outdoor games over 10 days beginning July 10. Randy Mearns will be the head coach of Team Canada, and he’s been in full-swing preparing for this event.

Most importantly, the support of you, the fans, has been nothing short than amazing. I hope the production team from AT&T in Los Angeles spends a segment or two on the loyal and passionate fans of Banditland. It’s a good reflection of how grateful we are.

And that is why I am not going to say goodbye.

VS.  Calgary Roughnecks
 January 09, 2016 - 07:30 PM 1 2 3 4 F
 Calgary Roughnecks 0 0 0 0 0
 Buffalo Bandits 0 0 0 0 0