NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Mahopac’s Aidan Hynes doesn’t remember the exact moment his dream of playing professional lacrosse was hatched, but the 2016 graduate (the Indians reached the sectional championship game that year) is about to fulfill a lifelong dream after being drafted (10th) by the Atlas Lacrosse Club of the Premier Lacrosse League.
Hynes, a recent Yale graduate with a degree in mechanical engineering, saw his college career come to a premature end this spring because of the coronavirus. Yale, which won a national title in 2018, saw its season end four games into the season. Hynes got to play in three of those games.
“I pulled a hamstring in a scrimmage and missed the first game, Hynes told Mahopac News this week. “I played in the next three, then it was over. That was pretty tough to deal with. After four games, it was really a shock when it happened.”
Hynes was struck by the fact that he didn’t get to play a single home game this season.
“There are a lot of things I feel like I missed out on,” he said. “So, I’m not as happy as I would have been about my senior year. Not getting to play a game at Reese Stadium, our home stadium, was disappointing. That was something we look forward to. Senior Day is also a big deal, as well as the playoffs and the opportunity to make a playoff run. I think we had a good chance, that was something we were definitely looking forward to.”
Hynes and his teammates were hoping to possibly return next spring to play their senior season, but Yale said no.
“We kept hoping we could work something out,” Hynes said. “But finally, Yale said we can’t come back to just play lacrosse. It was definitely devastating; a roller coaster of emotions.”
After being drafted eighth by Connecticut in the Major League Lacrosse draft, Hynes was picked 10th in the newer (1-year-old) Premier League.
“I’ve been playing since second grade, and as a kid growing up I always thought it would be cool to play professional lacrosse,” Hynes said. “It’s exciting to have that opportunity, especially after how my senior year ended. To be able to play with the best in the world, and get a paycheck, is definitely an exciting opportunity. It’s definitely a little crazy with everything that’s been going on the last few months, but it will be a cool experience to be there for three weeks playing against the best in the world.”
Because of the pandemic, the current plan for the Premier League this year is a two-week training camp in June, followed by a three-week tournament with no fans, in a location to be determined, possibly in Florida or Utah.
Hynes, who also has a new full-time job with OLA Consulting Engineers in New York City, is thrilled to be living his dream.
“Between working full-time in the city and being able to play professional lacrosse as long as I can, and train on the side… that’s the dream,” he said. “Emotions are kind of mixed, I’m super happy about the job, and super excited to play lacrosse at the highest level. But there’s also a lot I missed out on my senior year.
“Overall I feel super fortunate,” he added. “This pandemic has affected a lot of people, and I have a job and a chance to play professional lacrosse. Not a lot of people can say that. So, I feel very fortunate. But there’s still that sting that I wasn’t able to finish things off the way I wanted to.”
Hynes, who started 47 games during his career at Yale, pointed to the 2018 national title as a career highlight.
“That was also a pretty crazy season for me,” he recalled. “I hurt my knee early, missed half the season. But to come back and contribute on a team that made it to the National Championship was crazy. To actually be in it was so surreal.
“It’s hard to put in perspective what I’ve accomplished,” Hynes added. “It probably took me a week to comprehend what a cool accomplishment that was. And getting drafted, something I’ve worked for since second grade, it’s certainly super cool. But overall, that national title is definitely the highlight of my career.”
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