Is there a player who flies under the radar in lacrosse more than Ryan Ward? That’s not to say he’s without praise, for those who know his game understand just how much he does. But for a fella who so consistently and powerfully does what he does, there’s not a lot of hoopla directed his way. And that’s a shame, because this right-handed forward out of Victoria is one of the game’s most consistent producers and in the 3 National Lacrosse League cities he’s played in, he’s done nothing less than bring an impressive brand of offense without asking for anything in return.
This top 40 list is based primarily on accomplishments of the most reason seasons, whether it’s NLL or MSL or WLA. But in the NLL alone, Ward’s certainly got game.
And he’s done it in the NLL just about every time he’s been asked, missing just 2 regular-season games over the last 7 seasons. That was the case this past year in Edmonton, where he played all 16 games and was second on the team in scoring with 57 points (19 goals, 38 assists). Considering he’s averaging 60 points a season, doesn’t that just fit right in with the consistency label? How he does it is no secret.
He’s fundamentally sound and takes care of the ball which is a good thing, lest the kids he coaches at Eden Prairie High in Minnesota catch their coach not practicing what he preaches. But back to the indoor game, Ward’s presence in Edmonton had been lacking in playoff polish because, well, because the Rush hadn’t been much of a playoff team. But when the team made its run to the 2012 Champion’s Cup game, Ward didn’t miss a beat in leading the Rush with 21 points (10-11) in 3 games before Edmonton lost in the final to Rochester.
Perhaps he drew on the memories of winning Mann Cups with Victoria in 2003 and 2005. Maybe it was a recollection of leading Minnesota to its first playoff appearance in 2006.
Whatever it was that sparked him, he put on a display for the Rush and their fans, along with the rest of the lacrosse world, that this former No. 3 overall draft pick of the Philadelphia Wings has plenty of game left in his tank, and that game is one of the most consistent in the NLL.
Top 40 (last year’s rank in parenthesis)
No. 40: Jeff Gilbert (not ranked)
No. 39: Kevin Crowley (nr)
No. 38: Kevin Ross (nr)
No. 37: Adam Jones (nr)
No. 36: Jordan MacIntosh (nr)
No. 35: Paul Rabil (30)
No. 34: Tyler Richards (17)
No. 33: Scott Ranger (nr)
No. 32: Chris White (20)
No. 31: Sandy Chapman (15)
No. 30: Aaron Bold (nr)
No. 29: Jeff Moleski (10)
No. 28: Andrew Suitor
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