Wednesday, July 25, 2007

#42 - Tommy Marechek

Tom Marechek is a lacrosse legend.

When the Gaits were tearing it up at Syracuse in the late 80's, word slowly crept in that there was 'another Canadian' coming to the white/orange. The prodigy was Tom Marechek (#42), the Jr. A Victoria Shamrocks leading scorer in 87 and 88... And he was as advertised. Alongside Paul (#19) and Gairy Gait (#22), the three Victoria, B.C. natives took the NCAA by storm, capturing the prized D1 title in 89 and 90... Marechek ended his college career in the finals with an OT loss to Princeton. He was 4x All-American... 3x 1st team, and a 2nd team AA selection as a freshman. He left Syracuse with 182 goals and 258 career points, second only to Gary Gait. [check out the pics below from marechek's allprolaxcamps]

After college, Marechek played 12 seasons of pro lax with the Wings, from 94 to 05... The sixth overall pick in the 92 entry draft, Marechek was named rookie of the year, 9x All-Pro and a 4x NLL Champion... Marechek retired as the league's third all-time leading scorer in 2005 (behind Gait and Tavares) with 399 gaols and 773 points... His number 42 retired... Only two other players in NLL history have received this honour.

For some of those NLL years, Tom also suited up for his home-town Victoria Shamrocks, alongside both Gaits. We remember a highlight goal Marechek scored when the 'Rocks routed the Niagra Gamblers in 97... #42 was near the crease and dove right, literally putting himself horizontal to the ground at cross-bar level. He then ripped a shot back-hand over the keeper's shoulder, top left. It's still the tightest goal we've ever seen.

Marechek's known for that tho. For his flair and making sweet plays... He sites his two favorite goals as a between-the-legs, game winning goal against the New Jersey Pride in the 03 MLL semis, and dating back to his college days, a far-leaping goal from the left wing against North Carolina his senior year. "I flew myself in midair and I stuffed it in the top right corner".

His trademark tho is the "tommy twist" - a moved named after Marechek, where you wrap the stick around your back and shoot original stick side. "We kind of invented it", Marechek said. "That's the way I made the game more fun for me, trying different shots and different passes. I probably wouldn't have played the game as long as I have if I didn't find ways to reinvent myself within it...

And Tom still is playing. Part of Team Canada's win at the 06 Worlds, Marechek suits up in the MLL for the Washington Bayhawks, whom he's played with since the league's inaugural 01 season.. named 4x MLL All-Star and 2x MLL Champion, Marechek is currently amoung the MLL's top-20 scorers this 07 season.

But at 39 and the oldest player in the MLL, with a one-year old son, a lacrosse team to coach at Glenelg Country School, and his All-Pro Lax Camp to run, this may well be Tom's last season of professional lax... he's said, "It's time".

We will be releasing a limited edition Marechek print in tribute of #42 this summer... He's one of our idols and the reason we love lax.

On a final note, when asked the best advice he's ever received, Marechek told us, "Always follow your dreams"...