When winter hits and football season starts winding down, the NLL is getting set to start another exciting season of indoor lacrosse. In Buffalo, where the Bills and Sabres have frustrated the fans of late, the Buffalo Bandits lacrosse team has done exactly the opposite, bringing home the NLL Championship 2 seasons ago. After a 2nd rd exit from the playoffs in 2009 however, the Bandits retooled a little and are making an attempt to reclaim the Champions Cup for Buffalo. But before they can do that, the team needs to practice and train and part of that is an Open Practice they put on each December for their loyal fans.
The Bandits team isn't all that changed as the Bandettes dance team went through some changes as well. A number of well-known faces have moved on in coach Erin J, Danielle, Karla, Sarah, Denise, and Maggie. Jaclyn takes over running the squad in 2010 with Erin Y moving up from dancer to head choreographer/asst coach. With the departures, 6 new faces take their places to join the established vets. 2 of these new faces aren't exactly new however as 2006-08 alumnus Beth returns to the squad after taking last year off due to scheduling conflicts. She's even getting an added role in her return, that of Justina's co-captain while Melissa moves over to Meghan's line to take the co-captain spot of the departed Danielle. The other familiar face spent the fall of 2008 at Ralph Wilson Stadium as a member of the Buffalo Jills. Lonna joins fellow rookies Lauren B, Chelsea, Stephanie, and Ashley V to round out the 14-girl squad intent on cheering on the Bandits to a 5th league title in 2010.
For their part of the Open Practice, the Bandettes put on a pair of dance performances, the 1st run giving a break to the players during practice and the 2nd at the end of practice, giving the players a little bit of time to get ready for a post-practice autograph session in the Arena's concourse. After the 2nd performance, the Bandettes went around the concourse to pose for photos and sign autographs while the players took some more time to get ready.
Coming up next for the Bandettes is the Bandits Home Opener January 16 at 7:30 in HSBC Arena. The Bandits host their Thruway rivals, the Rochester Knighthawks, in the 2nd game of their season series after a road trip to Rochester's Blue Cross Arena on January 9th.