Friday December 27, 2013 | By:Michael J. Petro | Sports
CHANGE OF SCENERY — After playing his rookie season in Calgary, Joe Resetarits was traded to his hometown Buffalo Bandits. He’ll make his debut with them on Saturday at the First Niagara Center. Photo courtesy of NLL.
Joe Resetarits enjoyed his first National Lacrosse League season playing as a rookie for the Calgary Roughnecks. He said it was an experience discovering the city and being around a veteran group of fellow attackmen that taught him what it takes to succeed in this league.
But at the same time, nothing beats coming home and being able to play for a team the Hamburg native grew up watching and in front of a crowd which he knows, first-hand, is one of the league’s most dedicated.
Resetarits will get that opportunity on Saturday, Dec. 28, when he plays his first game for his hometown Buffalo Bandits, after being traded by Calgary in the offseason. The Bandits will take on the Philadelphia Wings 7:30 p.m. at the First Niagara Center.
“I’ve been watching the Bandits since their beginning; we’ve had season tickets since I was 3-years-old,” Resetarits said. “But instead of watching, I’ll actually be playing. It’s a dream come true. It’s good to be back.”
The year under his belt in the league also aided Resetarits in understanding the game and made him eager to increase his role as a more substantial part of his team’s offense.
“From day one, when I got the call, I’ve been real excited to be able to come back home where my friends and family can come watch,” Resetarits said. “Even since, I’ve been preparing myself for the first day of camp. I think I fit in well here and will be able to help the team.”
A first round choice of Calgary, Resetarits spent his rookie season as more of a role player, being more involved in off-the-ball situations. He intends to be a bigger part of the offense in Buffalo. He’s certainly used to being a mainstay on an offense, as one of the state’s top scorers while playing at Hamburg High School and then being selected as the American East Conference Player of the Year and an All-American honorable mention while at Albany.
“Over the summer, I worked on my overall game and definitely having the ball more on my stick,” Resetarits said. “We have a group of guys who can do everything on the floor. It’s a good thing for this team.”
Among that group of top offensemen is lacrosse legend, the incomparable John Tavares, who continues to put up big numbers in his 40s. Resetarits also remembers as a youngster watching greats like Shawn Williams.
“To be able to play with a guy I grew up watching in Buffalo [Tavares] and who is my idol is incredible,” Resetarits said. “That I’m now on the same team playing on offense with guys like Shawn Williams is a pretty cool experience.”
Resetarits will try to help spark a storied franchise that experienced a disappointing campaign last season. The Bandits were the only of the league’s nine teams to be left out of the postseason. In the offseason, they made a coaching change from mainstay Daris Kilgour to Troy Cordingley.
The 24-year-old Resetarits was acquired on draft day in September, coming off his rookie season in the NLL in 2013 in which he appeared in 14 games, registering 24 points, including eight goals, and recovering 24 loose balls.
“We wanted to address some offense,” said second-year Bandits general manager Steve Dietrich. “Bringing Joe back home, a first round pick last year, helps.”
Resetarits believes this Bandits team has all of the tools to bounce back with a big season. He added that the players left from last season are eager to redeem themselves.
“From what I’ve seen and heard, it’s a whole new experience here and different atmosphere now,” he said. “And that’s a good thing — sometimes you need change. I think the organization is going in the right direction, from management down to the coaching staff.”
Resetarits knows all about change, already early on in his career. In addition to be traded in the indoor league, he was also moved during the offseason of the Major League Lacrosse outdoor league. He’ll play for Ohio next season after playing his first two seasons with Hamilton.
“It’s part of the business,” Resetarits said. “With small leagues comes a lot of trades and guys seem to move all over the place during their careers. It’s good to get a fresh start.”
Upon his return to play for Buffalo, Joe will also become the second Resetarits to suit up for the Bandits. Frank Resetarits, also a former great at Hamburg High School and then Albany University, spent a few years of his professional career with the Bandits. Frank is now coaching.
“He has told me just go out there and play my game,” Joe said of the advice his brother has given. “It’s a higher level but he said, ‘You’re here for a reason — you can play.’ Just relax and do what you’re capable of.”
And now friends, family, and his former teammate and coaches around the area, can see him play right around the corner in downtown Buffalo. His coach at Hamburg already has made plans to be at First Niagara Center to watch his former player throughout the season.
“When I found out Joe will be playing at First Niagara Center, I secured two seats for the season with [assistant coach] Marty Derby,” Severino said. “My son, Caleb [also an assistant coach with Hamburg], and I will be there eight rows up from the Bandits bench. It’s pretty exciting.”