Now that the season has ended, and we are into the playoffs, it is time to start thinking about year end awards. Here are my picks and reasoning for some of the more recognizable awards.
Most Valuable Player:
Matt Vinc – Buffalo Bandits
The Bandits wouldn’t be where they are without his exceptional goaltending game in and game out. Vinc also played in every game this season for the Bandits.
By The Numbers:
18 GP, Won-Lost 14-4, 10.10 GAA, 747 Saves, 179 Goals Against, .807 Save %
Transition Player of the Year:
Reid Bowering – Vancouver Warriors
A juggernaut on the Warriors defensive crew, and a large part of the Vancouver resurgence. Reid made them a very exciting team to watch this year. Bowering broke Zach Currier’s rookie record for caused turnovers this year with 34, and also tied Brodie Merrill’s rookie record for loose balls.
By the numbers:
13 G, 12 A, 25 Pts., 17 Turnovers, 34 Caused Turnovers, 214 Loose Balls.
Defensive Player of the Year:
Zach Currier – Calgary Roughnecks
What can’t Currier do? A stallworth on defense, a better than 50% faceoff man, as well as 19 pts. (10 G, 9 A) in transition. Zach leads a very strong, yet swift Roughnecks defense. Add Christian Del Bianco in net, and you create problems for offenses all over the league.
By The Numbers:
18 GP, 10 G, 9 A, 19 Pts., 14 Turnovers, 62 Caused Turnovers.
Faceoffs – 54 of 95 .568 %
Currier broke the old record for caused turnovers of 61 set by Kyle Rubisch in 2014.
Goalie Of The Year:
Nick Rose – Toronto Rock
Rose has been absolutely spectacular in the Rock’s net this year. When the offense wasn’t clicking, Rose was stellar, not letting any game get out of hand. Nick’s consistent goaltending gave Toronto a chance to win every game this year. Rose is a big reason that Toronto was the hottest team in the league winning 11 of their last 13 games.
By The Numbers:
18 GP, Won-Lost 13-3, 9.05 GAA, 618 Saves, 152 GA, .803 Save %
Rookie Of The Year:
Jeff Teat – New York Riptide
Jeff has had a storybook start to his professional career. A standout in Junior for the Brampton Excelsiors, an NCAA standout for Cornell, as well as a great rookie year in the Premier Lacrosse League. Teat didn’t disappoint in the NLL either. Jeff has a knack of being able to see the play develop before it fully develops, always seemingly to be at the right place at the right time. The first rookie to score over 100 points, Teat was a major contributer to the New York Riptide throughout the season, making them one of the most explosive offenses in the league.
By The Numbers:
16 GP, 37 G, 71 A, 108 Pts., 111 Loose Balls, 69 Turnovers, 11 Caused Turnovers.
Les Bartley Award for Coach Of The Year:
Matt Sawyer – Toronto Rock
Although the Rock started the season 2-3, this team endured lockdowns, empty arenas, injuries and Covid-19 protocols, still almost winning the East Division. This team went 11-2 down the stretch, with all aspects of the team running like a well oiled machine. His staff has the team primed and ready for a strong playoff run. Through Sawyer’s composed guidance, Matt could lead the Rock to their first championship since 2011.
GM Of The Year:
Jim Veltman – New York Riptide
Taking over a team that only had one win, and turning them into one that other teams worry about playing is nothing short of remarkable. A mixture of youth and veteran leadership, it’s only a matter of time before New York starts competing for a championship themselves. Through his experience as a player, and coach, his savvy moves has put the Riptide in a good position for years to come.
Gary Groob has been involved with Lacrosse for the majority of his life, whether playing, coaching, or covering the sport for the media.
An avid fan, with a real drive about helping to “grow the game”, Gary became part of podcasts about the game 10 years ago. Through the podcasts, he made an association with Kevin Neibauer of Lax Philly, who convinced him to come on board and write for them. The rest they say is history.
Through many miles (flying and driving) Gary has made inroads with the National Lacrosse League, Major Series Lacrosse League, the Ontario Lacrosse Association, as well as the Arena Lacrosse League, covering the leagues, their teams, and players, working for, and in concert with all of them.
In the year 2020, Mr. Groob was made the media person for the Arena Lacrosse League, voted onto the board of directors of the Brampton Excelsiors Lacrosse Club, as well as being made administrator of the Lacrosse page “Global Lacrosse” with a membership of 9000 members in over 90 Countries.
Mr. Groob co-hosts a weekly Lacrosse show on Spanglish Sports World, and ZingoTV channel 250, as well as writes a weekly lacrosse column for La Portada Canada News (both in print, and online).
Mr. Groob’s other sports interests include Hockey, Football, Boxing, Wrestling, and Baseball, competing competitively in Boxing and Wrestling for many years.