It can be hard to stand out as a defender at the best of times. When you’re playing for a Junior A team as deep as the 2012 Minto Cup champion Orangeville Northmen, alongside the likes of defender of the year Jason Noble, it can be even harder. So if you want to be spotted it’s not a bad idea to have long red hair flowing out the back of your helmet. But if you’re a connoisseur of defensive lacrosse, you don’t need the telltale flow to notice Hayden Smith. The big lefty makes himself visible in ways large and small. The large includes being ready to drop the mitts when necessary and showing the skills to be able to take care of himself. The small is particularly identifiable by the growing annoyance his opponents demonstrate through the course of a game.
Smith is a master at getting under your skin. The chirp, the chip, the chop: he’s got the whole arsenal. He’s far more than just a pest, though. Smith is a strong, physical defender who knows how to play the game. He has excellent footwork in the defensive zone and knows when to go for the big hit. He’ll grab a bucket of loose balls for you and won’t hesitate to take off up the floor. One year in Jr B in his native Owen Sound Smith scored 15 goals and 42 points in 18 games, so he’s not at a loss when he gets into the offensive zone, either.
To sum up, he’s big, strong, tough, smart, skilled and passionate. Exactly the kind of guy you want on your team. On October 1 an NLL GM will be pleased to get the chance to pass a slip of paper to league officials making Smith a part of his team. Even in the ultra-competitive nine-team NLL, don’t be surprised if he earns a spot with that team this winter.
From: Owen Sound
Junior A or box experience: Orangeville Jr A Northmen, 2 years
What do you feel your greatest asset is that would allow you to translate your game to the NLL? My speed and defensive capabilities
One word to describe your game? Physical
What role/position do you see yourself playing in the NLL? Defence
What current or former NLLer would you most closely compare or model your game after? Phil Sanderson of the Toronto Rock
Your greatest accomplishment during your lacrosse career? Winning the Minto Cup championship with the Orangeville Northmen
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