Swift happy to swim with Sharks

by Mike Barba || AHL On The Beat Archive

When the Worcester Sharks looked at their schedule and saw the Albany Devils in the past, Michael Swift and his agitating ways would immediately come to mind.

The former Devil is one of the league’s most instigating players, and now finds himself wearing teal and living in Worcester.

After a trade that saw captain defenseman Jay Leach and center Steve Zalewski of the Sharks go to Albany, the Sharks added forward Patrick Davis and a hardnosed player in center Mike Swift.

The 23-year-old Swift has been true to his former team’s name during his career, playing a devilish style of hockey. Standing at approximately 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds, the native of Peterborough, Ont., has been agitating the opposition since 2008 when he broke into the AHL with the Lowell Devils.

“I remember we got into a couple of battles back in his Lowell days,” recalled Sharks forward Dan DaSilva when asked about his new teammate.

Though the Devils changed cities, moving from Lowell to Albany over the summer, it’s been the same Mike Swift on the ice.

“He’s definitely one of those feisty players who will get under your skin,” added DaSilva.

Aside from an in-your-face style of play, Swift has been an offensive threat on the ice as well. Swift led the Devils in goals, netting 24 in 76 games played, during the 2009-10 campaign.

Before coming to Worcester, Swift was leading Albany in goals this season, and continues to be a player capable of contributing to a game in multiple ways.

“He’s definitely not just an agitator given the fact he has 16 goals this season,” DaSailva said. “He’s more than a one-dimensional player.”

Worcester fans may recall former Sharks forward Riley Armstrong, whose style of play was very similar to Swift’s. At 5-11 and 180 pounds, Armstrong was known to get under the skin of the opposition himself. Like Swift though, he was not a one-dimensional player by any stretch. During the 2008-09 season for Worcester, he led the team with 25 goals.

The trade to the Sharks came as a big shock to Swift, who was on his way to dinner when he received a phone call informing him of it.

“I had no idea it was coming, it was a total surprise,” said Swift. “You never know what’s going to happen, but it’s just the nature of the business.”

Swift had little time to adjust, lacing up for the Worcester Sharks just two nights later in Springfield against the Falcons.

“It was nice to just get right into it,” said Swift of his first game.

Given Swift’s aggressive style of play, he is a less than desirable opponent on the ice. Swift has been known to drop the gloves when need be, and he knew that his new teammates did not particularly enjoy playing against him in the past.

“Every time you play against another team, you hate those guys. They’re the enemy to me,” said Swift of his competition.

When he arrived to Worcester his new teammates, once adversaries, assured him that they would rather he be on their side than the other.

“This is a great bunch of guys, they let me know they loved having me on the team and not having to get hacked and wacked by me anymore,” said Swift with a laugh, “I’m just happy to be here, and on a team that’s been so successful.”

During his last games in Albany, Swift found himself on a team in the middle of a five-game losing streak. In coming to the Worcester Sharks, however, Swift found himself part of a team that had won five straight and is making a run at the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Swift, who will make his home debut with the Sharks on Wednesday, is focused on playing well and winning hockey games. “While I’m here, I just want to help the team continue to win.”

The Sharks will look for the aggressive style of play and offensive threat that Swift brings on the ice to be a contributing factor the rest of the way this season, as they fight for another shot at the Calder Cup.