The latest figures from the National Lacrosse League, taken last Tuesday, show the Syracuse Stingers to be at the bottom of the league. In fact, the truth is that the Stingers are a better team than the record shows. But for those who rely only on figures and statistics then the Stingers are indeed in sad shape.
The Stingers have lost all of their eight games, losing at least once to every team on the circuit. There are those who are wondering why the Stingers are in this league. Some of their defeats have been humiliating, especially two particular games against the Wings of Philadelphia, in which the Stingers lost by scores of 24-14 and 16-8.
And to make matters worse the Stingers have the poorest defensive record in the league. and this in Lacrosse is a bad sign. The Stingers have conceded 151 goals to their adversaries in the first eight games of the season, this averages out to an unbelievable 18.9 goals against per game, which is 2.3 goals more than the team immediately following them in this department.
Excellent Picks in the March Draft
There is no doubt, the Stingers are about to show the talent and ability that they do possess and they will justify the congratulations that were given to them after the draft session at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Montreal, last March 15. Evervone was unanimous in their exclamation of the excellence of two teams in their picks. These two teams were the Stingers and Les Québécois.
Who would think at that time, that both of these teams would have the problems and difficulties that they had at the beginning of this season. And both teams tried to remedy the situation in the same manner, by calling a special league meeting and asking for the permission to play their coaches.
The NCAA say’s No to Richie Moran:
If Les Québécois of Montreal decided to place the name of their coach Bill Bradley on the players roster to help consolidate their defensive play, it was the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) who forced the Stingers to give up their choice as coach, Richie Moran. According to the Stingers original plan, Moran was to replace Jim Higgs behind the bench at the end of the collegiate year which is June the first. The Stingers believed that by this plan Higgs would coach them through the exhibition season and the first eight league games.
Then enter Moran, who with this close friendship with Higgs would duly take over the coaching responsibilities, on June 1st. Moran, 37 years old, is the chief instructor of Lacrosse at Cornell University where he has won four Ivy League championships.
Higgs, 25 years Old, is a graduate of Cornell where he obtained a scholarship as a defenseman in hockey. But neither Higgs nor Moran could foresee that the NCAA would forbid the Cornell coach to work for professional team, leaving the Stingers to find a coach 15 days after the start of the regular season.
The Arrival of Jim Higgs has made a difference. The Stingers reacted quickly when they learned Of the ineligibility Of Richie Moran as their coach. Thev immediately met with Spence Lyons, the president of the National League, and obtained permission to break the agreement they had with the league that Higgs would coach only until June 1st.
Jim Higgs thus returned on May 29th and played in the following three Stingers games. His presence was immediately felt. Although the Stingers failed to win one of these three games they looked better than the game before. For example, they lost 20-19 in Toronto, 16-15 against Les Québécois under new coach John Ferguson, and 13-11 against Maryland last Friday.
Higgs, at his young age is recognized as one Of the best players in Canada, and the effect of having him rejoin the Stingers was much the same as that of Bradley playing for Les Québécois. These two teams have found a maturity that they didn’t have before, and it is only a matter of time until this maturity transforms itself into victories.
A team that is 24 years and three months old
The Stingers are one of the youngest teams on the Spence Lyons circuit, with the average age being 24 years and 3 months old. They have only four players with more than two years experience with any Senior club: Jim Higgs, Gaylord Powless, Bob McCready, and Brian Cuddy and even at that the last two players mentioned are goaltenders.
McCreary, one of the best offensive goalers of all time. has played only a few matches with the Stingers because he has not yet resolved his problems with his employers, who are General Motors in St. Catharines, Ontario. The presence of McCready in uniform would put a fine finish on the Stingers offence, an offence that has greatly improved since the arrival of Higgs.
The Stingers play a fast breaking type of game very similar to Les Québécois, and McCready who is one of the finest passers among goaltenders in the League fits in well with this style of play. The entire Stingers team hope that Bob and his employers come to an agreement that would make it possible for him to join the team for each and every game.
Many young players soon to explode
A quick look at the players of the Syracuse Stingers will convince you that they are on the verge of exploding into quite a Lacrosse machine. Not only can they count on Higgs but also on the famous Gaylord Powless who is considered one of the greatest offensive players in the world. These two ex-Oshawa players are complemented by others such as Travis Cooke (who has one of the strongest submarine shots), Ken Alexander (a tough defenseman who hails from the West), and Paul Cioci (a great play maker for the Stingers).
The record of the Syracuse Stingers does not allow us to talk seriously about them as contenders for the League championship. But we must admit that it is more than a respectable team and the season after all has just begun.
But who knows… The sting may return to the Stingers faster than we think.