CULP ADDS TO OFFENSEFeatures | 2/17/2011 10:23:25 AM | Michael Jafari
Buffalo Bandits forward Chad Culp has had an electrifying start in his first season with the team, and it’s not just because he’s an accredited electrician.
The Bandits’ offense looks like it is coming together as the Black and Orange have scored 31 goals in the last two games after totaling just 38 goals in the previous four games combined.
One of the key contributors in the offensive outburst is Culp, who has seven goals and five assists in the last two games.
“We had lots of stretches early in the season where we weren’t picking the corners or clearing well, but it wasn’t a lack of opportunity,” said Culp. “Now we’re starting to gel with the offense and getting to know everyone on the team, which has resulted in us finally finishing. Hopefully we can keep it up.”
Culp has always had a nose for the net, which started when he was a boy growing up in Fergus, Ontario. When he was nine years old, he played the sport of lacrosse for the first time and instantly fell in love with the game. From there, Culp moved on to play minor lacrosse in Arthur, Ontario, which was just the beginning in his young career.
“My cousins were involved with lacrosse and kind of got me into it. I played through the minor system in Arthur and eventually got drafted and played in Junior-A at Orangeville for five years. From there, I got drafted to the NLL,” recalled Culp.
In 2002, Culp was selected ninth overall by the New York Saints in the NLL Entry Draft. It was a surreal experience for Culp when he took his first step onto the NLL turf in Manhattan.
“It was exciting,” Culp reminisced. “I actually moved down to Long Island, and coming from a small town, it was quite the experience. I stepped onto the floor, and it was exciting to be drafted in the NLL because that was one of my goals.”
After scoring 26 points in 13 games as a rookie with New York, Culp moved out west to play for the Arizona Sting. After one season in the desert, he was traded to the Minnesota Swarm, where he would collect 223 points (86-137-223) and 361 loose balls in 71 games over five seasons with the club.
“Minnesota treated me really well,” recalled Culp. “They made a trade for Ryan Cousins and me, and I spent five years there. We had some tough times at the start, but we made the playoffs a couple years after that, although we couldn’t get past Buffalo. I had a lot of fun and played with a bunch of good guys, but it was time to move on.”
Culp’s tenure with Minnesota came to an end in 2010 when he left the team to play with the Colorado Mammoth for one season. On Nov. 22, 2010, Buffalo signed Culp as a free agent in an effort to bolster the team’s forward depth.
“I was excited,” Culp said about joining the Bandits. “I am closer to home and now my family and friends can come down and watch me play. There is less traveling and less flying, which is nice. I am excited to be with the Bandits because of their history and all the championships they’ve won. Plus Darris Kilgour is a Hall of Famer himself and a great coach to learn from.”
Culps’ season got a little sweeter in last week’s 16-7 win over the Philadelphia Wings. In addition to scoring four goals and adding three assists in the victory, Culp achieved a career milestone when he recorded his 300th career point. Despite the accomplishment, Culp is focused on helping the Bandits win this season.
“I don’t really look at the points because it’s all about wins,” said Culp. “I’m sure after my career is done, I’ll sit back and say it was cool to have done that, but as far as playing right now, you just go out and try to win championships, which is what my focus is on right now.”