The Buffalo Bandits Lacrosse Team

Clare Lyons, Sports Senior Editor

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The Buffalo Bandits professional Lacrosse team is becoming very popular among all age groups, from young children to adults. Lacrosse is North America’s oldest sport with origins dating before the 1400’s. It was first recognized as a sport by a Jesuit missionary who saw a Huron tribe involved in a contest. Lacrosse was originally used as a sacred contest to condition braves for combat or to settle tribal disputes. Contests included teams of 100 to 1000 braves and goals were placed 100 yards to several miles apart. Since then, lacrosse has progressed over the years and is now used as a fun, recreational sport at all levels with an estimated 300,000 Americans playing.

Professional indoor lacrosse, which the Bandits play, combines the physical play of hockey with the high scoring, fast pace style of basketball. They play in an ice hockey rink with green turf carpet laid down, and an average game has 25 goals scored between both teams. Only 5 runners (forwards and defensemen) and a goalie play at a time, but there are frequency shift changes similar to ice hockey. The season runs from December to April with 16 games total, 8 home and 8 away, followed by the Champion’s Cup Playoffs.

The Bandits team has many key players that lead the team to success. Ryan Benesch is a forward who leads the team in points with 26 right now this season, 11 goals and 15 assists. He was Rookie of the Year in 2007 and continues to improve in each and every game. In addition, Mark Steenhuis, a forward with 6 goals and 10 assists, was a member of the 2009 All-Pro Second Team, which extends beyond Buffalo. These two players are very important for the team and help to bring home many victories. Right now, the Bandits team has a record of 1-3, but it is early in the season and they have many more chances to win. Each season the Bandits show improvement, bringing in new crowds of people who are interested, in hopes of making the playoffs and winning the championship.

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