Features | 3/15/2013 2:18:24 PM | Alex Beilman
| Luke Wiles (Photo: Bill Wippert)|
Buffalo Bandits forward Luke Wiles took a fairly typical path to professional lacrosse. The 30-year-old began playing at an early age in his hometown of Orilla, Ontario.
Growing up in a big sports family—his four siblings all played sports as well—Wiles had to choose between ice hockey and lacrosse. He admits he chose lacrosse because it gave him a better opportunity to make a living and get a good education.
He played four years of junior A lacorsse in Orillia and played one year with St. Catherine’s, where he won a Minto Cup. He is still the career points leader for the Orillia Rama Kings.
After his junior career, he went on to play for the University of Delaware on a full scholarship. Following his career at Delaware, Wiles was drafted fourth overall by the Philadelphia Wings in 2005. He was traded to San Jose where he played for three seasons, setting a career high in points with 82 in the 2007 season.
Following his time in San Jose, he spent one year in Toronto and then two years in Washington before being traded to Buffalo in the summer of 2011.
Wiles’ first season in Buffalo was wildly successful from a personal standpoint. Although the team struggled and was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, Wiles posted a career-best 39 goals and 71 loose balls.
He has also garnered a reputation as a bit of a comedian among teammates and local media. He says it is not because he tries to be funny, but because he wants to bring a light mood to the locker room whenever he’s around.
“It’s more just character. Early in my career, I learned character was a great trait and is only brought out by outgoing guys,” Wiles said. “The lighter the dressing room is, the less stressful a situation can become. I try to have as much fun as I can because I like to put smiles on people’s faces.”
With the team in the midst of a two-game losing streak, Wiles believes that trying to make things lighter in the dressing room can help, in part, turn the team around and get back in the win column.
“We have a lot of character in our dressing room. It’s a lot better to be light on your feet and happy rather than being grumpy and stressed and worried about what might possibly happen,” Wiles said.
Wiles perpetual positive attitude actually comes from a history of personal loss (“I’ve lost a lot of people in my life,” he said). Perhaps the biggest loss for him was when his father passed away.
“I lost my dad when I was 20-years old. He was my best friend,” Wiles recalled. “He was the man who I went to for all my problems and he seemed to always have the right answer when I couldn’t formulate the proper answer for myself.”
Rather than look at his father’s loss as a dark time in his life, Wiles prefers to try to live as his dad did, and says he played a big role in who he is today.
“My dad is why I am who I am today. People really respected him. He had a great outlook on life and he always gave people the time of day. He never thought he was more important than anyone else. My dad is the perfect person to emulate,” Wiles said.
Wiles uses the influence from his father to constantly push forward and get through tough times with a smile, instead of focusing on the negative events.
“Everybody has crutches in life that can hold them back,” Wiles said. “I use those crutches as driving forces to try to be great. I try to make my father happy everyday.”