Editor’s note: Ryan “Rhino” Powell getting signed by the Boston Blazers was HUGE news. All over the internet. The chatter was crazy. Lax All Stars was lucky enough to snag an interview with the incredibly busy Powell, and he delivers some great answers to our average questions. It’s true, the Powells never disappoint! Powell talks about the trade, playing with Casey and how he came to be such a force in the indoor game. Since Ryan played in Edmonton last year, I’ve decided this qualifies as International Lacrosse. Also, it was just way too good to sit on!
Lax All Stars: A couple dumb questions I simply have to ask: How excited are you to be playing with Casey in Boston? How big of a part did it play in your move?
Ryan Powell: I’m very excited for the opportunity to play with CP in Boston this season. He is a great player! It’s much more than that though- he is my best friend. He was the best man in my wedding, as was I in his. I’m looking forward to being on the floor competing alongside him. It’s been a long time since we’ve played together and should be a lot of fun. Off the field, he will be my roommate on the road so it will give us a lot of quality time to hang and catch up. Because I live in Portland, and he is now based in Florida, we don’t get to see much of each other that often anymore, so this is going to be great. Having this opportunity to join CP played a huge roll in me signing on to play with the Blazers. Actually, I’m 99.9 percent sure that I would not be in Boston this season if Casey was not there.
You’ve played in the NLL now for 8 full seasons, and as your career has progressed, you’ve become one of those much-needed guys who are capable of dishing out lots of assists. How is that going to fit in with Boston’s current offense?
For me, I looked at this as a great situation; I get to play with CP and I feel that Boston has many great players and a very good shot to win a title. I feel that my game will mesh with the entire offense very well. I have always been a team guy and that will not change with the Blazers. Some nights I may need to get a few goals, and other nights I might get on the score sheet with a few assists, and in some games I might not get my name on the score sheet at all. I can honestly say that it doesn’t matter to me either way. I want to win a title. I will do what ever this team needs me to do; I’ll set picks and get ground balls and I can be happy in that role… as long as we win.
After losing games to Toronto and Rochester on consecutive nights, the Blazers must be itching to get back out on the floor and get a W. Is it going to be weird stepping into a charged atmosphere like that for what will be your first game in 2011?
It’s going to be crazy – great question! The players that I will be playing with (and facing) have training camp and 4 games under their belts, and I’m going into a double header weekend against some great competition in Philly and Rochester. Time to tighten up the laces and get ready to grind. I’m really looking forward to getting back out on the turf.
Why weren’t you signed earlier? Was everyone else taking crazy pills? Were you unsure if you wanted to play this year?
Okay, I’m going to bite my tongue and be very careful here. I’m not the type of guy that is going to throw anyone under the bus in an interview. I was ready to go and excited to compete in the 2011 season. Edmonton called me and simply told me that they were not going to re-sign me. It took me by surprise, but I feel very fortunate that Boston has given me an opportunity to play in the NLL this year.
It’s a different sports mentality there, even if the team is still relatively new. Are you looking forward to playing for a team in Boston?
In my time in the NLL, I have played in 4 different cities, and Boston will be my 5th. I think that it’s really cool to have the opportunity to play in the Garden and be back in the Eastern Division. My family lives in the Syracuse, NY area so they will be able to see me 3 or 4 times this season. That’s going to be really cool and I’m looking forward to seeing them at my games.
Who did you pick the box game up from? Did you play at all growing up? What was the transition to boxla like?
I started playing box lacrosse in HS. It was not box lacrosse like the NLL though – we played field rules in a hockey rink. My first exposure playing “real” box lacrosse was for the Buffalo Bandits after I graduated from Syracuse. The game is much different than field lacrosse and it has taken me a long time to learn the game. I continue to learn every time I step on the field. As for picking the game up I have always been like a sponge soaking up information from the top players since day 1 in the league. I been able to play with John Tavares, CP, Dan Dawson, Brodie Merrill and many other great players. I watch them play and picked up things that they do that make them successful and I also asked a lot of questions.
Did you go to MILL games back in the day? I know Carthage is far from… well… everything, but did you catch any pro box games as a kid?
I never watched a MILL game live when I was a young kid but I did see some games on TV. For me as a young kid it was all about field lacrosse and heading down to the Carrier Dome to check out the Orange. I’m sure I would have picked up on the indoor game a lot quicker if I did watch indoor games as a kid.
What should field players focus on most when learning the indoor game?
I think that I have mentioned this a few times in my previous answers. Be a student of the game. I have and still do take every advantage to watch the best players in the indoor game do the things that they do in games or practices that make them successful. I watch these players closely, and I ask questions. Young lacrosse players that want to be very good at the great game of lacrosse should find top notch players in their respective positions to look up to, and then watch for the things that make them the players they are.
Thanks for taking some time to chat with us, Ryan!!
Some Ryan Powell Highlights from his days with the Portland LumberJax: