A 'SWARMING' FAN BASE IN MINNESOTA
With three seasons now under their belts, Minnesota Swarm fans have come to embrace the game of professional indoor lacrosse. Most were completely new to the sport when the team arrived in January 2005. Three seasons have turned new fans trying to learn the game into 'The Hive', a fan following that's both knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Hive members offer their thoughts from a new fan's perspective.
Steve Jensen, 56, lives near St. Paul and works as a Machinist. He's been a season ticket holder for all three seasons, and normally brings his son, daughter and one of their friends to the game. Steve has four season tickets just up from the faceoff circle, about halfway up the lower bowl.
"The thing about the game I like best is the stick work", said Jensen. "The fast pace and hitting are great as well, but to me, the stick work is just unbelievable. I can't imagine being a goalie and standing in there in front of (Rochester forward) John Grant, when he has the ball and starts doing his fakes."
Who is the Swarm's biggest rival? "Right now it's definitely Buffalo. We seem to have the toughest time with them. We get amped for all the Eastern teams, Rochester, Toronto and Philly". Steve is also excited about a new rival in Chicago. "I see us developing a good rivalry with the Shamrox. It's just beginning."
The Swarm have made the playoffs in each of the past two seasons. In both years, they lost at Buffalo in the Divisional Semifinal. Minnesota is 0-4 all time against Buffalo at home and 1-9 against them all time including playoffs.
We also asked which opposing players draw the most ire of Swarm fans. "I'd have to say (Buffalo defenseman) Kyle Laverty is number one right now. (Philadelphia transition player) Geoff Snider hasn't played here yet, but I'm sure he'll get up there quickly", laughed Jensen. "(Mark) Steenhuis and (Josh) Sanderson are up there too. They always seem to have big games when they come here".
What's been the best moment of the three seasons of lacrosse at the Xcel Energy Center? "The big comeback win over Toronto in 2006 was the best. We were down 9-2 in the third quarter. As a former lacrosse goalie myself, I know that you're never completely out of it even when the score is that lopsided. Some fans were headed to the exits, but I knew we had a shot. The guys just kept chipping away, and won the game 10-9."