Bradford resident Nick Chaykowsky is a professional lacrosse player and recently signed on with Major League Lacrosse’s (MLL) defending champions Chesapeake Bayhawks.
The rising athlete plays for the New England Black Wolves in the National Lacrosse League (NLL) and was recently drafted to play with the undefeated Bayhawks for 2020 MLL division.
The MLL was formed in 1999 and began play in 2001. It is comprised of six teams across the United States; the Boston Cannons, Chesapeake Bayhawks, New York Lizards, Philadelphia Barrage, Denver outlaws, and the Connecticut Hammerheads.
Chaykowsky was only two years of age when he began playing sports. He attended Fieldcrest Elementary Public School and Bradford District High School before completing his teaching degree at Trent University where he majored in physical education, with a minor in chemistry.
Growing up, hockey and lacrosse were part of Chaykowsky’s everyday life. He played in the minor league in Newmarket and credits his dad (Tyson Chaykowsky) and former lacrosse pro and coach Darryl Gibson for pushing him to be a better player.
“I was really fortunate,” expresses Chaykowsky. “While playing minor lacrosse, I got to meet one of the best coaches I’ve ever had – former pro lacrosse player Darryl Gibson. I played with his son Tyson and when Darryl became our coach, that’s when lacrosse changed.”
Gibson played for the Buffalo Bandits and Chicago Shamrox in the early 2000’s and when he retired, he began coaching the minor leagues with the NLL.
“We had this pro come in and teach us all the techniques to becoming a better lacrosse player,” shares Chaykowsky. “[Darryl] had special knowledge of the sport… he changed it for us!”
Through Gibson’s coaching methods, the team started qualifying for “the final 6”; a championship tournament at the end of the year for different minor leagues.
Chaykowsky was later drafted and played Junior A in Barrie for four years and spent one year in British Columbia with the New Westminster Salmon Bellies before being drafted to the MLL.
“I enjoy the social side of lacrosse,” notes Chaykowsky. “The teammates and bonds you form are really special. And then going out onto the field and battling it out… after that you’re exhausted but it’s the best feeling in the world!”
Now at age 23, Chaykowsky is an extremely accomplished lacrosse player. Currently he is in Annapolis, Maryland where he will be playing in the semi-finals against the Connecticut Hammerheads this weekend and will compete in the final championship on Sunday July 26, where the Bayhawks will play either Boston or Denver.
“I feel good about this weekend’s game,” states Chaykowsky. “I don’t really get nervous anymore, it’s more like a positive energy.”
Chaykowsky would like to coach lacrosse when he is older and no longer playing professionally, and hopes to be able to pass along his expertise and passion for lacrosse to younger players one day.
“It’s a beautiful game; the better you get at the game, the more fun it becomes,” says Chaykowsky. “Everyone is on the same page working hard together. We get to soak in the victory – it’s a really good feeling to work hard and be rewarded.”
To catch the final game live, visit: www.tsn.ca