Edmonton, AB--- Far away from his own family in upstate New York, Jeremy Thompson found himself another much-needed family upon his arrival in Edmonton.
His discovery came as he took his first strides into the Rush organization.
“It started when I first got here for training camp,” said Thompson prior to the Rush preparing for Saturday night’s hotly anticipated clash with the Calgary Roughnecks.
“I really sensed it with all the guys on the team. It really felt like a family.”
As it turned out, having a second clan became a great source of strength for Thompson as his own close-knit family was going through a very private and difficult time.
“My teammates and Pauline Hughes (the Rush’s Director of Communications) were there for me to talk to. Pauline was like a second mom for me … everyone was so great,” said Thompson. “This was really my first time away from home, all this happened, and my daughter just turned one in December. But out of all of it came a lot of good.”
Thompson has repaid a number of his teammates by becoming their go-to guy when it comes to pre-game meals. In fact his prowess in the kitchen, including an early-season feast of salmon, angel hair pasta primavera, mashed potatoes and vegetables, was singled out by star rookie Mark Matthews as a big part of his success.
Happily settled in with his new lacrosse family, Thompson can now look back on how it all came to be. Through various maneuvers within the National Lacrosse League, Thompson found his new home on a journey that began back in July of 2011.
It was at that point that the Rush sent a package of draft picks including their 2011 first-rounder to Minnesota for three players including Aaron Wilson plus a second-round selection in the ’11 draft. Two months later, the Rush sent that recently acquired second-round pick from Minnesota along with another pick to Buffalo in exchange for transition talent Chris Corbeil.
Buffalo then used that second-round selection to pick up a local product named Jeremy Thompson, a standout midfielder from Syracuse University. As the Rush headed into the 2013 NLL season, GM/Head Coach Derek Keenan looked over his roster and wanted to add more speed along with someone who could hold his own in the faceoff circle. So Keenan sent the aforementioned Wilson to Buffalo in exchange for Thompson.
It’s quite something to see the NLL world turn.
“There’s always a reason why something happens. You just have to have a good clear mind and give it your all,” said Thompson. “You don’t have to figure out the answers of why things unravelled the way they did. You just keep focused and encourage others and there will be a good outcome.”
Keenan is certainly pleased with the outcome of his wheeling and dealing that landed Thompson.
“He’s been great. He’s a real energy guy and brings a lot of intensity,” said Keenan. “For a guy that has mostly played field lacrosse he’s got a pretty good understanding of this game and he’s become a real composed guy for us.”
Thompson’s intensity has shone through statistically as well. He has taken over the team lead and sits fourth in the entire NLL with 73 loose balls, and despite regularly facing the league’s best faceoff men already this season, Thompson has managed 82 wins on the dot, good enough for fifth in the league.
While he has plenty of skill, Thompson’s game is all about hustle.
“That’s how I was taught to play the game. It goes back to the roots of the game,” he explained. “I know what my duties are, to play in the system the coach wants. I want to win and I was taught to do whatever the coach asks me to do no questions asked because I love this game.”