Cannon Blast: Drapeau Set for Pro Debut
After four years of playing top-level Division 1 college lacrosse at Loyola University in Maryland, Jay Drapeau wasn’t prepared to say good-bye to the sport forever.
He just needed a little time away from it.
Drapeau graduated last spring and then packed up for an overseas adventure. He and six of his graduate buddies from the Loyola lax team spent most of the 2018 summer backpacking their way through Europe. They visited a dozen countries, staying at numerous Airbnb’s.
“We just kind of relaxed after the four years of lacrosse and it was kind of bizarre not really playing anymore,” said Drapeau. “We started planning the trip pretty early in the previous fall. Some guys had jobs lined up already and we kind of had to find a time frame that worked for everybody, before they started their jobs and stuff.
“There were a couple of us that really wanted to play professional (lacrosse), but we also figured let’s get our entire class together one last time, and it made (the trip) more worth it.”
All the while, Drapeau, a Westford native and former Westford Academy standout, kept the prospect of playing Major League Lacrosse in the back of his mind. He did, after all, have the résumé to support that plan.
Drapeau recorded 95 points (77 goals) in his Loyola career, and was also named to the USILA All-America Second Team, the Inside Lacrosse Media All-America Third Team and the All-Patriot League First Team as a senior. That season, he led Loyola with 41 goals, the fifth-most amongst all midfielders in NCAA Division 1.
Drapeau took a sales job in Boston after the trip to Europe and moved to the North End with one of his Loyola teammates. They frequently went to a nearby field to work out and keep their skills sharp. There wasn’t much rust on the 5-10, 170-pound 22-year-old, who tallied a whopping 445 career points (305 goals, 143 assists) at Westford, the fifth-most in state history, and was a Sun Player of the Year.
With his game back intact, Drapeau entered his name into the MLL player pool this year and was selected third overall in the league’s Supplemental Draft in March by the hometown Boston Cannons, coached by Sean Quirk.
“I got a text from a couple coaches prior to the draft, about my willingness to play and stuff like that,” said Drapeau, who is on a one-year contract with the Cannons. “Coach Quirk reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in playing and I was like, ‘Absolutely, for sure. Boston, hometown team, I love it.’ I was pretty amped about that.”
Training camp begins next weekend. The season begins on June 1 at home against the New York Lizards. The Cannons will play a 16-game regular season schedule that runs until Sept. 21. Home games will be played at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Quincy, after the team spent the last three seasons at Harvard Stadium.
Quirk expects Drapeau to be a strong addition to the Cannons, a franchise that got its start in Lowell.
“Jay is a crafty midfielder who has the ability to score goals,” said Quirk, who had a successful stint as head coach at Endicott College (1998-2015) and now serves as Endicott’s associate athletic director. “His work ethic during the preseason has been very impressive. Jay was one of the top scorers in Division 1 his senior year. We look forward to seeing Jay compete at training camp.”
Drapeau’s roommate, Jared Mintzlaff, was picked up by the Dallas Rattlers, so it’s been convenient for the two to prepare for the upcoming season together. But Drapeau admits it can be challenging trying to practice in the offseason without the structure of a team atmosphere.
“You do what you can, and it works out,” said Drapeau.
With MLL teams scattered around the country in cities like Atlanta, Dallas and Denver, Drapeau is looking forward to the travel.
“I’m probably one of the few people who loves airports,” he said. “I love traveling, it’s awesome. It’s going to be fun flying out to a new city and playing a game there and getting exposed to new crowds.”
Drapeau grew up going to Cannons games, envisioning himself playing for the franchise someday. He said his family and friends are very much looking forward to making the easy drive down to Quincy to watch him play.
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