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Crowley excited to make debut in return ‘home’ to Wings Saturday night

Friday, 11th January 2019

Categories Boy's/Men's, Pro  
 

By Anthony Caruso III
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/11/19

Kevin Crowley got his wish last Saturday – a return to the new Wings and Philadelphia, his adopted home.

Kevin Crowley

“I was obviously excited, having lived here for the past seven years,” said Crowley, who was traded by the National Lacrosse League New England Black Wolves to the Wings for two first round draft picks. “I call Philadelphia my home now.

“When I got the phone call, I didn’t know where or if I was going to be traded. I didn’t know what the phone call was about. I had a little bit of anxiety picking up that phone, but it worked out for the best.”

In exchange for one of the league’s top offensive players, the Wings (0-3) traded 2019 and 2022 first-rounders to the Black Wolves. Crowley, the No. 1 pick in the NLL draft in 2012, played for the Wings from 2012 through 2014, before the franchise relocated to New England.

Crowley, 30, of New Westminster, B.C., will make his return to the Wells Fargo Center Saturday night (7 p.m.) when the Wings host the Georgia Swarm. With Philly hosting the US Lacrosse Convention, the attention on this game is keen for the youthful Wings.

Crowley had held out during the entire training camps and first three weeks of the season. He hoped to get traded to the Wings, but there were no guarantees.

“I got the call from my general manager,” Crowley said. “Anytime you get a call from your general manager, whether it’s before the season or during the season, it makes you a little nervous. Obviously, with the hold out going on, I had an idea what the circumstances were going to be.”

With this move, he is one of two former Wings players from the 2014 team to return to Philadelphia. The Wings selected former Wing Jordan Hall in the expansion draft in the summertime.

“Jordan Hall and I are best friends,” he said. “We grew up on the West Coast of Canada, not too far from each other. He currently lives in Philadelphia, too.

“I’m looking forward to playing with him again. I think he’s one of the best lacrosse players in the world. He sets the best picks, gets guys open, and is the ultimate team guy.

“He’s someone you always want in your locker room. I’m excited to play with him again. We’re great friends off the field and hopefully, can carry over that chemistry on the field.”

Crowley has 533 career points (257 goals, 276 assists) in 118 career games over seven seasons. Crowley had 57 assists and 90 points in 2016, and followed that up with a 45-goal season in 2017. Last year, Crowley’s 51 goals set a new career high and led the NLL.

Head Coach Paul Day now has another veteran who he can lean on with the young players.

“We have a long road ahead of us,” Crowley added. “Obviously, we have a younger team. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

“There’s a certain maturation for the young players. And hopefully, bringing in someone, like myself – who has been in the league eight years – I hope it will help the young players out so they have someone else they can go to for questions and help them with their learning curve.”

Crowley has never played for Day, but he knows his reputation as en elite coach.

“I’ve never played for Paul before,” he said. “But from what Jordan’s told me, he’s an excellent human being. He’s a great coach – and you can tell that from his Mann Cup victories with Peterborough in the Summer League in Canada and with the Rochester Knighthawks in the NLL.

“I’m looking forward to playing for him and getting to know him better. Like Jordan said, he’s a great guy. That’s the type of person you want steering your boat in any game.”

Crowley – who has played for the Canadian National teams in 2008, 2010, 2014 and 2018 – has strong roots now in Philly. The former Stony Brook All-American co-founded Fusion Lacrosse and has been a middle school and high school assistant coach at Shipley School.

“Like I said from the start, it’s exciting,” Crowley said. “When I first moved here, I didn’t know anybody in the market. I was trying to find my own way.

“Now that I’ve lived here for seven years, I’m very fortunate to have a large network of friends and the kids I coach, who are all going to come out there and be in the stands. It’s going to be cool to step on the turf and see so many familiar faces.”

Crowley, who also stars for the Charlotte Hounds of Major League Lacrosse, has been instrumental in helping build box lacrosse in the region. He teamed with former Wing Steve Holmes to create Fusion and winter box travel team Penn*Lax.

“Steve Holmes approached me – he was another player on the old Wings – and said he was going to train American lacrosse players on how to play box lacrosse,” Crowley said. “It wasn’t so prevalent at the time when we started this five years ago.

“When he came to me and asked if I wanted to be involved in this, I said, ‘Yes.’ Ever since then, we’ve grown to eight Fusion Lacrosse teams and we have another five through Penn*lax. We’re running tournaments and we’ve expanded down to Virginia. We’ve seen a lot of success in the past five years. A lot of it is due to the box lacrosse game.”

Crowley admitted he can see the difference box lacrosse has made in players today.

“I go up to a high school tournament now and I see the level of box lacrosse IQ out there, and I compare to what I saw five years ago,” he said. “I see a night and day difference.

“These teams out there today can compete with any teams out there, even in Canada, who have been playing since they were five years old. I think that’s the way this sport is going now.

“It’s more of a hybrid game. People recognize the importance of being able to play box lacrosse and how that translates over to the outdoor game. I expect it to continue to grow. The sport isn’t going anywhere, especially with the Philadelphia Wings coming back to town. I think the sport is even going to grow that much more.”

Crowley said interest in box lacrosse will only grow with the Wings back in town.

“Any special sided sport, whether it’s basketball, football, soccer; if you’ve played in a smaller area, like you have in box lacrosse, it makes you more efficient with your stick work,” said Crowley. “The physicality of the box game helps you take hits and take checks.

“Playing in those 5-on-5 instead of those 10-on-10, you get more touches, because it’s a great way to train for the outdoor game. I know people, who would prefer to just play box lacrosse than even play outdoor lacrosse.”


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