May 2nd, 2022, a tweet flew heavily under the radar from the Chrome LC account, announcing they have signed Mike Messenger from the player pool. While other signings tend to garnish much recognition, praise, and rebuttal. But there was not a peep about the Messenger signing. Most probably even wondered, who is Mike Messenger?
For PLL fans who mainly only follow the outdoor game, Messenger was an unfamiliar face, as he had previously never been on any PLL roster and only played one season with the Ohio Machine in 2017. For those who follow the indoor game, they knew exactly who Mike “The Hammer ” Messenger was. The do it all bearded beast for the Saskatchewan Rush has been a force to be reckoned with in the National Lacrosse League since being drafted 3rd overall in the 2016 NLL Entry Draft. As the Rush’s primary faceoff man and top transition player, throughout his career Messenger has racked up 75 points, 516 looseballs, 111 caused turnovers, and has taken out a mortgage in the sin bin with 120 total penalty minutes.
Messenger hails from Surrey, British Columbia, where he attended Lord Tweedsmuir High School. Don’t know jack about either of these places so I will leave it at that. He would go on to play Division 1 at High Point University where he had a productive freshman season registering 22 points before transferring to Division 2 powerhouse Limestone University. At Limestone he reached the pinnacle twice winning two national championships, along with a boatload of other awards.
The accolades, clutch goals, and everything else are truly remarkable, unfortunately Division 2 doesn’t tend to get as much recognition as Division 1 allowing Messenger to fly under the radar a bit. It is good to see him starting to find a role as a defensive midfie-wait he is playing as defensive middie right now? The 2015 D2 leading goal scorer and multiple conference OFFENSIVE Player of the Year winner is on the defensive side of the field?
Credit to his box background, rugged toughness, and selflessness as a teammate, Messenger has almost made the shift look easy. Garnishing the media’s attention for wicked eye black, punishing hits, and game winning goals, it almost seems as if Messenger’s overall production is being under looked. Through the midway point of the season he has totaled 5 CTs, 6GBs, along with 4 goals shooting 80%.
While playing solid defense in the targeted SSDM position, Messenger has seemed to find his niche running in transition and creating offense as well. He has scored off the ball along with beating defenders on the dodge, including a game winner along with other 4th quarter clutch tallies. This has led me to draw an Einstein-like hypothesis that maybe Messenger is comfortable on the offensive side of the ball as well?
Seen across every collegiate program are offensive midfielders, sometimes even attackmen, being switched to a defensive midfield role. I encourage them to take a page from Messenger’s book and embrace it, never too late to find a new niche and do whatever it takes to help your team win. It ultimately can give you an advantage making this switch too, possessed with an
Seen across every collegiate program are offensive midfielders, sometimes even attackmen, being switched to a defensive midfield role. I encourage them to take a page from Messenger’s book and embrace it, never too late to find a new niche and do whatever it takes to help your team win. It ultimately can give you an advantage making this switch too, possessed with an offensive IQ you can find a number of ways to beat teams in transition. It also helps having a better idea of the offensive scheme and what they could be looking to do so you can get ahead of them.
Not only impacting the college game, even players in the PLL who went through their whole career on the offensive side of the ball now find themselves playing defense. Due to the unbelievable amount of talent within the PLL, offensive jobs aren’t always available. I also believe a niche in the PLL is starting to emerge for these offensive talents playing defense. The first time I saw it was in 2019 with Sergio Perkovich and the Redwoods, the most recently Conor Kirst with the Whipsnakes.
Mike Messenger is another product of this and turning out to be a steal for the 4-1 Chrome. Credit to coach Tim Soudan who has acquired other valuable pieces in the player pool to the likes of Dylan Molloy and Eli Salama. Messenger has been a joy to watch in his first PLL season and I look forward to his continued success. I also hope he likes this article as he is not somebody I would like to see out in the parking lot.