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Bandits notebook: Getting closer to the season

Lacrosse sticks were seen in the First Niagara Center on Saturday. It was kind of nice to see the building host sports activity, if you know what I mean.

The Bandits hosted free agent tryouts during the day, including workouts and a scrimmage. Many draft choices turned out for the session. Coach Darris Kilgour had his first chance to see how they looked in that setting. Interestingly, ex-Bandit Kyle Schmelze was there as well. It is to his credit that he'd show up at an event like that, even though his talents are obviously well-known to the coaching staff.

There was someone missing. Equipment manager John Craig reportedly has retired from his position after 15 years with the team.

Craig was one of the unsung heroes, frequently driving ridiculous distances to do his job at all hours of the day or night in sason. Talk about bleeding orange - when the Bandits won a title in 2008, he had a tattoo of the Cup put on his body as a tribute.

And on a personal note, John might have been the first person I met when I took over the Bandits' beat in December 2008. He was friendly on the first day, and friendly on the last. To say that his personality will be missed, by me and everyone else around the team, is an understatement. Good luck to him.

--- Budd Bailey

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