WILSON MAKES HIS PLAYING TIME COUNTFeatures | 3/26/2014 10:38:24 AM | Alex Pagliano
The 2014 season hasn’t been easy for Aaron Wilson. When he’s been on the floor for the Buffalo Bandits, he’s been able to produce offense and generate chances.
However, he’s had trouble staying healthy this year and was forced to miss his first games since 2005.
The Kitchener, Ont. native did not dress in the season opener due to injury. He made his season debut a week later against the Toronto Rock on Jan. 10. Prior to the game, Wilson expressed confidence that he would not be hampered moving forward.
In that game, he was able to contribute. He recorded a goal and an assist in a 12-10 win at home. But he and the training staff found that his lower-body injury was still an issue and he was forced out of the lineup for five games. He returned to the lineup against Philadelphia on Feb. 15.
"I have never experienced [an injury] like that in my career,” he said. “I am confident that I can come back in and help the team.”
Wilson added two goals on the night, a 13-7 win over the Wings.
Dealing with this injury has given Wilson some perspective and has helped shape the concept of his role on the team.
The nature of sport has taken Aaron Wilson around the league. In 11 NLL seasons, Wilson has played for five different teams spanning from Rochester to Edmonton.
“You have to live with it,” he said.
Wilson has spent the last two seasons with Buffalo. Acquired from Edmonton for Jeremy Thompson in 2012, Wilson has recorded 55 points (29+26) in 21 appearances.
The Bandits have an abundance of talented left-handed sticks coming out of the front door. Naturally, the right-handed presence of Wilson provides balance.
“[Aaron] is a great off-ball player. An excellent goal scorer, too. He will compliment both sides of our offense well,” Bandits general manager Steve Dietrich said.
Wilson sparked the Bandits offense over the weekend. Wilson recorded a goal on Friday at Edmonton and added another two goals on Sunday at Minnesota. To date, Wilson has recorded at least one point in eight consecutive games dating back to the end of last season.
Wilson and teammate Jamie Rooney, who also chipped in three points on Sunday (2+1), have competed for the right-handed forward spot this season. Although both have dealt with separate injuries, the depth has appeared to eradicate a perceived deficit of right-handed shots.
Wilson and left-handed teammate Ryan Benesch share a connection that goes beyond the playing floor. Benesch, also from Kitchener, spent time with Wilson in Minnesota and over the summer with the Kitchener-Waterloo Kodiaks. As the two reunited in Buffalo this season, Wilson looked forward to finding his old teammate on the other side of the floor.
“I’ve been looking forward to getting back into the lineup and playing with Ryan,” he said. “We’re good friends back in Kitchener and we hang out a lot, so we have great chemistry together. It should be fun.”