OH, THE PLACES YOU'LL GOFeatures | 1/20/2014 3:07:15 PM | Alex Pagliano
At the age of 3, Joe Resetarits found himself among thousands of fans cheering on the Buffalo Bandits at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. His father, Frank Sr., purchased season tickets in 1992 and it proved to be a decision that that motivated Resetarits to think about playing lacrosse at an early age.
“Going to those games [got me into the game], I guess,” Resetarits said with a shrug. “I decided to give lacrosse a shot and it turned out pretty well for me.”
The journey of Joe Resetarits started local – in Hamburg, N.Y. to be exact.
Born in Hamburg, Resetarits went to Hamburg Central High School. After an impressive high school lacrosse career, Resetarits moved 294 miles east and enrolled at the University of Albany as a journalism major.
Resetarits continued to excel on the field at Albany. Over the course of his senior season, Resetarits racked up 66 points (47+19) over 16 games.
The accolades mounted for Resetarits, as he was named an All-American and America East Player of the Year in 2012.
He entered the 2012 NLL Draft as a coveted prospect and with the fifth overall pick, the Bandits had a tough decision to make.
“We kept flip-flopping back and forth between Joe and Dhane [Smith],” Bandits general manager Steve Dietrich said.
The Bandits took Smith and moments later, the Calgary Roughnecks selected Resetarits with the next pick.
So Resetarits began his NLL career 2,133 miles away from home. The forward recorded 24 points (8+16), but also absorbed knowledge from veteran teammates.
“I had a good experience in Calgary,” he said. “Being my rookie year, I learned a ton. Calgary has a great group of guys and I had a tremendous learning experience.”
The Roughnecks led the NLL with 222 goals. The team also had at least seven players who recorded at least 25 points. With an abundance of veteran talent, Calgary put Resetarits on the trade block at the 2013 NLL Draft.
“We could not believe that Calgary was going to make him available,” Dietrich said.
So, when Calgary presented an offer to Dietrich, the second-year general manager jumped at the chance.
“Joe fit the mold that we were looking for: younger guys that can contribute for us offensively,” he said. “We’re real excited about him coming here.”
Resetarits shared a comparable level of excitement.
“I was thrilled to come back here,” Resetarits said. “I always wanted to play here. I could not be more thrilled to be here now with a great group of teammates, management and coaching staff.”
Twenty-one years after his first experience at the Aud, Resetarits found himself donning a Bandits jersey when the team opened up the 2014 season against the Philadelphia Wings on Dec. 28.
However, that night did not mark the first time that the name “Resetarits” had been stitched to the back of a Bandits jersey. Joe’s older brother, Frank Jr., spent three seasons in Buffalo from 2010-2012.
“Yeah, [Frank] said it’s the best place to play in the league,” Resetarits said. “[Frank] told me that everyone knows you’re a good player. You just have to go out there and prove it.”
A disjointed offensive effort kept Resetarits off of the score sheet in that first game for just the fourth time in his two-year career.
As things went awry, Bandits head coach Troy Cordingley opted to make changes. Cordingley inserted Chad Culp and Aaron Wilson into the game against Toronto, scratching Resetarits and David Brock from action. Resetarits acknowledged his struggle, but vowed to compete.
“I got into a bit of a slump there,” he said. “Shots just were not falling, but being in this league, if you have a couple of rough games in a row, you have to fight through it.”
The next day, Resetarits found himself back on the floor as the team traveled to Philadelphia for the third game of the season. The forward recorded two assists on the afternoon, including the primary assist on the game-winning goal, scored by captain John Tavares in overtime.
For Resetarits, who grew up watching Tavares play at the Aud, the moment was surreal.
“Yeah, playing with the best player ever [was something that I was looking forward to],” he said. “I grew up watching him play and knowing he’s on our left side [along with teammates Shawn Williams and Ryan Benesch], we can be pretty dangerous.”
After two weekend wins, Resetarits and the remainder of the team headed 1,525 miles west to square off with the Colorado Mammoth. At Colorado, Resetarits tied a career-high with two goals.
The goals, according to Resetarits, helped bolster his confidence.
“It felt good to have a pretty solid game on Saturday,” he said. “It certainly helped my confidence a lot.”
Looking ahead to the remainder of the season, the journey of Joe Resetarits has no finite end in Buffalo. At 24, the Hamburg product will be counted on for seasons to come for the team that he dreamt of playing for growing up.
The Bandits are next in action on Jan. 25 as they host the Rochester Knighthawks at First Niagara Center at 7:30 p.m.