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Connor Farrell is Buffalo’s newest super hero

Connor Farrell Connor Farrell - NLL

In 2019, when Connor Farrell attended training camp for the Premier Lacrosse League in Bradenton, Florida, the rookie face-off specialist for Chrome was doing an interview for a documentary when he was asked a question that would ultimately tag him with a nickname.

“They asked if I was always one of the bigger guys on the team,” Farrell told during a phone conversation this week. “I said yeah, me and my brother grew up drinking milk and once that interview popped up, everyone started calling me The Milkman.”

So, it was appropriate that Farrell made his Buffalo Bandits debut on “Super Hero Night” this past Friday because “The Milkman” has taken Western New York by storm.

Signed to a two-year deal, Farrell won 27 out of 33 draws and scooped up 19 loose balls in the Bandits’ 15-14 overtime win over the Saskatchewan Rush. That winning percentage was extremely important in a game that featured 14 ties, the most in National Lacrosse League history.

For Farrell, his first game in Banditland was an out of body experience in front of 16,596 fans.

“I knew it was going to be a crazy atmosphere because I heard a lot about it and I’ve seen pictures and videos,” said Farrell, a native of Holtsville, New York on Long Island.

“When they called us out for the introductions and I was standing there waiting in line for the national anthem, I was just looking around and I could not believe how many people were there and how loud it was. My jaw just dropped… I couldn’t believe it. It was just an unreal moment and cool to see.”

The 6’2, 240-pound Farrell, who also plays for the PLL’s Denver Outlaws (formerly Chrome), was a star FOGO for Division II LIU Post where he was a two-time All-ECC selection. During his junior season in 2018, he won 70.1% of his draws and in his senior season, he was victorious on 82.5% of his faceoffs. During that season, he set a Division II record with 34 faceoff wins and 30 ground balls during an upset win over number one ranked Merrimack.

A two-time PLL All-Star, Farrell has plenty of experience on the big field, but always kept himself ready in case an NLL opportunity came his way.

“There are a bunch of similarities but the indoor game is definitely a lot more physical and aggressive so I love that,” said Farrell, who will turn 27 years old on March 25th.

“Throughout the years, I’ve been practicing. You’re further away from the ball. You don’t have wings coming from the side… they come from forward and back. I felt like I had a good feel for it. I love the intensity of the box game.”

And don’t be surprised if you see him put the ball in the back of the net occasionally. Farrell may be the FOGO, but he wins so many faceoffs in dominant fashion that he gets his fair share of shots at the net.

He has eight career PLL goals so it’s just a matter of time before he lights the lamp for the Bandits.

“I had a few shots this past game,” said Farrell. “One is going to come eventually.”

Getting to his NLL debut with Buffalo was a long and winding road for Farrell.

He was taken in the second round of the 2019 NLL Draft by his hometown New York Riptide. Farrell signed with the Riptide as a practice player in January of 2020 but never made it to the active roster.

In 2022, Farrell signed a one-year-deal with the San Diego Seals and went to training camp with them. He made the roster, but missed the first game of the season because of his wedding and then went on a month-long honeymoon. When he got back, the Seals were off to a 4-0 start.

“Obviously they were not going to mess up the lineup when they were undefeated,” said Farrell, who never played a game for the Seals.

This past August, the Rochester Knighthawks acquired the rights to Farrell from San Diego in exchange for a pair of draft picks. Coming off of surgery from an injury that he suffered during the 2023 PLL season, Farrell wasn’t quite ready to play at the start of the season and was released.

Once he was cleared, he emailed Bandits’ general manager Steve Dietrich to let him know that he was ready to play.

“He finally sent me an email back that they wanted to sign me and I was ecstatic and ready to go,” said Farrell.

Farrell and the Bandits are now 6-6 heading into Saturday night’s home game against the Toronto Rock at KeyBank Center, which is the Game of the Week on TSN.

And the defending NLL Cup Champion Bandits could not be happier to have one of the best face-off specialists in all of lacrosse join them for the playoff push. In any level or version of lacrosse, each possession is critical, so adding a weapon like Farrell could be just what Buffalo needs to get the ball in the hands of players like Dhane Smith and Josh Byrne on a more frequent basis.

“They’ve welcomed me with open arms,” said Farrell. “It’s a really good group of guys. This would be a good time to get hot right now heading up to the playoffs.”

Farrell, who does face-off training and clinics with junior and senior level players back home on Long Island during the week, has finally found his NLL home a short flight across New York State. There were other opportunities in recent years, but this one in Buffalo just feels perfect to him.

“After that first experience with Buffalo, I don’t want to play anywhere else,” said Farrell.

And all of Banditland would probably agree that the arrival of “The Milkman” was so much more than just the luck of the draw.