April 6, 2009
By Larry Watts
Joel Dalgarno refuses to look ahead.
With only a handful of matches remaining before the Great Western Lacrosse League Playoffs, it would be easy for the Ohio State senior attackman to think about the upcoming professional drafts. The Major Lacrosse League (outdoors) will be conducting its draft May 27 while the National Lacrosse League (indoors) will hold its draft in September.
"It's been my dream to play professional lacrosse," Dalgarno says, "but for now I am only focused on what I can do to help Ohio State win."
The Port Coquitlam, British Columbia native has been doing his fair share to help the Buckeyes win during the past four seasons. With 203 points, he has already locked up second place on the Buckeyes' all-time scoring list. One of 30 finalists nationwide for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, he stands second in career goals (114) and third in assists (89).
"To be honest, I don't look at any of those records," he says. "If I can help my team win by scoring points, then I'm happy to do that. If I score a goal or get an assist, I know there are other guys on the field helping me do that. I know this is a team effort."
Dalgarno made an instant impact at Ohio State as a freshman, when he was named the GWLL Newcomer of the Year. He has scored at least a point in every match during his career, except against North Carolina last year.
"But we won the match and that was the most important thing," he says. "Our team played an unbelievable game."
According to Dalgarno, "I've had a stick in my hands, either lacrosse or hockey, since I was a baby. Hockey was my first love, but as I got older I knew lacrosse would be my best chance of getting a scholarship."
Dalgarno was raised on playing box (indoor) lacrosse. Box lacrosse, which Canada adopted as its national summer sport in 1994, has five field players (compared to nine in the outdoor game) and is primarily played in indoor rinks when the ice is removed.
"It's a very different game than playing field lacrosse," he says. "There are a couple of different rules and there's more intensity because you're in close quarters. It's pretty aggressive and there's a lot of fighting involved. Growing up playing hockey has helped me in the physical aspects the sport presents."
During the summer, Dalgarno plays club lacrosse with the Maple Ridge Burrards in the Western Lacrosse Association. His brother Austin, who is two years older, plays in the same league with the Langley Thunder.
"I really don't have a favorite between the two styles of lacrosse," he says. "I like the flow of the outdoor game and the ability to set up plays. I enjoy the openness and freedom to operate."
In order to sharpen his game and pursue a college scholarship, Dalgarno left his high school in Port Coquitlam, a 30-minute drive from Vancouver, to play both lacrosse and junior hockey at Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, Ohio for his final two years.
"It was very tough leaving home," he says. "But my family and friends were all very supportive and it turned out to be a good transition because
Western Reserve had a tremendous support staff and there were other Canadians in my dorm.
The decision to come to Western Reserve Academy paid off in a number of college opportunities. Dalgarno took visits to Stony Brook (N.Y.), Loyola (Md.) and Hofstra, but the lure of playing on the East Coast didn't measure up to what Ohio State had to offer.
"The coaching staff, the chemistry of the players, the facilities and what Ohio State stands for with its tradition was just something I couldn't pass up," he says. "I knew right off the bat I wanted to come here."
The fact Ohio State has had a number of Canadian players come through its system was an added bonus. Dalgarno is one of four players from north of the border currently on the Buckeye roster.
"I think we give the team a good mix," he says. "We add a little diversity to the lineup with our backgrounds and it gives us a chance to change the pace of the game with our unique style of play."
When he does manage to get back home, Dalgarno likes to take advantage of the beaches in the summer and the ski slopes during the winter.
"I basically grew up on a mountain and I've been skiing since I was little," he says. "I really got into snowboarding about eight years ago, but the coaches don't know that.
"I plan on eventually going back to live in the Vancouver area. All my friends and family are back there and I really enjoy the all-around aspects of life back there."
But before he can return to his roots, there are still a few matters to take care of in the United States. Right at the top of his list is completing his degree in consumer affairs.
"I still have to come back and take a few courses next fall," he says. "I never did any summer school because I had to work and play lacrosse. But I plan on coming back to Ohio State next fall to help coach the players during the offseason."
Due to the state of the economy, Dalgarno isn't looking forward to using his degree for a career in sales. He is even toying with the idea of becoming a firefighter back home.
"My brother just completed his training school and it's something he really enjoys and something my father has enjoyed," he says. "I have some friends who are firefighters and they have nothing but good things to say about it. The idea of helping people on a day-to-day basis is something that appeals to me."
But there's also the matter of those two lacrosse drafts on the horizon.
"I really don't know about my chances of getting drafted," he says. "If one league drafts me, I'll be very excited. I'd like to get a chance to play in both leagues. But for now, I'm just trying not to think about anything but finishing out this season in the right way."