I met Buck Hofmann in Berlin, Germany at the 2017 Berlin Open Lacrosse Tournament! Buck was an official/referee and i was Head Coach/Player of Student Athlete World USA. Each day of the tournament I had several lengthy conversations with Buck about lacrosse, and how much the game has changed since he started playing lacrosse in 1959. Buck made such a positive impact on not just me but my entire team. Buck has lived a long adventurous life & he is a great ambassador for the sport of lacrosse. I am proud to have Buck Hofmann as a member of the Total Lacrosse Hall Of Fame, Class Of 2017!
JV: How did you first get started playing lacrosse?
BH: One day, I was sitting in the snack bar at Adelphi in Dec of '59 and someone bet me $10, I wasn't tough enough to play lacrosse. I was 24 years old(turned 25 in Feb of '60) and really had no idea what lacrosse was, but I could use the $10. I had no idea at that time what lay ahead of me. I wouldn't have believed it then if someone had told me. I made the lacrosse team, mainly because I did whatever was asked to do to the best of my ability, and ran hard, and worked the wall regularly. Didn't get into a game in '60. In '61 for our first game, a D-man was unavoidably late and much to my surprise, I got the start...with a middie stick. That was against Ohio State and at home (Long Island) and we won 5-4 in the snow. I have a game ball from that in my trophy case. The next game, another starting D guy was late (minor accident) and I got the start again. Sat out the next game, but in game 4 or maybe 5, I got to play attack, midfield, and defense all in the same game (vs CCNY) and became a starter at defense from that time on. We won the division for the first time ever, in '61. I was the last of the Korean GI's in '61.
JV: What did you like most about lacrosse?
BH: I'm not sure just what it was that I liked about lacrosse, but I sure knew that I liked it. Maybe because is was a really rough game them, but you had to be smart enough to recognize so many different situations and adapt. Some so subtle, that a few inches one way or another could/would make a difference. Probably the combination of skill, knowledge and pure guts, was the draw. I'd never played a game like that before.
JV: What are some of the biggest changes to the sport of lacrosse from the beginning of your lacrosse career to now?
BH: There have been a lot of changes in the 58 years I've been associated with lacrosse. I remember facing off in the center of a big circle and if you weren't facing off, you positioned yourself anywhere outside of the circle. I seem to remember that changed in '61 to pretty much what we have today. Probably the biggest change was the move to plastic heads and metal shafts, from an all wood stick. I can't think of anything that changed the game so much as that.
Total Lacrosse Magazine