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ALBANY, NY – On April 28, the clock hit zero and MVP Arena exploded with cheers from the home crowd who just witnessed the Albany FireWolves defeat the Halifax Thunderbirds. It was the FireWolves’ first National Lacrosse League playoff win since moving to the Capital Region in 2021. In the crowd, one fan saw his first lacrosse game in person and got to see his favorite player Tye Kurtz score a goal and contribute to the win.

That fan is 10-year-old Daniel Scoons and he has quickly become one of the FireWolves’ biggest supporters.  

The Albany FireWolves made a big impact in the Capital Region during the 2023-24 season not only through their historic run to the NLL Finals, but with their commitment to growing awareness of the team in the Albany community and serving as great roles models for young fans like Daniel.  

“I like to go to the FireWolves games because I like to see them in action so I can observe and do the plays that they do,” said Daniel Scoons a 4th Grader from Lansingburgh. “So then when I’m older I can try to get a pro deal like Tye.” 

Spreading their knowledge and their passion for lacrosse, Tye Kurtz and several other FireWolves players were active every week of the season as they made appearances at schools and ran clinics to teach lacrosse, inspire students to set goals, and spread the word about the team. Kurtz had an incredible rookie season as he was named to the NLL All-Rookie team and was a finalist for NLL Rookie of the Year, but his work off the floor in the Albany community was just as impactful for the FireWolves. 

Daniel with his hand raised ready to ask the FireWolves players a question.

With help from the Lansingburgh School District, the FireWolves held free clinics for three weeks in February at the Knickerbacker Arena in Troy for any kids that wanted to learn more about lacrosse. Daniel goes to Rensselaer Park Elementary School right up the road from Knickerbacker and this is where he got his first lacrosse experience. He attended all three clinics as he soaked up as much knowledge as he could from Kurtz and the other FireWolves players.

“I got interested in it when I heard about it from one of my teachers,” said Daniel. “I said hey I want to see what this is all about. When I got to go and the FireWolves were involved I got really intrigued by it because I finally got to hold a real stick and I got to experience what it’s like to be in a lacrosse game.” 

The FireWolves players showed them how to throw and catch and ran them through a few drills to teach them the basics. Kurtz made a big impression on Daniel as he coached him through drills, answered his questions, and took the time to talk about lacrosse with him.  

“Tye signed my lacrosse ball and he said he admired me because I was using a lot of maneuvers and tactics he hadn’t seen in a long time,” said Daniel. “My favorite thing Tye does when playing is when he had a sock trick (6 goals) against Buffalo.” 

“He watches a lot of lacrosse stuff on YouTube,” said Daniel’s Mom, Danielle Scoons, who has supported and encouraged his new love of lacrosse and the FireWolves.  

During one of the clinics, Daniel had a moment that could have turned him away from the sport if it wasn’t for the support and motivation from the FireWolves players and staff.   

“Daniel had bought sticks with his own birthday money to use at the clinics,” said Danielle. “During one of the clinics, he broke one and he was really upset about it, but he got up and he kept going.” 

Thankfully Steve Donovan, a member of the Albany FireWolves Training Academy staff, was there to make sure Daniel wouldn’t let the broken stick slow him down.  

“After it was over Coach Donovan called him over and gave him a stick as well as some one-on-one training time,” said Danielle. “Danny was so excited that Coach Donovan took the time with him and just thought that it was amazing.” 

With that new stick, Daniel was ready to continue learning the sport and follow in the FireWolves players’ footsteps.  

“I want to give a big thanks to Coach Donovan because he was the one that really set me off on a lacrosse journey,” said Daniel. “It’s crazy to think that I thought lacrosse was a boring sport, but now I want to be a pro lacrosse player.”  

Daniel at his first FireWolves game.

Donovan shared his phone number with Danielle and let her know that he’d be glad to help get Daniel to a game. In April, they were able to make it a reality.  

With his custom-made FireWolves shirt and his big smile, Daniel got to see his first lacrosse game as the FireWolves defeated the Halifax Thunderbirds in the first round of the playoffs. He returned for the rest of the playoffs to watch the FireWolves’ next two home games against San Diego and Buffalo on their run to the NLL Finals. There’s no doubt that Daniel and his family’s cheers contributed to the amazing atmosphere of MVP Arena in the playoffs.  

Daniel’s parents could see how much fun Daniel had at the FireWolves games and how he could learn from the sport.  

“It was so great to see the joy that Daniel had watching the game and his excitement,” said Daniel’s Dad, Chris David Taylor. “He gets to see how a team works and that when things don’t go your way it’s not a one-man thing. You have to work together and he’s picked that up watching the FireWolves.” 

After getting to see his heroes play in person, Daniel is eager to get started on a lacrosse team and start playing his new favorite sport.  

“We’re looking into it for next year 100%,” said Danielle. “This year he needed to learn that lacrosse is about a lot of self-control. You have to be okay with not always winning and it’s okay to miss a goal.”  

From the clinics with the players to then being able to watch them play in an NLL game, Daniel is learning a lot about lacrosse very quickly.  

“I learned from the pros that I can’t give up even if things are difficult on the field. I have to keep pushing through it,” said Daniel. “My favorite thing about lacrosse is all the action that’s happening and how fast paced it is.”  

Daniel dressed as Tye Kurtz for his wax museum project.

Daniel was assigned to do a wax museum project for school and instead of choosing a historical figure he knew who he wanted to choose, his new hero Tye Kurtz. Through his presentation Daniel told Kurtz’s story from where he grew up in Canada, where he played college lacrosse, and how he became a member of the Albany FireWolves. 

“I knew I wanted to do Tye for my wax museum project, but my teacher told me it would be tough because there wasn’t a lot of info about his younger years before he started lacrosse,” said Daniel. “I didn’t know what he did before lacrosse or what he did as a kid, so it was kind of difficult. But I pushed through and I was able to get to the final slide!”  

Daniel’s Mom shared pictures from the project with Donovan who then shared them with the FireWolves front office. The FireWolves knew right away knew this was a special story. Tye Kurtz recorded a video message for Daniel that FireWolves Public Relations Coordinator Steve Wizniuk shared with him and his family during the video interview for this article. Daniel was left speechless.

“To me getting that message from Tye means that to the FireWolves it’s more than a team,” said Danielle. “The fans are actually family. I told Daniel that this next season we’re going to go to every game that we can. It’s absolutely amazing the things that the FireWolves do for their fans.” 

The FireWolves are so excited to have Daniel and his family joining the pack and we can’t wait to see them back in the stands at MVP Arena. Maybe one day we will even see Daniel suiting up for his hometown team. 

“I’m really looking forward to going back to the rink and learning more about lacrosse,” said Daniel. “I’ll be older and hopefully be getting into actual lacrosse programs like Tye did. For me that’s really exciting because my future might be about lacrosse.” 

Season tickets for the FireWolves 2024-25 season are now available! For more information regarding tickets, visit https://albanyfirewolves.com/tickets/albany-firewolves-2024-25-season-tickets/ 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/ 

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