Powell a border crasher

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 9:11 AM ET

Ryan Powell might be the only American player on the Edmonton Rush, but he's far from feeling singled out.

As for lacrosse being an official Canadian sport, he's quick to point out to any of his teammates exactly who won the IIHF World Junior championships earlier this month.

Besides, Powell doesn't have much left to prove to anybody as he enters his ninth season in the Naitonal Lacrosse League.

"I'm really excited about playing here with coach (Derek) Keenan. This will be my sixth year with him," said Powell, who played under Keenan in Anaheim as well as the Portland LumberJax. "To be reunited with him is something that I'm excited about, as well as the other LumberJax players that came over."

In all, there are six former Portland players who have come to the Rush this season after their former organization dropped out of the league.

"That's made the transition really nice," Powell said. "But all in all, just the guys who have been here in the past are great guys and I think our team's going to be good."

Success this season will mean not only bettering the franchise's best year -- a 6-10 record from 2007 -- but also earning a previously unattainable playoff position.

But off-season moves have perhaps positioned the Rush for even greater potential.

"I think the management and coach did a great job of assembling the team that we believe we can win," Powell said. "We have a good shot at winning this thing. That's the confidence we have.

"Combine great leadership with great players, I think that great things can happen."

One thing's for sure, this is the first team Powell's played on without a fellow American teammate.

"It is different, for sure, but I am part of a team," he said. "I have quite a commute coming through customs and everything like that, but it makes for some fun as well. I'm going to bring up who won the junior hockey title to these guys in the locker-room."

Growing up in Watertown, N.Y., lacrosse wasn't the most popular sport out there.

"Indoor lacrosse certainly isn't," said Powell, who was drafted to the NLL out of Syracuse. "I've played field lacrosse my whole life and didn't really know anything about the (indoor) game, so it's been a learning experience and I still feel like I go out there and learn at practices and learn from other guys."

GERRY.MODDEJONGE@SUNMEDIA.CA


Photos