With a disappointing start to the season of 0-3, something obviously had to be done. Why was this team underperforming? Who would be the sacrificial lamb? Would there be moves? How would the team react?
The 2022-2023 Season:
There was a lot of hope and anticipation heading into the new season. A healthy Riptide team had left training camp with a strut, that they were going to be competitive in a very tough East Division of the NLL.
This was a fast team that had matured together the past few seasons under the guidance of Jim Veltman as the GM and Dan Ladouceur as the head coach. Having one of the best players in the game in Jeff Teat would also keep this team on course. A vibrant transition game with Damon Edwards and Scott Dominey would keep teams off balance. Steven Orleman in net now in his second full year would be more mature and savvy to NLL shooters.
A worst-case scenario would have this team facing the absolute best teams in the NLL the first three weeks of the year. It showed character but also showed flaws in the team.
San Diego was an experienced team of Allstars. The Riptide could leave this game with their head helds high, losing by only one goal. But for a controversial call at the end, this could’ve been a win as well. The next few games didn’t go as well. Lopsided losses to Halifax and Toronto had the team reeling.
Change in the Front Office:
On January 9th, the Riptide fired General Manager Jim Veltman, and e
Executive Vice President Rich Lisk took over his duties. Almost immediately, Lisk started making moves.
Changes in the Riptide lineup:
The first move Lisk made was trading Jake Fox to Panther City for their captain Chad Cummings. A veteran big body on defense would help sure things up around Orleman their goalie.
Although the Riptide dropped another game, this time to the surprisingly undefeated Rochester Knighthawks, there was a more competitive team once again.
Lisk then signed free agent Brett Hickey, who had been released from Calgary the week earlier. But he wasn’t finished there.
A blockbuster move changed the landscape of the Riptide for years to come. Gone was Callum Crawford, but incoming was Colton Lidstone, Petey LaSalla, Kevin Orleman, as well as draft picks in 4th round of ’23, and 2nd round of ’24, and ’25. Lisk wasn’t finished there. New York also traded Leo Stouros to Albany for Curtis Conley and a 3rd round pick in the ’25 draft.
While one game is no measuring stick, the Riptide went out and beat a good Albany team convincingly, 16-10. Brett Hickey paid immediate dividends with 6 points (2g,4a). Jeff Teat put the team on his back with a 12 point performance (7g,5a).
While Jim Veltman was not the reason the team started poorly, he was the big name needed to shake things up amongst the underperforming Riptide squad. The moves Lisk made changed the makeup of the team, as well as gave many more opportunities to them in the future with a pocketful of draft picks.
Time will tell if all the moves paid off, but for sheer impact, this has the entire league talking and taking notice.
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 in 2010. Through the podcasts, Mr. Groob was given an opportunity to write about lacrosse, and the rest as 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. Gary was also made an administrator of Lacrosse History Past Present and Future in 2022.
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).
Gary also hosts a Lacrosse talk show and podcast for The Edge of Philly Sports Network, seen live Sunday nights at 9pm (ET), and archived on the Edge of Philly YouTube page, as well as Spotify.
Mr. Groob’s other sports interests include Hockey, Football, Boxing, Wrestling, and Baseball, competing competitively in Boxing and Wrestling for many years.