Colorado Mammoth defenseman Taylor Stuart recalls his elementary school having skills assemblies hosted by players from the Vancouver Canucks. Now, the British Columbia native has migrated south, not only to compete for Colorado’s NLL team, but also give back to the community by in helping run the Mammoth’s Skills and Thrills program for a variety of elementary schools.

Drafted 35th overall by the Mammoth, Stuart is in the midst of his rookie year. Head coach Pat Coyle called Stuart one day, telling him that he was one of the prospects they were planning on selecting. Following the conversation, Stuart went to Denver to go through training camp, and eventually won a spot on the roster.

“I love it. I never really thought that I would ever be here…It’s a new city, so it’s taking awhile to get use to, but I’m starting to and it’s been a blast,” said Stuart.

The Mammoth are coming off of an overtime win against the Vancouver Stealth, leaving them with an 4-3 overall record. Although they are currently ranked second in the West Division behind the Saskatchewan Rush, they have high hopes for the remainder of the season.

“My expectation for this season, and I think for the whole team, is to go to the playoffs and to win that Champion’s Cup,” said Stuart. “Basically, we take it one week at a time because you always want to get better every single day.”

In the sport of box lacrosse, all players use a short stick. Yet, during his four-year-stint at Bellarmine University, Stuart played as a long-stick midfielder. Switching back to a shorty might pose a problem defensively, but Stuart has had little to no problem doing so.

“You have to rely a lot more on your feet and a lot more on your brain,” said Stuart. “You have to think a lot more, you need to be quick, you need to react a lot faster and you need to be a lot stronger. With that [long pole] you have all that range, but with a short stick you have to use your feet a lot more and get good body position.“

With 11 games left to go in the regular season, Stuart has plenty of time to help his team achieve that goal, as well as a few of his own.

“A personal goal, for me, is to work on the stuff that I’m struggling with, improving my game in all aspects and keeping that consistency high,” said Stuart.