Proudly ending Atlanta’s 20-year championship drought, the Georgia Swarm wins its first NLL World Championship title. On June 15th, Atlanta officially welcomed home the 2017 National Lacrosse League Champion's Cup. Behind the winning shot was Indian Country lacrosse fan favorite Miles Thompson of the Onondaga Nation.
The Swarm is Atlanta’s first professional box lacrosse team and while only in its second season, has quickly risen to the top. Owner John Arlotta was recently named GM of the Year, and Swarm Coach Ed Comeau was named Coach of the Year by ILIndoor. The team has some of the best Native lacrosse players in the league, including Johnny Powless (Mohawk), Randy Staats (Mohawk) and three of the Thompson brothers—Jerome, Miles, and Lyle.
A graduate of the University of Albany, Miles Thompson was acquired by the Swarm in the 2014 draft. He is a co-recipient of the distinguished 2014 Tewaaraton Trophy, a member of the Iroquois Nationals and he hosts lacrosse camps nationwide with his famous family’s organization Thompson Brothers Lacrosse.
The hard-fought contest against the two-time defending champion Saskatchewan Rush was decided during Game 2 of the series on June 10th in a tie-breaking sudden-death overtime match. The deciding goal was initiated by Lyle Thompson, who delivered a one-armed underhanded toss to brother Miles Thompson, who then lasered the winning goal past the Rush goaltender.
In honor of the Swarm’s historic achievement, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal issued a proclamation declaring June 20th “Georgia Swarm Day” to commend the championship victory.
The Champions Cup celebration was held at Taco Mac in Sandy Springs, GA. The evening gave fans the opportunity to meet with players, coaching staff, get autographs and have their picture made with the Champion's Cup.
On hand for the festivities was Miles Thompson, who later took time with ICMN to discuss the winning goal, his thoughts on the success of the Georgia Swarm and playing with his brothers.
How determined were you to score going into the sudden death overtime match?
[Laughing] It’s the only time I wanted my brother (Jeremy Thompson, who plays for the Saskatchewan Rush) to lose a face-off. I just wanted one chance, that's what was going through my head. I believe in our offense, and what we've been doing this year is something special, and what we have together as a team, the chemistry is there. I was just hoping to get the ball.
What were your thoughts when you scored?
To be honest, I don't remember scoring [laughing]! I have watched the video about 100 times, and I don't even remember the ball going in the net. I was just happy, and I broke down because of how happy I was.
The last thing I remember seeing is top left corner open. I just don't remember the ball going in [laughing].
The governor of Georgia declared Jun 20 Georgia Swarm Day. What are your thoughts about being a part of something so historic?
Having the opportunity to be a part of Georgia history is truly an honor. This is huge for all the fans, staff, players, coaches and management who have put in time to make the Georgia Swarm an elite Georgia Sports team!
What do you hope/think this will do for the game of box-lax in Georgia?
The Governor's declaration brings box lacrosse and the Georgia Swarm to the mainstream. This will help validate this amazing sport and help to fill the stands in the Infinite Energy Center! My family, through our company Thompson Brothers Lacrosse, is doing what we can to help grow the game in Georgia. We're actually holding a camp in Atlanta with the Georgia Swarm July 13/14.[text_ad]
What do you think is the best quality the Georgia Swarm had this year?
The chemistry that we have between the players and the coaching staff is something that is special this year. It's something that's different than what I've had on other teams.
What advice would you give to youth on how to become successful lacrosse players?
Keep that stick in your hand. That is something that I grew up with. At a young age, I didn't have the Xboxes, PlayStations or stuff like that. The one thing that I did have was my lacrosse stick and also my brothers. It was something that we all shared and loved. Just keep that stick in your hands because I believe that's what brought me to this level.
To watch the winning goal visit the Georgia Swarm's "Hive Five: Top Five Moments of the Game."
Follow Amy Morris on Twitter @CiraPhoto