By Phil Bergman
Special to Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/10/12
Swarthmore College assistant coach Eric Hoffman has high hopes for a special season as he and the Philadelphia Wings gear for their National Lacrosse League 2012 Saturday night against the Rochester Knighthawks at the Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m.).
Hoffman, the strength and conditioning coach and facilities coordinator for Swarthmore College, is in his second season as the defensive coach for the Garnet. Last season, the Garnet went 4-9, posting a 1-7 record in Centennial Conference play.
Growing up in Bucks Country, Hoffman attended Pennridge High School before playing at Ursinus College in Collegeville. At Ursinus, Hoffman led the men’s lacrosse team in ground balls and takeaways during his junior and senior years while earning All-Centennial honors, later playing for the former Philadelphia Barrage of the MLL in 2008.
“It’s great knowing I’m on a stable franchise, especially with the way professional lacrosse is with teams coming and going quickly in both indoor and outdoor,” said Hoffman. “The Wings are an older and such a storied franchise and it’s great to be a part of it.”
Hoffman is one of two players on the Wings that played their college ball in the Philadelphia area along with defensemen Jim Forsythe (Widener), and is one of three Division III players on the team; the only one from the Centennial Conference.
Hoffman believes that his coaching experience will help him out on the field this year.
“I’m used to looking at the game from a coaches point of view, so I’m now more analytical and not as reckless as I used to play,” said Hoffman.
The Wings roster for the 2012 season includes some the top talent lacrosse has to offer, including Tawaaraton Trophy winners Matt Danowski, Max Seibald, and Ned Crotty, as well as former MLL top picks Kevin Crowley and Pat Heim (Conestoga). The Wings also added major talents in Brodie Merrill (transition) and Dan Dawson (forward).
“It’s cool to be on the field with all of those guys, some being Tawaaraton Trophy winners and All-Americans, knowing that I can compete at the same level as them.” said Hoffman.
Last season, the Wings finished a disappointing 5-11. However, Hoffman believes that the team has the potential to be a challenger this season.
“I think we’re going to be good. I really do. I think this is going to be the year that we turn it around,” said Hoffman. “We brought in a bunch of offensive guys that we really needed, and the size of our defenders is bigger than most, and I think those two things combined will be good.”
Call 215-389-WING (9464) or visit WingsLAX.com to order Season Tickets for the upcoming 2012 Philadelphia Wings Season.