Photos by Scobel Wiggins – UltiPhotos.com
The Vancouver Nighthawks are proud to announce that they have re-signed two more important cogs from last year’s team, Andy Collins and Mark Leduc.
Andy’s a big play guy. He’s got a big flick, he makes huge grabs, and comes up with big D’s at key times. He’s also a guy that gives our team confidence and makes sure everyone’s having a good time. I’m glad he’s coming back for another season. – Head coach and GM Andrew Lugsdin
37-year-old offensive cutter Andy Collins had a solid season last year, scoring 12 goals and 7 assists, but wants to improve on that this year.
His age and experience give him a calm perspective that rubs off on his teammates. For this season he wants his team to concentrate on one key factor.
“I think consistency is the key. Last year was great and all, but I have always been a huge proponent of winning, and we need to do more of that. I know that management and coaches will get the best team we can on paper, but once it’s game time it’s up to the players to step up and do their jobs.”
“This year I hope we can have a higher level of consistency. Last season we had some very high level moments of play, but didn’t manage to carry it through a full game, much less a full season.”
“This year I know we will be better.”
Collins is unique among his teammates in not living in Vancouver. He lives in the Okanagan in the BC Interior, meaning it’s a round trip of almost 900 kilometres from home to game or practice and back. That’s dedication!
“Being an out of town player, the thing I look forward to the most is being back with my friends competing. The core of this team is so eclectic, but I have made lifelong friends in this sport and many of them are on the Nighthawks.”
“Personally, I just hope I can contribute. I would love to have a bigger leadership role with the team, but I always come ready to play whatever role I’m asked. That’s not gonna change!”
Leduc is a very dynamic player — he’s got great speed and a nose for the end zone. To be blunt, we need more of that kind of player on the Nighthawks. I’m hopeful that we can get even more production out of Mark this year as he gets more comfortable in our system and we get better at using his tools. – Head coach and GM Andrew Lugsdin
27-year-old offensive cutter Mark Leduc was one of the key players for the Nighthawks in their inaugural season, scoring 27 goals and 10 assists. The 27 goals led the Nighthawks and ranked him 6th overall in the MLU, and the 37 points put him only one behind Nighthawks’ leading scorer Oscar Pottinger.
Leduc is unusual on the Nighthawks in that he does not play on a touring club team, so he is really looking forward to getting back on the field with his teammates as the MLU season approaches.
“For myself, unlike many of the other Nighthawks, what I am looking forward to the most is getting back to playing elite men’s Ultimate. As I don’t play with a touring team throughout the summer and fall, it’s just going to be good to get back on the field with the guys. In addition, it will be great to get back to connecting with the fans.”
Leduc is more than aware of the thin line between success and failure on the field in a competitive league like the MLU, and he thinks he knows what it will take to get the Nighthawks on the right side of that line in Season 2.
“With so many games last season being close, one key thing the Nighthawks need to improve on is situational awareness. We got scored on a bit too often last season at the end of quarters, and didn’t do enough scoring ourselves in the same situation. If we can turn that around, I think we could find ourselves on the other side of several games that we lost last season.”
After having a tough time with injuries last year, Leduc has worked hard through the off-season to get his body in top shape.
“I just want to make it through the whole season uninjured. Last year I hurt myself during the second game we played against the Rainmakers, and the injury lingered the rest of the season. With a short season, and having to play every weekend, there was never really any time to rest up and heal. It would be great to be able to play 100% every game.”
“In order to prevent injuries, I have been getting strength and conditioning training from fellow Nighthawk Mike Aizawa. I have put on a decent amount of muscle while maintaining my speed and explosiveness.”
And Leduc has one more goal for Season 2 that will make coach Lugsdin happy.
“I would be lying if I didn’t say that I want to score more goals.”
If he can stay healthy this season, look for Leduc to be right there in the race for the MLU goal-scoring title.