Breaking News
More () »

Buffalo look ahead to hopeful NLL playoff run with help from Banditland

WGRZ sports reporter Lindsey Moppert sat down with star forward Dhane Smith to talk all things Bandits as they look ahead to the playoffs.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Bandits had a remarkable season last year, cruising through the regular season to eventually falling in the National Lacrosse League finals to the Colorado Mammoth.

Now as the playoffs begin to creep up, the Bandits already have their eyes set on the prize. 

As the first franchise in the history of the national lacrosse league to win back-to-back championships in its first and second seasons, the Bandits were built on success.

"It's an organization that you definitely want to be a part of, and it's different," Bandits forward Dhane Smith said. "We definitely have to thank the people that came before us." 

That initial success led to 22 playoff appearances in 30 seasons and four championship titles. However, behind the grit and talent of the team itself is what the team and the city of Buffalo like to call "Banditland." 

"The teams that are coming in to play against us mark it on their calendar because they don't play in front of 15-plus-thousand fans," Smith said. 

No one understands the tradition and environment better than 11-year veteran Dhane Smith. Smith was drafted by the Bandits in 2012 and has been in Buffalo ever since. 

"It's crazy to think about," Smith said. "People dress up in black and orange like it's Halloween. It's like a party. There's music going. People take it so serious and it's really really cool. I know there's people wearing dog masks for myself and they bark when I score." 

Smith has grown through the organization and seem just about everything except for a championship of his own. After falling in the final game last season, he says the time to make it happen is now. 

"It was really tough for me last year specifically because as I've gotten older I've realized how hard it is to win a championship," Smith said. "I've been in this league 10-plus years, I've been through three championships, and I've lost them all. It's kind of one of those things you realize 'OK, we need to be successful now because this is the team to do it.' "

The Bandits will now head into the playoffs next month looking to win their first championship title since 2008.

Before You Leave, Check This Out