Maetche knows his stuff

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 12:34 PM ET

When Dwight Maetche talks, his teammates listen.

They pay attention not because he's such a commanding speaker or the type of guy who kicks over garbage cans and pushes somebody up against a wall to make his point.

Maetche deserves their attention out of respect. At 44 years of age, Maetche has hit the ceiling as far as being the eldest player in the National Lacrosse League.

In fact, he was around when the Heritage Cup was the biggest prize in lacrosse and present when the NLL was born.

He minded the twine in Philadelphia and then moved on to Charlotte, New York and Vancouver - franchises which folded far faster than Maetche's career.

As an original member of the South Edmonton lacrosse team, Maetche played in the 1979 Minto Cup before leaving his hometown to pursue opportunities in the senior league in B.C.

BACK IN THE CITY

Twenty-six years later, Maetche is back in the city, the senior statesman among the Edmonton Rush where he'll line up alongside his nephew Jordan Cornfield, 21 years his junior.

"I hope the guys don't just look at me because of my age but more for my love of the game," said Maetche, put through the paces of the Rush's first day of camp yesterday at Millennium Place.

"If money was a factor, I guess I picked the wrong sport.

''Right from Day 1, I played lacrosse because I loved the game - and I still love it.

''I'd still like to be in shape if I was playing or not, but I'm really looking forward to playing again because I still like to hang out with the guys.

"I'm still physically capable of playing and contributing.

''If I couldn't fulfil that aspect, it would probably be why I wouldn't keep playing."

What keeps Maetche able to play and so highly regarded among his peers is a ferocious dedication to his craft during the off-season.

This past summer, he not only aided the Victoria Shamrocks in their quest for the Mann Cup, he worked out with teammates once a week doing weight training, and combined that with his own trips to the gym along with games of squash and hockey.

NEVER FELT BETTER

"I've never felt better and it's allowed me to do what I'm doing today," said Maetche of his regimen.

"I've never really had any aches or pains or bad knees.

''Physically I feel great and a large part of that comes from the drive I have to play the game.

''And part of my motivation to keep playing is because now I can play in Edmonton.

''I left the city to pursue lacrosse and now it's come full circle. It's pretty funny that this is how it's going to end.

''But it's a nice twist and nice way to wrap things up."

Maetche, who previously played with both Rush coach Paul Day and director of operations A.J. Jomha, has put some pretty high expectations on his nephew in his first pro year.

"Jordan is big and he has skills and loves to crash the net," said Maetche. "He plays the game hard and is really a great team guy.

''He's certainly a lead-by-example guy."


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