ADRIAN, Mich. - The Minnesota Swarm selected former Adrian College lacrosse standout Tyler Tanguay in the fourth round of the National Lacrosse League's draft held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, earlier this month (October 1).
Having never seen Tanguay play, the Swarm chose Tanguay with the 37th-overall pick, after drafting a franchise-record 10-total picks that included four first-round selections.
"I didn't have a clue that anyone was interested in me until maybe three or four days before the draft. Coach LaSala gave me a heads-up that they had contacted him. The owner (John Arlotta) of the team phoned me and asked about my situation.
The owner said I was the only player they hadn't seen play, but they had asked their captain about me and they were going off what he said about me. Then, I got another call the morning of the draft and he (Arlotta) asked me a few more questions," said Tanguay.
The Swarm's captain and the 2012 NLL Transition Player of the Year, Andrew Suitor, played with Tanguay at Adrian College and persuaded Arlotta to investigate Tanguay further.
"I noticed him because of his continual improvement in college at Adrian. Also, our captain, Andrew Suitor who played at Adrian, told me that he got better every time he saw him play. Also, we needed to bring in a lot of competition for a few open spots in our lineup for a left-handed offensive player who could add some scoring punch, which Tyler is. I also liked his size. Finally, I had a great interview with him and came away feeling like he had the type of character we were looking for," said Minnesota Swarm team president & owner Arlotta.
Minnesota was one of four teams to finish above .500 at 9-7 last season, and advanced to the second-round of the NLL playoffs before bowing to Edmonton in the West Division Finals last May.
Tanguay added, "I was really surprised to be drafted, especially in the fourth round because of the way the conversation went. I got the impression that maybe I could be a last- round (sixth) pick at best, but more likely to get a call for a tryout later. I also thought it's probably one of the best possibilities for me to make a pro team because they're so young."
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound, Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada-native played four seasons at Adrian College where he garnished Second-Team All-Midwest Lacrosse Conference honors in his sophomore year, First-Team MLC honors his junior year and MLC Honorable Mention honors his senior year. Tanguay was also selected to play in the 2012 United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Division III North-South All-Star Game at Harvard University last May.
Tanguay gives a lot of credit for his development to Coach LaSala. "I learned a lot more in my last year and probably a lot more than any other year, at Adrian. Don kind of capped it off nice."
LaSala was equally complimentary of his senior captain and boasts that part of the reason that Adrian College lacrosse has never lost a conference game and has appeared in back-to-back NCAA post-season appearances is Tyler Tanguay. "He doesn't have the common persona of most captains. Tyler is more of a lead by example type. He's a good character guy with tremendous poise and confidence. He sees the field well and has good vision. He had the right chemistry in balancing our first line. He knows where the ball needs to go and gets it there. He doesn't really excel at any particular facet of the game, but he seems to do all the little things extremely well."
A phone call Tanguay received during his senior year at Adrian College almost ended his season and his career. The outlook from that call looked grim. It entailed potentially missing the rest of his senior season at Adrian, as well as a summer Senior A league where many players get noticed and invited to NLL training camps. Tanguay had been counting on both as possible stepping stones to the professional ranks, but now knew that all that might be an afterthought after hearing the devastating news from the phone call.
His longtime girlfriend, Katlyn, went into congestive heart failure, so Tanguay left the team immediately in mid-season and drove back home to be at her side.
"I got a phone call on a Sunday and Tyler said he had to leave because his girlfriend might not make it through the weekend. I told him to go and not worry about the details here. I would do everything I could to smooth the transition and contact all the necessary parties at the college," said LaSala.
Although Katlyn did recover, LaSala will be the first to admit that his senior captain would have certainly been selected to the MLC First-Team his final year at Adrian had he not missed any playing time. Despite missing about a month, Tanguay managed to cap his career at Adrian by ranking third in assists (51), fourth in goals (97), and fifth in points and ground balls with 148 and 106, respectively, in all-time career lacrosse totals at the college.
If Tanguay makes the final roster, the Swarm open their season in Buffalo, N.Y., on January 12, 2013.