New England Black Wolves forward Kevin Buchanan is preparing for his seventh season in the National Lacrosse League. A former star at Ohio State who has also carved out a successful career playing outdoor lacrosse in the MLL, Buchanan helped the United States win bronze at the 2015 FIL World Indoor Lacrosse Championships in September, finishing with 15 goals, 18 assists and 37 loose balls.
Recently, he took a few minutes to look back on the WILC, and also look ahead to the start of the 2016 Black Wolves season.
Talk about your experience serving as a captain for the United States team that won the Bronze Medal at FIL World Indoor Lacrosse Championships in September.
“It was amazing. It was an awesome experience. This was the first time that U.S. Lacrosse, the governing body of lacrosse here in the US, had basically sanctioned us as one of the national teams. So this was the first time we were governed by them, with US Lacrosse facilitating everything. It was fantastic. We couldn’t have asked for a better coaching staff, which was headed by Tony Resh, who was a terrific player and an even better individual. As far as the guys and the team we had, as you know, there are not a million American box players to select from, so we had some guys who really didn’t have a ton of experience. Some guys that, playing the tournament was their first box experience. Guys like Marcus Halman and Bruce Snider. But all in all, I think it was a good direction, a good step in the right direction for us. Very disappointed that we didn’t finish in the top two, either getting gold or silver, which was our goal because we had always finished in that third place, which was the bronze place, but overall I think it was just a fantastic experience. It was a ton of fun and the tournament was done so well. The Onondaga nation just did a fantastic job for the fans.”
It’s the second time for you participating in that event. How does an experience like that help raise your game?
“It was a very different experience coming in in 2011 when we played over in Prague. I had only been in the NLL for two seasons. Going out and playing the World Games, at that time, the team was comprised a little bit more of veteran guys, American players who had been playing in the NLL for a little bit longer than I had. So it was a very different experience for me. I wasn’t one of the guys with the most experience, where this time around, I was tasked with teaching a lot to the guys like Marcus Hallman and Bruce Snider to bring them up to speed because of the lack of experience that they had, not that that was their fault. So it was just a very different dynamic for me, and role for me. But overall, I think it benefited me. A lot of times, you learn best and understand and start to break down your game best, when you have to teach and explain what you do to someone else. How you do it. What ultimately makes you successful.”
As an American, do you feel like players in this country are starting to appreciate the benefits of playing the indoor game?
“Absolutely. I think the benefits are tremendous, and there’s a long list of them. I think for us, the only thing we struggle with here in the U.S. is just the exposure to the game, (having) the people who have the ability to coach it at a high level and coach it correctly, and ultimately, just the ability to play at a facility within a legit arena.”
How will the addition of Shawn Evans, who the Black Wolves recently acquired in a trade with Calgary, impact the team?
“It impacts us in a great way (laughs). Evans was the MVP of the World Games. He’s arguably THE best. Hands down (he is) one of the top five players in the league. He’s a 100-point guy. To have someone come into your team like that, selfishly, I’d say it’s awesome for me because now I’m able to play with a player who is so knowledgeable about the game. And even though I’ve played it for numerous years now, and been in the league for a while, I’m still in a learning mode. He knows this game as box lacrosse. I know this game as field lacrosse. So to be able to play with someone of his caliber is fantastic. It’s exciting for me personally and then obviously the benefits that we’ll get as a team. There will be a ton of team benefits having him just being able to lead us out of that front door offensively.”
What are your thoughts about the new coaching staff?
“The only one I really know is TK (Tracey Kelusky), from playing with him and him coaching me in the past, last year. (Head coach) Glenn (Clark) and (assistant coach) Jim (Veltman), I haven’t really had any exposure to these guys in the past. But from people and teammates cawho have had exposure, they have so many great things to say about these guys and what they are going to be able to do coming in and how they are going to just really be able to push us in the right direction. So I’m super excited to get going with them and hit the ground running. I think there are only good things ahead for the Black Wolves in the future.”