February 5, 2014

Colorado's Casey Powell and the Fountain of Youth

by Neil Stevens | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter 

Powell had a huge nine-point night for Colorado in his season debut this weekend. (NLL.com archive photo by Scott Pierson)

Casey Powell hadn't pulled on a Colorado jersey in 280 days, which makes what he did last Saturday night quite remarkable.

The 37-year-old forward scored three goals and assisted on six in helping the Mammoth defeat Minnesota 14-12 in front of 15,000 frenzied fans in Denver's Pepsi Centre.

''I'm going to find the fountain of youth he has because I wouldn't mind getting it,'' head coach Bob Hamley said afterwards. ''He didn't go through training camp and he comes out and does what he does. It's a testament to what he is _ he's a hall of famer, he's Casey Powell.''

Hamley might be right about that fountain. Once upon a time, circa 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon led an expedition that wound up in a place he called Florida. There'd been a rumor in Europe that waters that restored vitality were located thereabouts. Legend has it that old Juan started looking for this Fountain of Youth to stop him from aging. He may have found it, or not.

Powell lives in Florida so, as Hamley suggests, maybe he's found it. He'd laugh at that. He keeps himself in shape with physical exercise rather than mythical waters.

''I play a lot of basketball and I run a lot on the beach,'' he said during an interview two days after his 2014 debut. ''I didn't know if I'd be in good enough shape. I started to get tired in the second quarter but my conditioning kicked back in during the third quarter. I feel pretty good (Monday).''

The leading American scorer in pro box lacrosse history stayed in Denver to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday night before flying home. Now he's packing a bag for a cross-continent trip to Vancouver for the Mammoth's game Saturday against the Stealth.

He'll be wearing 22 on his back again. He wore 2 last year. The Mammoth gave him 22 an hour before the win over the Swarm after deciding his return was a big enough event to bring the number once worn by Gary Gait out of retirement. In their NCAA days, Powell followed Gait wearing 22 at Syracuse. There was a touching video montage Saturday, featuring Gait saying he wanted Powell to wear the 22, before Powell went out and earned first-star honors.

''The crowd went nuts,'' Powell said of the pre-game buzz.

His work on the right side with leftie John Grant Jr. was sensational. On a decisive late Grant goal, Powell sent an over-the-back pass accurately into the pocket of Grant's stick at the front of the crease.

''If I don't have anything (to shoot at) I can look over to get the ball to John. I took a peak and there he was. He had one hand on his stick and he gave me a target. I hit it and he rolled away from his check real quick.''

The Mammoth will need that type of chemistry to continue, especially with Adam Jones going down for four to six weeks with a separated shoulder. Jones is leading the league in scoring with 25 goals.

''That's a tough one,'' says Powell. ''They won without myself and Drew Westervelt in Calgary a couple of weeks ago so we've just got to continue to get wins.''

While he isn't flying all over the continent, or visiting the Fountain of Youth, Powell works with a company known as LB3 running lacrosse camps and clinics throughout the south.

''Lacrosse is spreading like crazy down here,'' he tells a northern caller. ''There are more and more players all the time. Enthusiasm for the sport is at an all-time high.''

He'll play for the new Major League Lacrosse team in Boca Raton, the Florida Launch, which opens its season April 26.

''I think the team will be an inspiration for further growth of the sport in Florida,'' he says. ''We're very optimistic about it. It's fun to be part of the growth of lacrosse down here.''

He might play in the 2015 world indoor tournament in the Syracuse region and in Buffalo.

''I may give that a shot if I'm continuing to play well,'' he says.

But his thoughts are on the Mammoth right now. He turns 38 on Feb. 18. If he helps them win the Champion's Cup in May, we can all concede that he has a cabana next to that Fountain of Youth.

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