By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, posted 12/15/08
George Castle didn’t know whether he or his father was happier when he learned Wednesday he had made the Philadelphia Wings’ active roster for the 2009 National Lacrosse League (NLL) season.
“He went nuts,” said Castle, a 2003 graduate of Penn Charter. “It was kind of like opening up a Christmas present for him. He was excited, to say the least. He was like a little kid on Christmas.
“Ever since I was born all I’ve know is the Philadelphia Wings. They were a great sense of pride not only for him, but me, too.”
Castle, a member of two NCAA championship teams at Johns Hopkins, was given the word he made the 23-member team by Wings coach Dave Huntley. Ironically, Huntley also was the coach in 1987 when J.R. Castle played his lone season for the Wings.
Castle’s good fortune did not come without hard work. He signed as a free agent with the Wings in November after making it through an open tryout at the United Sports Training Center in Downingtown.
Then he had to get through two more 3-day training camps to make it to the final squad.
“It’s pretty exciting news,” he said. “It’s still kind of shocking. I got to play in our first scrimmage against the New York Titans and we did pretty well.
“And my dad has been very supportive, coming to training camp. This is such an honor for me.”
Besides the connection with his father, Castle has other Wings ties. In his first two years at Penn Charter, Castle’s coach was current La Salle assistant Tony Resch, a 2008 Wings Hall of Fame inductee and one of the most decorated lacrosse player ever to play Philadelphia.
“He (Resch) inspired me to try out for the Wings and helped give me the dream to make it,” Castle said.
How much will Castle play? That he does not know. What position will he play? At Hopkins, he was a defensive middie, and he is being listed as a defender for the Wings.
“Coach Huntley told me I’d be playing primarily defense, but I’m confident in my transition game,” Castle said. “I think if I bring it up the floor I can play a little offense.”
“I didn’t play outdoor this year and I know the league doesn’t start until April, but I am excited to be playing in two leagues, potentially,” he said.
It’s been a whirlwind year for Castle. His Hopkins squad, the defending NCAA champion, stunned Duke in the semifinals before bowing to Syracuse in the final. Castle scored one of his two goals in the Duke game.
Castle said his experience at Johns Hopkins was nothing but positive and has prepared him for the pros.
“The first thing about Hopkins was my teammates and how great a relationship I built with them,” he said. “They are all my friends, and I will definitely remember the championships.
“We came up short last year, but give credit to Syracuse; they deserved it that day. It’s nice to continue to play lacrosse at this level. Hopkins gave me a great foundation and coach (Dave) Pietramala taught me a lot.”