ROOKIE REWIND WITH WAYNE VAN EVERYAug 18, 2017
(August 18, 2017)… Wayne Van Every finally got his big break in 2017. After attending two previous training camps, the lefty forward made the most of his opportunity with the Rochester Knighthawks.
The Six Nations product was one of the surprises of the preseason, which was good enough to land him on the Knighthawks’ 20-man active roster to start the 2017 National Lacrosse League season. On Dec. 29, 2016, his nearly seven-year wait finally ended as he made his professional lacrosse debut.
“Coming out of the tunnel for the first time gave me butterflies galore,” he said. “But all the emotions disappeared once the game got going. I will never forget that feeling.”
That night, Van Every – who was drafted in 2010 by the Buffalo Bandits – scored his first pro goal in his NLL debut. The rookie would go on to collect points in three of his four games. In this version of the Rookie Rewind,
Van Every recaps his amazing first season of pro lacrosse.
How excited were you when you signed with the Knighthawks on Nov. 17?
I was more or less shocked when I got the call that I was going to the main camp with the team. After a few days, I was excited and couldn't wait to get to camp.
Was training camp everything you expected?
I didn't know what to expect going into camp. I've been to a few camps before, but know every team is different. Camp went as expected; it was tough, tiring, but fun.
After years of trying to make an NLL roster, how did it feel to start the season on the active roster?
It was surreal to start on the active roster. I didn't really believe it when I saw my name on the active roster.
How did it feel to score your first pro goal?
I didn't know it went in at first. I just shot around a screen and saw the light come on. I had an automatic smile. There is no better feeling.
What players did you learn from the most this season?
I've learned a lot from “Jammer” (Cody Jamieson), Sid (Smith) and “Gussy” (Angus Goodleaf), too. We drove to Rochester and to the airports together all the time, and we would talk lacrosse. Just listening to those guys talk about the game, I learned a lot. But I would have to say Jammer helped me out the most. He took me under his wing, teaching me the in and outs of the league.
What was the biggest adjustment you had to make as a rookie?
The biggest thing was being mentally tough and trying not to force things that weren't there.
How did you get the nickname, “Wizzle?”
I've had so many nicknames growing up, but Wizzle was a name I've had since high school and it pretty much stuck. I'm the ‘Wizz.’
What are you working on this summer to prepare for the 2018 season?
I just keep working hard on and off the floor because there is always room for improvement. I am also getting a few hard months of training in before camp starts.