CALGARY, AB — Many athletes had their dreams come true at the 2015 NLL Draft.
For Tyson Bell getting drafted was enough, but the fact that the Calgary Roughnecks at selected him 24th overall meant more.
“I love this, it’s a great feeling. It felt great,” an overjoyed Bell said. “I’ve got family out that way. It’s the whole feeling of being drafted, having it not be too late in the draft. It’s like a dream come true.”
Bell had talked with Roughnecks GM Mike Board and coach Curt Malawsky prior to the draft, but had no idea they were interested in taking him.
They clearly liked what the 6’2” defenceman out of Onondaga Community College could bring to the floor.
Bell led the Lazers defence, which led the nation with a 3.11 goals against average, to two consecutive NJCAA National Championships. In doing so, he was honoured with being named the 2015 Mid-State Athletic Conference Player of the Year Award.
Despite his abilities as a shutdown defensemen, Bell realizes that as he moves to the pro-game he may need to adapt his game to the higher level.
“I’m a stay at home defence man, but as I learn more about the systems, I think I would have to transition my game to be more of a transitional player,” he said.
“Growing up I’ve always had that mentality of getting the ball, bringing it up the floor, and setting things up. But also to be tenacious with the game. With the way the league is going, everything is sped up and I think I need to transition to the level of the game.”
With the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship taking place on the Onondaga Nation, Bell had a chance to watch some of the best players in the world — including Calgary’s Curtis Dickson, Shawn Evans, Jeff Shattler, Mike Poulin, and Tyson Roe.
Now, he’ll have the opportunity to play alongside those stars.
“Especially just watching the Worlds with Team Canada winning the gold, watching Curtis Dickson and Shawn Evans, it’s going to be an honour to play with those guys,” Bell said. “Hopefully my transitional game, bringing it down the floor, I can pick up some points throwing it to those guys.”
He’ll have the chance to do just that when he arrives in Calgary for training camp.
Bell’s goal is to make the team in camp, but he admits that there is plenty to learn before he will be ready for the NLL.
“I hope to make the roster, but there is more things that I need to improve on,” he said. “Coming out of junior lacrosse and playing with guys that age, moving to the top league, there will be a lot to learn.”
With family in Calgary, making the move west will not be as difficult for the young lacrosse player. Though he has not spent much time here, he is very excited to come and see what the city is all about.
“My dad’s brother lives out there actually.” Bell said. “I didn’t get to do a whole lot of sightseeing there, but for the time I was there, it was really nice.
“I can’t wait to come out.”