New England Lacrosse Journal - April 2017 - 8
By Scott Souza
Major League Lacrosse
JOSH HAWKINS THOUGHT IT
was all coming together.
It was midway through the 2015 season when the Boston Cannons traded for
the Amherst, Mass., native and former
Deerfield Academy star. He was coming back to New England to a franchise
back on the rise after a couple of down
seasons. He was joining forces with former Loyola (Md.) teammate Scott Ratliff.
He was going to be playing under one of
the great offensive minds in the sport in
Cannons coach John Tucker.
It looked like a situation with boundless potential.
And it started out that way, too. With
the help of Hawkins' injection of energy
and athleticism, the Cannons made it
back to the Major League Lacrosse playoffs and within an overtime goal of advancing to the MLL title game.
"It was great," Hawkins said. "It was
easy to come into the organization. It was
easy to come into the locker room and be
with the guys, and have that relationship
Only it didn't last.
At least not on the same upward trajectory of continuity and cohesion like it
Davey Emala stresses the importance of
focusing on the little things, especially early.
appeared it would in Hawkins' first two
months on the team.
Shortly after the 2015 season, it was
announced Tucker was leaving to run the
show of the expansion Atlanta Blaze franchise. Shortly after that, Ratliff was traded
to his new hometown team in Georgia.
The Cannons did their best to mitigate
the losses, including hiring a spirited and
accomplished new leader in former Endi-
cott College coach Sean Quirk (Cheshire,
Conn.), but it took time to get back up to
the speed at which the team was humming at the end of the previous season.
By the time the Cannons did that last
summer, it was just a little bit too late.
"You see the importance of every game,
every quarter, every possession," attack
Davey Emala said of the squad that lost
out on a playoff berth in a tiebreaker. "We
didn't value the ball as much as we needed
to early in the season last year. It took us
a while to get into our groove. We worked
it out moving forward. But the way we
played earlier kept us out of the playoffs."
The hope coming into training camp
is that this season the Cannons are in
position to take the best of the past two
seasons and roll it all together into one
Boston brings back the bulk of
its roster from last year, Quirk has
a full year of experience coaching at the professional level,
and Tucker is back in the fold as
the new offensive coordinator, as
the team gets ready for its season opener
April 22 at the Florida Launch.
"I think we're in a really good place
right now," veteran midfielder Kevin Buchanan said. "Coach Quirk does a great
job. It's really good to have Coach Tucker
back on the staff as well. Moving forward,
I think we're going to have a lot of consistency. That's nice. That's what you need
year in and year out."
As one of only two players on the roster
- along with defenseman Mitch Belisle
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8 NEW ENGLAND LACROSSE JOURNAL April 2017
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