No one has called Shawn Williams “Cal Ripken” yet, but the Buffalo Bandits’ forward is setting the standard for durability in his sport.
Williams played in his 200th consecutive game Saturday night. That extended his National Lacrosse League record.
“It’s a huge privilege to be in this league, let alone week in and week out,” Williams said. “You just knock on wood and keep going about your business.”
Williams already holds the league record for consecutive games played. He went past Colin Doyle and Steve Toll last year while playing in Edmonton when he participated in his 189th straight game.
By the way, Williams started his streak in 2000 ... as a member of the Bandits. It began after he suffered an injury earlier in the season. He suffered a broken orbital bone, forcing him to the injured list.
“It was in Pittsburgh. It was the weekend my first son was born, so it was 13 years ago,” Williams said. “I set a pick, turned around, and the ball was stuck in my mask. I think I missed a game or two. But since then, I’ve been in.”
Williams can’t even recall any close calls during the streak where he almost didn’t play any games.
“It’s not been without any bumps or bruises, but obviously you can’t do anything like this without a little luck,” he said.
By coincidence, Bandits assistant coach Rich Kilgour played in exactly 200 games in his professional career. He marvels at Williams’ ability to stay in the lineup.
“That’s incredible. You’re talking about going through every practice and game without stepping on a ball,” Kilgour said. “I played a long time. Even in prime years, every once in a while you get tweaked. Shawn has avoided that — even slipping on the ice at home.”
Williams had six assists in Saturday’s win over Philadelphia. That gives him 21 points in the team’s four games to lead the team.
Number 27 of the Wings certainly looked familiar to Bandits’ fans Saturday night. Kevin Buchanan was traded by Buffalo to Philadelphia in the offseason.
The forward had a goal and four assists Saturday night. That followed his performance in the season opener in which he had three goals and three assists against the Bandits.
“Kevin is really off to a good start,” Wings coach Johnny Mouradian said. “Everyone knows he’s got a real nice outside shot, he turns the corner, shoots the ball well. He’s blossoming as a player.
“Last year might have been just one of those years. They have good years and bad ones. We’re really happy with what he brings to our team.”
Another newcomer, Kevin Ross, also had a good night for the Wings on Saturday with four goals and two assists. Drew Westervelte and Jordan Hall had three goals each.
Mat Giles still hasn’t made his 2013 debut with the Bandits.
Kilgour says that day isn’t too far off.
“He hurt his quad right at the end of training camp,” he said. “He just started practicing about a week or so ago. He’s a good old vet. He’s a total professional. Even when he was out, he came to practice every night to make sure his stick was still on and ready to go when he could come back. He’s looked good.
“It will be another tough choice. When he comes back, someone else will have to be sent packing.”