Features | 3/18/2014 10:32:45 AM | Alex Pagliano
| Jamie Rooney|
Since entering the league in 2008, Jamie Rooney has worked hard to sell himself to a single NLL team. Having played on nine teams over the past six years, Rooney hopes to have found a home here in Buffalo.
“Yeah, the trade deadline’s still a nervous time for me,” the 29-year-old forward said. “I hope I have earned my spot here. It’s a day-to-day thing. There are a lot of players around the league who could come take my job if I ease up.”
The ability to sell his talents has served him well in his profession away from the lacrosse floor as well. The Arthur, Ont. native works at his father’s car dealership back home.
“I get to interact with people all of the time,” he said. “I’m a people person, so I enjoy that.”
Rooney scored a career-high 43 points (20+23) in his rookie season with Philadelphia in 2008. Since then, he’s evolved into a player who creates opportunities for teammates away from the ball.
“I had to adapt my role coming into the league,” he said. “Guys understand my role, and they appreciate what I do. I just go out and set picks and hit bodies. As long as we win, it doesn’t matter.”
Rooney has recorded 14 points (4+10) in eight games this season, but it’s the work he does to create offensive space and openings that has left a big impression. Bandits head coach Troy Cordingley credited Rooney for his work away from the ball after reviewing game film early in the season.
“No one ever talks about Jamie Rooney,” Cordingley said. “You see how hard he works. He’s 170 pounds and throws his weight around.”
Picks create open lanes for teammates, who have benefitted from the 5-foot-10, 170-pound transition player’s game this season. At the expense of his own individual statistics, Rooney’s more than content with that notion as long as the team keeps on winning.
“Shots will fall eventually for me,” he said. “But we have John Tavares, Shawn Williams, Ryan Benesch and Mark Steenhuis and on and on. There isn’t a weak spot that I can find. We’re very versatile and just go out, bang and come away with wins.”
The Bandits have scored at least 10 goals in nine of 10 games this season. The offensive output has led the Bandits to their strong start, something that has not surprised Rooney or anyone else within the confines of the locker room.
“We had a good team last year, but it didn’t happen for us,” he said. “Once you get in a hole, it gets hard to get out of that. I always thought we had a good team. As long as our offense keeps going and our defense keeps chipping away at people, I think we’ll be fine.”