Home, sweet home

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:31 AM ET

Jon Harasym has played for four teams in three seasons in the National Lacrosse League but would certainly find himself welcome on a hometown team.

The Sherwood Park product has a comfortable setup living in Brampton, Ont. He plays in the summer and works on the city maintenance crew, which leaves him enough free time to suit up for the NLL's Buffalo Bandits in the winter. But with an NLL expansion franchise about to set up shop here next season, Harasym could be interested.

"If the opportunity arose for the chance to come back to Edmonton, I'd welcome it," said Harasym, the second overall pick in the NLL draft in 2002.

"It'd be sort of weird because growing up I had to move away to play lacrosse so it would be nice to play in front of family and friends again."

IMPRESSIVE NUMBERS

Despite Harasym's frequent change of address within the NLL, the 25-year-old forward has put up impressive numbers, notching 53 points in 37 games with Columbus (now Arizona), Rochester, Minnesota and Buffalo.

If the Edmonton franchise were to pursue Harasym, he would have to be acquired either through a trade or if left exposed during the expansion draft. The same goes for another Sherwood Park native, Jimmy Quinlan.

While the Toronto Rock forward's mind is pre-occupied with thoughts of next Saturday's Champions Cup final, coming home to play might be an attractive option for the 23-year-old.

"I'd definitely be interested. It all depends on whether Toronto would leave me unprotected or not," said Quinlan.

Quinlan made the rookie maximum of $6,500 US for this past season with the Rock (with playoff pay still to come), while teammate and fellow Park product Blaine Manning is among the highest-paid shooters in the league. He finished in a tie for second in the league's regular-season scoring derby by racking up 39-66-105 in 16 games. The average salary is $12,000 with the top players scoring $19,500. Each team can designate two franchise players who can earn 15-20% above the league max, taking them to $23,000 US.

Clearly no one's getting rich toiling in the NLL, but Manning has established himself at a brokerage firm in downtown Toronto.

"Promotion is the key thing," Manning offered as sage advice to the NLL newcomers. "You have to get people to come down to see it for a first time. Once you get them in once, they'll be hooked."

It's a pretty safe bet that the Calgary Roughnecks won't leave Edmontonians Devin and Taylor Wray unprotected, although both are keen to see the pro game succeed in their hometown.

JOE BLOW

"Part of the beauty of this game is that Joe Blow off the street who's never seen it before can come in and fall in love with it right away," said Devin Wray.

"Growing up in Edmonton, seeing a team there would sort of be a dream come true but I'm pretty tied to Calgary and it would be tough to jump ship," said Taylor Wray, who earned rookie of the year and shared the defensive player of the year honours last season.


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