Brotherly, but certainly not love

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:19 AM ET

Brotherly love is overrated. Just ask Tyler and Nolan Heavenor.

Sure they respect each other and admire each other's skills. But there's a lacrosse game to be won and that takes precedence over keeping peace in the family.

"I think our dad would love to see us go at it," said Nolan Heavenor, who brings the Minnesota Swarm into Edmonton tomorrow night to take on brother Tyler and the Rush.

It's been quite a while since the Heavenors went toe to toe. And even then it was as siblings, never as players on opposing teams.

They've played together so often in the past that squaring off against each other wasn't an issue until now.

The two helped the Victoria Shamrocks win the Mann Cup this past summer and even played a year of junior together.

They also both own a championship ring from the NCAA Division II ranks - Tyler at Adelphia College and, a year later, Nolan at Limestone College - but they never collided.

A meeting in the NLL is something different. This is the major league for lacrosse players and therefore the grudge match is on.

"I've got a lot of little-brother payback for 23 years of beating on me to dish out," said Nolan. "We haven't had any fisticuffs in some time, but if it needs to happen for us to win it will."

The last time the Heavenors butted heads was during a childhood frontyard showdown in Victoria. Nolan became so frustrated with Tyler's tactics that he cross-checked him into the side of dad Eric's truck. The result was a full-sprint chase down the street.

It's a scene that likely won't repeat itself on the floor of Rexall Place, but something close could ignite the rivalry again.

"If we happen to meet in front of the benches, that could be fun," said Tyler, who is two years Nolan's senior and 25 pounds heavier than Nolan.

"Nolan was constantly trying to battle with me growing up. A little birdie told me he's going to be a real pest on the floor. He's just another guy in a Swarm jersey, but if he starts something with a guy on my team ...

"We're best friends and each other's No. 1 fans, but not on Friday."

For the Rush, the encounter is yet another must-win game. They looked fragile a week ago when they were spanked by the Toronto Rock.

"We need to grow our beards and treat this like a playoff game," said Tyler. "We need to play with a sense of urgency. We have to come up with a win and Minnesota is a team that we should feel confident against."


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