Last season, Jamie Shewchuk led the Mammoth in points with 31 goals and 35 assists, but after the team struggled once again to begin the year, Colorado had to make a change.
The Mammoth traded Shewchuk and a 2012 fourth round pick to the Minnesota Swarm on Feb. 9 in exchange for forward Tim Campeau and a 2011 second round selection.
“When I was here at the beginning of the year we started off pretty slow and anytime that happens in professional sports there has to be a shake up and I guess I was the guy that they wanted to make the move with,” Shewchuk said of the trade. “I was definitely surprised, but I still have a job and I still play lacrosse.”
On Sunday night at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Shewchuk and Campeau faced their old clubs in a NLL Western Division battle before the NLL All Star weekend.
Shewchuk’s Swarm defeated Campeau’s Mammoth 12-10 in the game, but both received warm welcomes from the Colorado faithful. Campeau got a good ovation during pregame introductions while Shewchuk’s announcement had more cheers than boos from the fans at the Pepsi Center. Public address announcer Willie B led the charge in thanking Shewchuk for his service to the Mammoth.
“I was pretty anxious to get it over with,” Shewchuk said about his feelings playing in Denver again before the game. “I had spent my entire career here with Colorado, but I’m excited about this new journey with these guys.”
Shewchuk finished his night with one goal and one assist while Campeau found his way on the score sheet with an assist on Connor Martin’s first NLL goal in the first quarter.
Minnesota already had a potent offense with snipers Ryan Benesch and Callum Crawford, but the addition of Shewchuk will balance the Swarm attack while also giving them more firepower.
“He’s another guy on the left hand side that can put the ball in the net,” said Minnesota head coach Mike Lines of Shewchuk. “He’s a threat, he’s a good team guy, a good hard worker and off ball cutter.”
In Shewchuk’s three games with the Swarm, he has five goals and three assists, and he said is beginning to feel comfortable in the Minnesota offense.
“I think I fit right in,” Shewchuk said. “In my first couple games I’m getting looks. I like the way that we move the ball and I think that we are a very dangerous team when we are swinging the ball and cutting off ball. We have a good mix and I think it definitely helps me fit in.”
Although the addition of Shewchuk is so far working out, Lines said it was tough to let Campeau go after picking up 48 points and 79 loose balls last season with the Swarm.
“Timmy is an amazing energy guy, a fantastic team player and was great friends with everyone out there,” Lines said of Campeau. “It was tough to see him go, but it is part of the game.”
Campeau isn’t necessarily known as a scorer, even though he has scored 24 goals in his first two seasons in the league. Instead, the Mammoth acquired him to help grab loose balls and give them extra possession and scoring opportunities.
“He brings energy, experience, a loose ball guy on the offensive end and he’s a character guy,” said Colorado head coach Bob Hamley of Campeau.
Even though he only picked up four loose balls and one assist in his first two games with the Mammoth, Hamley said he was pleased with Campeau’s performance on the floor with his new team.
However the same can’t be said from Campeau.
“I am a little disappointed in myself,” Campeau said after Sunday’s game. “I wanted to contribute a little more in my first two games. Hopefully I’ll get some chances here and take advantage of them.”
The Mammoth are once again struggling to begin the year as they are 1-7 and have lost six games in a row. Yet, the all star break comes just in time for many of these players to refocus and re-energize their batteries in what they hope will be a playoff push.
The Colorado players are already looking forward to their next game which will be against Minnesota once again in two weeks on Mar. 4 at the Pepsi Center in what Campeau says is a must win game.
“These next two weeks are huge,” Campeau said. “We need to get our fitness up. We need to come back a little angrier, a little bit edgier, and I think we are really looking forward to that next game.”