Vancouver Stealth defenseman Tim Henderson will begin active duty with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan at the end of August. (Photo: Richard Olson)
Vancouver Stealth defenseman Tim Henderson will serve his country before he has a chance to suit up for the 2014 National Lacrosse League season. The shutdown defender and graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point will be deployed to Afghanistan for active duty with the U.S. Army at the end of the month.
Stealth head coach Chris Hall said Henderson’s presence will be missed by the team both on and off the turf.
“I think that’s a big hole for us that were going to need to fill," Hall said. "Tim’s an incredible athlete and an incredible person. What he brought to the team were considerable in the impact for us."
The opportunity to serve in the military will become a reality for Henderson in a couple weeks and it’s something he’s been waiting a long time for.
"I don’t want to be in the Army and not go overseas," Henderson said. "That’s really where you’re doing your job. When you’re state-side, you're just training so it’s like we all want to go overseas and get in the fight.”
Henderson’s training will be put to good use when he begins his service as he already knows what he will be doing.
"My specialty is field artillery," he added. "I’d be the one calling in artillery fire, which is basically big cannons."
Henderson will most likely miss the entire NLL season with the Stealth but it doesn’t seem to faze the 6-foot-3, 220-pound defensemen. If given the opportunity to return and make a contribution to the team, Henderson is willing to do whatever it takes.
"I loved playing with the team and I'd love to have any role," he said. "If they wanted me to show up and get water for the guys, I'd just like to be there."
For now, serving in the U.S. military is Henderson’s focus. But some aspects of his lacrosse career should translate into his Army life.
“Lacrosse is a team sport and really, at the end of the day, you get into the Army and it’s a team sport," he said.
The Stealth will begin the NLL season without Henderson as he will be well on his way to Afghanistan with no official return date. Don’t miss out on the chance to get Stealth season tickets with the NLL's return to Vancouver in 2014. For more information, please visit stealthlax.com.