Catching up on a few notes from my vacation week; it seems like the Bandits are always doing things when I'm away ...
* Mike Thompson keeps playing his final game, but this time it looks like he means it. The veteran, who retired from Bandits' play earlier this summer, won a summer championship in Canada this year. Now he's playing his last game on Saturday in the Bowhunter Cup in Rochester. It's a matchup of Team USA and the Iroquois Nationals. You can get more information at bandits.com.
It is an understatement to say Mikey will be missed. When I showed up to start covering the team at the start of the 2009 season, Thompson made me feel welcome immediately. He always seemed to have a smile on his face, and he kept it there for the next four years. I talked to him on good days and bad ones, and he was always cooperative. No matter what happens from here, he'll be remembered fondly by those who spent time around the Bandits.
* The National Lacrosse League is coming to Montreal, at least for one night. Rochester and Toronto will play a preseason game there on December 15.
This is a great idea. The league needs to be in some new markets, and Montreal perhaps only trails Vancouver as a logicial fit for the league. Montreal had a team in the NLL before, but it didn't work out. Still, interest in the game in Canada is strong, and the league really should look north for expansion candidates.
* I'm obviously late to the party when it comes to the Bandits' choices in the NLL Draft. Dhane Smith was the team's first pick, and by all accounts he was a good one. Smith is said to be a superb athlete at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds. It's just a matter of determining whether he should play offense or defense from the start. And in case he gets into trouble, cousin Billy Dee Smith will be around. I can't think of a better guardian angel.
I don't claim to have any special knowledge of the Bandits' picks. I think of them along the lines of Sabre draft choices -- at some point we'll find out if they can help, but it may take a while. Still, Buffalo had plenty of picks, particularly in the second round, and philosophically I like the odds when a good number of fresh, athletic bodies show up. We'll see how this works out.
Meanwhile, good luck to Hamburg's Joe Resetarits, who went sixth in the draft to Calgary.
--- Budd Bailey