By Sarah Bartlett-Cahill | 10/15/12 10:53 AM
One of MLL’s superstars, Kyle Hartzell, will be having a very busy off-season. Well, for him – it’s not much of an off-season at all. The Ohio Machine defenseman and MLL All-Star has already started playing in the Professional Lacrosse League, in its inaugural year, and will be joining the ranks of the National Lacrosse League for his fifth season later this fall.
Hartzell tells us that his former coach, Brian Duncan, had asked him to be part of the Jacksonville Bullies, one of six teams in the PLL, which began play this September. The Professional Lacrosse League developed out of the North American Lacrosse League and boasts six box, or indoor, teams in North Carolina, Florida, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Duncan, head coach of the Bullies, had coached Hartzell during his time at Community College Baltimore County at Essex and thought he’d be an asset to the team.
And an asset he has proven to be. Four games into the season Hartzell has scored 7 goals with 3 assists for 10 points, leading the Bullies to a 3-1 record. As the only PLL player who spent time on a National Lacrosse League team last season, Hartzell admits his experience gives him a bit of an upper-hand.
“I’ve had a lot of points in the first couple of games that I wouldn’t get in the NLL, and that’s because of all the transition turnovers in the league. But, the PLL is really competitive and the fact that it’s heavy in transition makes it a fun league.”
Hartzell adds that his experience also allows him the opportunity to mentor his teammates. Although the Bullies only practice once a week, such as the case in the NLL, Hartzell tries his best the help the guys out, and it seems to be paying off.
“I’ve really strived to help out as much as possible, and they seem to be picking it up quicker and quicker as the games go on.”
The same goes for the Jacksonville community, where his team –and the sport – are just starting to make their mark. Having been with the Ohio Machine for its inaugural season this past year, Hartzell is no stranger to playing in a new market. He tells us of the adversities facing the PLL, but is hopeful for the future of indoor lacrosse in Florida.
“The first game we had about 2,500 people. It’s been a challenge to market the game, as most people aren’t familiar with the indoor style of play. It’s going to take some time, but I really think the league will be successful in the years to come.”
Hartzell will do his part for the Professional Lacrosse League until November, when training camp for the NLL rolls around. Having been traded to the Philadelphia Wings in the October 1stdraft, the defenseman will be gearing up for his first season with the Wings next month. From there, he will be back with the Ohio Machine in April.
Although this may seem like a lot for one person to handle, Hartzell is not only willing, but excited for the challenge. In addition to playing in three professional lacrosse leagues this year, Hartzell will be focusing on his training initiative, Rogue Lacrosse, which offers camps, clinics, and lessons for youth players. Next month alone Rogue Lacrosse will be running two clinics in Charleston, South Carolina, as well as a Sunday fall ball program in Saratoga Springs, New York, which began this September.
As far as next season with the Machine is concerned, Hartzell is ready for another go. He is excited to get back on the field and give the Ohio fans something to cheer about.
No hesitations. As Hartzell puts it, “If I’m going to play lacrosse, I’m going to play.”
Hartzell, an MLL veteran, joined Major League Lacrosse in 2008 when he was drafted by the former San Francisco Dragons. He spent one season with the Dragons before moving to the Washington (now Chesapeake) Bayhawks, where he played for three years. Hartzell was then traded to the Ohio Machine for the 2012 season, in which he scored 11 goals with 9 two-point goals and 1 assist for 21 points. He holds a career total of 29 points and is a two-time MLL All-Star and Fastest Shot Champion, tied only with Paul Rabil at 111mph. Hartzell is also the only MLL defenseman to be named Championship Weekend MVP, which he earned during the Bayhawks’ 2010 Championship run.
About Major League Lacrosse
Major League Lacrosse (MLL), the premier professional outdoor lacrosse league, was founded by Jake Steinfeld and is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. Major League Lacrosse commenced play in June of 2001 and will enter its 13th season in 2013. MLL has continued to lead the sport of lacrosse into the mainstream of competitive team sports. The league is made up of eight teams: The Boston Cannons, Charlotte Hounds, Chesapeake Bayhawks, Denver Outlaws, Hamilton Nationals, Long Island Lizards, Ohio Machine and Rochester Rattlers.
The 2013 MLL Collegiate Draft will take place on January 11, 2013 in Philadelphia, PA. The 2013 season will commence on April 27, 2013. More information about the league can be found at www.majorleaguelacrosse.com, or on Facebook or Twitter @mll_lacrosse.