HAAS EMERGES FROM CLUB LEAGUE TO PROS
Only a day after winning a club title with the ‘Beer Wolves’ of the six-team Philadelphia Box Lacrosse Association, Mike Haas received an unexpected phone call inviting him to the 2007 NLL Entry Draft and combine.
“I remember I was eating a cheesesteak from a street vendor when [Colorado Mammoth Assistant GM] Bill Hall called,” said Haas. “It was a total surprise.”
The North Wales, PA, native was a defensive midfielder for three seasons at Villanova before he switched to attack in his Senior year.
He scored 18 goals in 2007 — third on his team and around 140th in the nation — to help the Wildcats to a 7-7 record and wrap up a solid collegiate career.
Haas was invited to the draft and combine, which was hosted by the Mammoth at the Pepsi Center in Denver, primarily because of his indoor experience. In his Senior year of high school, he was encouraged by his coach at St. Joseph’s Prep (and Team USA Assistant GM), Jacques Bagley, to join the indoor club circuit, and he’s been a member of the Beer Wolves ever since.
“I always went to one or two Wings games a year, so I thought it was really cool,” said Haas. “My coach at Villanova wanted us to play over the summer. He didn’t really like me playing box, but he wanted us playing, staying active.”
Haas was very active prior to his Senior season at Villanova.
Intrigued by an invite from Bagley, he attended an open tryout for the U.S. Indoor team. Haas, along with San Jose draftee Frank Resetarits
(UAlbany) were the only two collegiate players named to the 40-man player pool. However, after attending four tryouts, he fell short of the 23-man travel roster.
“I was very pleased, it meant a lot to me,” said Haas. “It was a great experience to have guys I watched growing up, like Tom Ryan and Kevin Finneran teaching me about shooting angles and pick and rolls.”
After his Villanova strength and training coach put him through a rigorous two-week program, Haas took off for Denver, where he continued to take tips on the Pepsi Center turf, notably from Rochester head coach Ed Comeau and Portland assistant GM Darren Fridge. The 22-year-old forward made the most of his opportunity, with three goals in the combine game — outscoring NCAA stars such as Resetarits and Drew Westervelt — and was suddenly on the radar for NLL scouts.
Haas was selected 59th overall by the Titans, and welcomed by Head Coach Adam Mueller and Director of Operations Jimmy Butler. The team’s training camp begins in November.
“I think I’ve got a lot of learning to do, but I think I definitely have a shot,” said Haas.
The rookie from Philly hinted he might already have January 31st circled on his calendar, when the Titans are slated to host the Philadelphia Wings at Madison Square Garden.
“Right now, I don’t like the Wings at all,” Haas said with a laugh.