News | 11/30/2010 2:00:42 PM | Bandits.com
The Buffalo Bandits held their second day of training camp on Saturday afternoon with a double practice session at HSBC Arena as the team continues its preparation for the upcoming 2011 season.
The team is committed to improve from its previous season, which ended with a first round loss to the Toronto Rock in the NLL playoffs. One way the team plans to improve from last season is to switch up the game plan, which is something that has forward Mark Steenhuis excited.
“I think the changes with personnel will change the style of our game that we have been playing for the past couple years,” said Steenhuis. “We’re going to be playing more of an up-and-down, exciting game that we hope the fans will enjoy. We want to get used to filling the net a little more and creating more scoring chances.”
One of the personnel changes Steenhuis is referring to is the addition of former team captain Richie Kilgour to the coaching staff. Kilgour hung up his lacrosse stick after the 2009 season, but his passion for the game never left. His brother, Bandits Head Coach Darris Kilgour, certainly noticed.
“It was the first time I was away from the team in 18 years, and I couldn’t stay away anymore. I coached some of these guys over the summer, so Darris offered me a job and I jumped at the chance. I couldn’t wait,” said Richie.
Richie’s time off from lacrosse may have been for the better, as he had time to reflect and let his playing wounds heal. In that same year, Richie and Darris were bothinducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame. “It was tough to retire but I was 41 and played 18 years so I got a lot out of it,” said Richie. “It’s always tough to give up something you love, but coaching is the next best thing to playing because you’re part of the team and helping the guys try to win a championship, which is what the Bandits are all about.”
Rich was the captain for the Bandits when they won the NLL Championship in 2008. Steenhuis was also a member of the team during that run and believes that the same leadership Richie brought to the team will carry over to his coaching career.
“It’s nice that I built a relationship with him as a player and now we can build a relationship as a player/coach,” said Steenhuis. “There’s a little bit of a feeling out process because sometimes you want to joke with him as if he was still a player, but now there is that separation since he’s your coach and you have to be more careful around him.”
In other Bandits news, the team signed forward Tracey Kelusky to a one-year deal. Kelusky is a former NLL Rookie of the Year and he has won two NLL championships. He was acquired from the Calgary Roughnecks on October 6 along with a third-round draft pick for the Bandits first pick in the 2011 NLL Entry Draft.