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AFW SCHOOL PROGRAM PRESENTED BY DICK’S HOUSE OF SPORT INSPIRING STUDENTS IN THE ALBANY COMMUNITY

Albany, NY – A professional sports team represents so much more than what happens on the field, ice, or floor. It is an integral part of the community that it plays in and becomes a source of inspiration and hope not only for fans, but for the young kids in the area to look up to.

The Albany FireWolves are in the midst of their third National Lacrosse League (NLL) season since the relocation of the team to the Capital Region and growing the awareness of the team in the area has been a long, but steady effort. The most impactful form of growth has been the AFW School Program presented by Dick’s House of Sport which has been introducing the Albany FireWolves Lacrosse Club and the game of lacrosse to local students through in person visits.  

“From the moment Firewolves players stepped into our gym, they displayed a passion for the game that was contagious to our students,” said Monica Koralus the Physical Education Teacher at Voorheesville Elementary where players recently made a school visit. “Through interactive drills, friendly competitions, and insightful tips, the players effectively conveyed the excitement and joy that lacrosse/box lacrosse can bring.” 

For FireWolves players Tye Kurtz, Sam Firth, Justin Geddie, and Will Johansen, driving around the Albany area to visit new schools every week has become one of the most rewarding parts of being a pro lacrosse player. These four are representatives of the FireWolves in the community and are rapidly raising the awareness of the team one school at a time. 

Jackson Wang from Spectrum News recently followed the players through a game week as they visited schools, practiced with the team, and prepared for a Saturday game at MVP Arena. Watch the story below: 

https://spectrumlocalnews.com/nys/capital-region/news/2024/02/04/albany-firewolves-rookies-balancing-life-in-the-nll# 

With the help of the presenting sponsor of the AFW School Program, DICK’s House of Sport in Latham, NY, the FireWolves have visited 33 schools since the start of the 2023-24 NLL season and connected with hundreds of students. The players have been all over the Capital Region to schools such as Menands School, St. Gregory’s, Bought Hills, Rensselaer Park, Knox Middle School, and Pine Bush. They hope to visit 55 or more schools by the end of the season. 

The goals of the AFW School Program are to have FireWolves players integrate themselves into the community, increase awareness of box lacrosse and the sport of lacrosse in general, and bring exposure to the Albany FireWolves Lacrosse Club.

The players approach the school visits with the five W’s in mind. Who they are, what they do, why they do it, where they play, and when they play. Students are able ask the players more questions about the team, the players, or lacrosse. Then it’s time for the students to get a chance to pick up a lacrosse stick and try it for themselves.

Sports, in this case lacrosse, have the power to change lives. For the FireWolves players, lacrosse has given them amazing opportunities like receiving scholarships to play in college and now compete professionally in a sport they love. Kurtz, Firth, Geddie, and Johansen share that passion with students to show that they can achieve their dreams whether it be on the lacrosse floor or in whatever they may be passionate about.  

Many of lacrosse’s greatest players first learned about the game in a gym class or through a presentation just like the AFW School Program. Planting that seed is what can lead to a passion and appreciation for sports that will last for the rest of these students’ lives. Registrations in the lacrosse programs at the schools the players have visited have seen a big increase with students eager to play the sport. 

Their recent visit to Voorheesville Elementary School showcases how impactful a school visit can be.  

“They skillfully demonstrated various lacrosse techniques and strategies, making the learning process both enjoyable and educational,” said Monica Koralus the Voorheesville PE teacher. 

“The players went above and beyond to ensure that every student felt included and motivated, but also made sure that every student left PE with a sense of accomplishment.”  

“They took the time to answer questions, share their own experiences, and offer words of encouragement. What set the FireWolves visit apart was their genuine commitment to fostering a love for the sport, and a passion for their team, among our students. The autograph sessions at the end of each class were a highlight, creating cherished memories for the students as they interacted with their lacrosse heroes.” 

“We are immensely grateful for the positive influence the FireWolves players had on our school community and look forward to welcoming them back in the future.”  

The results of the AFW School Program are being seen firsthand this season as more and more young girls and boys who experienced the program fill the stands at MVP Arena to watch the FireWolves play. They get to see the excitement, the skill, and the energy of lacrosse while cheering on their local team. After the game, there are always autograph sessions that give these young fans a chance to talk to their favorite players, get an autograph and picture, and truly feel like a member of the FireWolves family. 

The Albany community has welcomed the FireWolves with open arms and the team has been able to give back in a big way through the AFW School Program. 

Years down the line, Tye Kurtz, Sam Firth, Justin Geddie, and Will Johansen can look back and know that every school visit they did they made a positive impact on a student. Every young kid that they connected with saw that with hard work and a dream you can achieve anything. Maybe one day they can even suit up for the FireWolves. 

Interested in bringing the FireWolves to your school? Please contact our school liaison Cassie Wun to schedule a visit this spring. Cassie@albanyfirewolves.com 

Single game tickets for the 2023-2024 FireWolves season are available now! Join us for Alphie’s Birthday Bash on February 17 as we celebrate the best mascot around. Enter our poster contest and get there early to pick up an Alphie bobblehead. For more information regarding tickets, visit www.AlbanyFireWolves.com or call/text the FireWolves front office at 518-362-4900. 

About Albany FireWolves

The Albany FireWolves is the Capital Region’s very own Professional Box Lacrosse team, playing in the National Lacrosse League out of the MVP Arena in downtown Albany, NY. For more information, contact the Albany FireWolves Front Office at (518) 362-4900 or visit AlbanyFireWolves.com. Follow the team on Facebook at facebook.com/AlbFireWolves, Twitter @AlbFireWolves, and Instagram @AlbFireWolves.

About the National Lacrosse League

The National Lacrosse League (NLL) is North America’s premier professional lacrosse league. Founded in 1986, the NLL ranks third in average attendance for pro indoor sports worldwide, behind only the NHL and NBA. The League is comprised of 15 franchises across the United States and Canada: Albany FireWolves, Buffalo Bandits, Calgary Roughnecks, Colorado Mammoth, Georgia Swarm, Halifax Thunderbirds, Las Vegas Desert Dogs, New York Riptide, Panther City Lacrosse Club (TX), Philadelphia Wings, Rochester Knighthawks, San Diego Seals, Saskatchewan Rush, Toronto Rock, and Vancouver Warriors. For more information, visit NLL.com and find @NLL on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

About MVP Arena

MVP Arena is a full-service entertainment and sports facility featuring a wide variety of family shows, sporting events, trade shows and concerts. Owned by Albany County and managed by ASM Global, MVP Arena opened in 1990 and is home to the Albany FireWolves of the National Lacrosse League, the Albany Firebirds of the Arena Football League and the Division I Men’s College Basketball Siena Saints. For more information, please visit https://www.mvparena.com/

Albany FireWolves