Taking a Lax Approach

BY KEVIN DIFFILY // MAY 8, 2012 // 

Most college seniors hope to enter the workforce immediately after graduation. After putting four years of hard work toward their major, they cannot wait to actually land a job in their desired field.

Michael Hibbard is not one of those seniors. The starting goalie on Curry’s men’s lacrosse team has other things in mind.

“My friend from home has always had this idea of moving out to Jackson Hole, Wyo., to work on this ski mountain there,” says Hibbard. “He needed someone to go with him, so I said, ‘Why not?’ ”

With graduation looming, Mike Hibbard will soon hang up his goalie stick. In its place will be a rucksack, as the lifelong Massachusetts resident plans to travel the country and explore. // PHOTO COURTESY OF CURRY ATHLETICS

Hibbard, a native of Chelmsford, Mass., has spent his entire life living in the state, and while he says he’ll always cherish the friends and memories he has made here, he wants to explore other places.

“I just need to see what else is out there,” he says. “I love Mass. and all my friends, but I know there’s a lot more out there waiting for me.”

Hibbard came to Curry in 2008. He played lacrosse throughout high school and sought to continue it in college. But during his freshman year, the team’s season was cancelled due to an alcohol-related hazing incident. Many players left the school or quit the team, but Hibbard stuck with it. One doesn’t play sports at the Division III level for glory or a ticket to the pros, he explains. You play because you enjoy the game.

“He is a great guy. Really fun to be around and a very talented goalie,” says Joe Natale, a junior on the lacrosse team. “We are going to miss him next year.

Today, Hibbard is one of the captains of the men’s lacrosse team. He and the other upperclassmen have instilled a mentality of hard work and team unity that squads from previous years seemed to lack. The approach mostly paid off, as the 2012 team started out 6-1 before undergoing a tough stretch of the season. Curry finished the regular season 9-7, a vast improvement over last year’s 5-11 record.

“Our goal is just to get into the playoffs and maybe do something crazy,” says Hibbard, who started 15 of 16 games this season and finished with a .620 save percentage and a 9.93 goals-against average.

Hibbard says the window for him to do crazy things in life is fast shrinking. He hopes to one day earn a job in the communication industry, but he’s not ready yet  “to have a ‘big boy’ job.” While he’s eagerly anticipating living in Jackson Hole, Hibbard says that it would not be his final stop. He plans to live and work there for a while, but knows that he’ll eventually want to branch out yet again.

Ultimately, Hibbard says he wants to settle down in Colorado. He loves to ski and is intrigued by the area’s active culture.

As for lacrosse, Hibbard knows that his competitive playing days are all but over. And that’s OK.

PHOTO COURTESY OF CURRY ATHLETICS

“I’m not going to try to go pro or anything,” he says. “I understand that after this year my playing days will be behind me. I love the sport and I made some great friends playing, but I don’t plan on trying to play at the next level.”

Hibbard says he is proud of the foundation he helped build for the Curry men’s lacrosse program, particularly following the canceled season of four years ago. However, he has other things to focus on now. His lacrosse career is ending, but the rest of his life—wherever it may take him—is about to begin.

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