THE SECOND TIME AROUNDFeatures | 2/9/2011 10:32:28 AM | Michael Jafari
Brenden Thenhaus is back with the team he started with five years ago, and this time he hopes he can stay with the Bandits for a long time.
Like most lacrosse players, Thenhaus grew up playing ice hockey in the winter and switched to lacrosse for the summer months. Thenhaus played hockey with the Burlington Cougars of the Ontario Provincial Junior-A Hockey League. Despite his love for hockey, NLL teams started to notice his lacrosse skills more and more, which led to the Bandits selecting him in the third round of the 2006 NLL Draft. After several practices with the Bandits, Thenhaus had to make a difficult choice on which sport he would pursue. The rugged forward doesn’t regret his decision.
“I was in my final season of junior hockey, and I was going through Bandit tryouts where I made it through the first round. I started looking at my priorities realizing I had a chance to make a pro lacrosse team, so I had to choose one or the other. I was going five days a week between lacrosse and hockey, and it was just wearing down my body. If it was the other way around, and I had a professional hockey tryout, I would have given up on junior lacrosse, so I decided that I needed to focus on something I really wanted. It was easier to focus on one thing and put my nose to the grind,” Thenhaus said with a smile.
Thenhaus broke into the Bandits’ lineup in 2007 and tallied four points in four games. After the season, he joined the Philadelphia Wings and played just three games before he was traded to the Edmonton Rush for a second round draft pick. He was on the move again in the following year when he joined the Boston Blazers in 2009.
“I moved around a little bit after my first year in the league between Philly and Edmonton. It was a learning experience just trying to find my spot on different teams,” Thenhaus reminisced. “I then moved to Boston, where I lived with 16 other guys. That was a great experience trying to get a franchise off to a good flying start.”
After playing a total of 14 games in his first two years in the league, Thenhaus got the chance to play a full season with the Blazers in 2009 and had a breakout year, scoring a career-high 53 points. He then recorded 35 points the following season despite being limited to just 11 games due to injury. Thenhaus credits his Boston teammates, particularly Blazers captain Dan Dawson, for helping him establish himself in the NLL and develop a better understanding of the game.
“Playing with Dawson, who is just a natural leader, was really big for me. Not only as a lacrosse player, but as a human, because he teaches how to present yourself with respect and make sure you treat others with the same respect,” said Thenhaus.
Thenhaus’s tenure with the Blazers opened the eyes of many teams, including Buffalo. In the offseason, the Bandits traded their top pick in the dispersal draft to Boston in exchange for Thenhaus and a first-round draft pick. Despite getting off to a good start this season, the veteran thinks he has more work ahead.
“I feel like I still have a lot to prove while I’m here,” said Thenhaus. “I may have gone other places and played well, but I haven’t done anything in Buffalo, so I just need to keep working hard and prove that I do belong on the Buffalo Bandits, and that I should stay here.”
When his career comes to an end, Thenhaus plans to enter the home renovation industry. However, Thenhaus wants to put those plans on hold so he can focus on helping the Bandits win another championship.
“I’m in my last semester of a building renovation program right now, so I’m looking to get into flipping houses, buying income properties and doing household renovations,” said Thenhaus. “That will keep me busy, but right now I just want to focus on lacrosse and make sure everything is going on properly in that aspect of my life and everything else will fall into place hopefully.”