‘Tucker Out Lymphoma Night’ takes center stage for Buffalo Bandits, plus the links

Shawn Williams is trying to help the Bandits win while also helping his son battle lymphoma. (Photo: Bill Wippert)
Shawn Williams is trying to help the Bandits win while also helping his son battle lymphoma. (Photo: Bill Wippert)

Emotions will be plenty on Saturday night when the Buffalo Bandits return home after a 3-game road swing to play the Calgary Roughnecks. For one, the Bandits lost all 3 of those road games to fall from 8-2 and first place in the National Lacrosse League’s East Division to 8-5 and second place. But as important as we’d like to think that is, there will be something of much greater importance to focus on: The health of Bandits forward Shawn Williams’ son. Earlier this season, Tucker Williams, 8, was diagnosed with Stage III Burkitt’s Lymphoma and the response from the NLL world was nothing short of amazing. That effort continues Saturday night with “Tucker Out Lymphoma Night,” where a variety of events will take place to help raise funds and awareness for the Williams family. “It’s very overwhelming,” Williams told Bandits.com. “The support that Buffalo, Southern Ontario and the Bandits are doing for Tucker and our family is very overwhelming … We cannot say thank you enough.”

The list of events and auctions is impressive. It starts with a special ticket offer where $15 tickets to the 300 level at First Niagara Center will see $5 of each sale go to the cause. The Bandits will be wearing “Braver Than Brave” jerseys in the first half, and their second-half jerseys will be available in an auction starting April 6. “Braver Than Brave” t-shirts will also be sold at the team store, with proceeds going to the family.

In addition, lacrosse players from across the U.S. and Canada have donated various personal items for auction, including an autographed John Tavares 2009 NLL All-Star jersey, an autographed Paul Rabil 2011 NLL All-Star jersey, Reebok gloves signed by the entire 2014 Bandits team and other NLL All-Star jerseys signed by Tracey Kelusky, Colin Doyle, Gee Nash and Garrett Billings.

The list doesn’t end there, and you can see the entire stockpile of items here. Some auctions will be on-line and others will be during the game on Saturday, so be sure to read carefully so you don’t miss out on a chance to get an item that’s caught your eye. But most of all, don’t miss out on the chance to help out for a great cause.

plus the links

Garrett Billings will play in his old stomping grounds on Saturday when the Toronto Rock visit the Vancouver Stealth in Langley, B.C. And while Billings loves seeing an NLL team in the city where he grew up, he has no plans to leave the Rock. “That situation for me in Toronto is as good as it gets. I don’t see me ever playing anywhere in the NLL other than Toronto,” he said. (The Province) … The Stealth have been without team captain Kyle Sorensen since mid-February because of a lower body injury. He’s played just 3 games this season but looked fluid in warmups before the Buffalo game last weekend and could be in Saturday’s lineup, pending evaluation by team doctors. (The Province) … The Rochester Knighthawks weren’t pleased with their all-around effort in last weekend’s loss to Edmonton, and they’ll have plenty of opportunities to clean it up with a double-header this weekend against the Minnesota Swarm. “We have to clean things up on both sides of the ball. Edmonton was really good, made us do a lot of things we haven’t done in the past,” said coach Mike Hasen. (Democrat and Chronicle) … The Toronto Rock moved defenseman Cam Woods to the active roster and shifted Mike Lum-Walker to the practice roster to make room … The 3-10 Minnesota Swarm certainly have their proverbial backs against the wall in an effort to save their season, but they insist they haven’t folded up the tents. “All we need to do is focus on our strengths. I know what they are, our players believe in what they are, we just need to put it all together for 60 minutes,” said coach Joe Sullivan. (Minnesota Swarm) …  The Colorado Mammoth are on the road to try to do what no one else in the NLL has been able to do this season: Beat the Edmonton Rush. “You get to step up against the team who’s obviously putting together the best season so far and see where you stack up. That’s kind of what sports are all about, and I’m looking forward to it, and I think it’s going to be fun. There’s a saying that says ‘the bigger they are, the harder they fall’,” said forward Athan Iannucci. (Colorado Mammoth) … The Philadelphia Wings have won 2 straight to get themselves back into the playoff race and hope to maintain that momentum with the Calgary Roughnecks in town this weekend. “We need to keep running the floor with our transition game. It has injected energy into our game and has allowed us more opportunities on offense. Sticking to our fundamentals will allow us to compete,” said coach Blane Harrison. (Philadelphia Wings) … The 13-0 record is nice, but the Rush are nowhere near where they want to be as the Colorado Mammoth come to town. “We have our eye on a bigger prize and there is a long way to go until we get there … a lot of hills to climb still,” said coach/GM Derek Keenan. (Edmonton Rush).

Chavez is an avid lacrosse player in Rochester and a journalist for the Democrat and Chronicle as well as a longtime Inside Lacrosse contributor. Email him at bob.chavez@nllinsider.com or go to RochesterSports.com.

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