Playing your first professional game in any sport is a long-awaited moment and the culmination of years of hard work. For the group of five FireWolves rookies who played their first NLL action this past Friday, they not only made their lacrosse dreams come true, but they also came away with a season opening win as Albany defeated the Las Vegas Desert Dogs 12-10.
Tye Kurtz, Alex Simmons, Jeff Trainor, Nicholas Volkov, and Zachary Young made their NLL debuts in Las Vegas, and all contributed to what was an exciting start to the season for this young team.
They had four weeks of training camp and practices to adjust to the speed of the NLL, but it isn’t until the real thing that the rookies can experience what it’s really like. All five held their own and even excelled to help the FireWolves get off to a great start to the season.
Forwards Simmons and Kurtz were not gun-shy in their first game as they shot early and often as the FireWolves worked to comeback from an early Vegas lead. In the 2nd Quarter, Simmons weaved his way through two Vegas defenders and fired a shot to the top left corner for his first NLL goal. Kurtz’s first NLL goal would come at a crucial moment with the game tied 8-8 in the 4th Quarter. He looked like a veteran as he caught a pass cutting through the middle and fired a smooth backhand shot into the net. What a first goal in the NLL.
Both of these 2022 NLL Draft picks are experienced goal scorers from their time playing Jr. A in Ontario and being the main threats for their college teams. Kurtz is the all-time points leader at the University of Delaware and Simmons accumulated 165 points at Denver University and Syracuse University. Kurtz finished the game with 5 points (2G, 3A) and Simmons added 4 points (2G, 2A) to make an immediate impact on the FireWolves dynamic offense.
Trainor, Volkov, and Young were key parts of the FireWolves defense that found its stride as the game went on. Volkov and Young are 2023 NLL Draft picks who have indoor experience from their lacrosse roots in Ontario, but Trainor grew up near Boston playing field lacrosse and is new to the box game. Each rookie scooped up several loose balls and will be vital to the back end all season.
The FireWolves are one of the youngest teams in the NLL on paper, but they have a very strong core of players like Colton Watkinson, Nick Chaykowsky, Ethan Walker, Doug Jamieson, Joe Nardella, and others with a few NLL seasons under their belt. Couple that with Head Coach Glenn Clark and his great coaching staff and there is a culture that has allowed the rookies and new faces to thrive. As the season goes on, the FireWolves will find their identity and are poised to compete for a playoff spot.
The rookies will face the ultimate test this weekend as they go up against the defending NLL Champion Buffalo Bandits in the battle of the I90. Get your tickets now to watch the FireWolves take on the Bandits this Saturday, December 9 at 7 PM at MVP Arena. The game will also be available to watch on ESPN+, TSN+, and locally on MY4.
Single game tickets for the 2023-2024 FireWolves season are available now! 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 Empire of the National Arena League and the Division I Men’s College Basketball Siena Saints. For more information, please visit https://www.mvparena.com/.