Although it took a little more than half the season, the Panther City Lacrosse Club has found their mojo, and is putting the league on notice.
General Manager, Bob Hamley:
A 20-year veteran of the National Lacrosse League, serves as the General Manager and Vice President of Lacrosse Operations for the Panther City Lacrosse Club. He joined the club in September of 2020. Hamley played in the NLL for four years and won back-to-back championships with the Buffalo Bandits in 1992-1993. Following his playing career, Hamley has enjoyed a successful run as Head Coach and or General Manager for 16 years throughout the league.
Head Coach, Tracey Kelusky:
An NLL veteran compiling 823 points (383g, 440a) during his illustrious 14-year career. An assistant coach with the New England Blackwolves, before moving on to the Philadelphia Wings to serve as their offensive coach. In addition to his work with the NLL, Kelusky has served as an assistant coach with the Peterborough Lakers of Major Series Lacrosse, and he was also an assistant coach with Finland during the FIL World Indoor Lacrosse Championships in 2015. One of Tracey’s fortés is his patience, and ability to convey lessons to the younger players.
Offensive Coach, Dan Teat:
A perennial winner, Teat racked up 670 points in 211 games and won a Champions Cup with the Rochester Nighthawks during his rookie season in 1997. Dan won five Mann Cups playing for the Brampton Excelsiors, and won a sixth coaching them. Dan had an illustrious 14 year playing career that earned him a spot in the Ontario and Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
Experience as an assistant coach with the Buffalo Bandits, and coach of the Brampton Excelsiors (Senior A and Junior A) of the Ontario Lacrosse Association, Dan has continually demonstrated the ability to lead, and instill confidence in his lineups. Over this inaugural season, Dan is getting the most out of his team game in and game out, and the results of his hard work are definitely rubbing off on his impressionable team.
Defensive Coach, Steve Toll:
Steve won the NLL championship five times during his illustrious 14 year playing career (four with the Toronto Rock and one with the Rochester Knighthawks). After retiring from the NLL in 2011, Toll served as the Director of Operations for teams in the Canadian Lacrosse League.
Toll, who recently was inducted into the NLL Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2021 after a stellar NLL playing career, ran the offense with the Oshawa Outlaws of the Arena LacrosseLeague, but is no stranger to the “D’ end. Nicknamed “Speedy Stevie Toll” or “Toller”, Steve was a dominant transition specialist who changed the way the game was played from the “D” end.
The Team As A Whole:
A predominantly young team with some veteran leadership is a good description of this team. Impressionable, with good role models to guide the youth through their first year in the NLL.
Chad Cummings, Travis Cornwall, Jeremy Thompson, Matt Hossack, Will Malcom, Liam Byrnes, and Phil Caputo have led by example, showing what it takes to be a consummate professional. Having a solid veteran goalie in Nick Damude also helps cover up the inevitable mistakes that will happen with an expansion team.
You can’t talk about top rookies without having Patrick Dodds name come up. Leading the team in points and assists, Dodd is a major contributer to the team.
Nathan Grenon has made the transition from Junior to NLL without much problem, even getting his first career hat trick this past weekend.
Dean Fairall is finally getting his chance to play in the NLL at age 27, and is making the most of his opportunity. In five games, Dean has scored 11 goals, and had 12 assists, making an immediate impact.
Cam Milligan, although not a rookie, is really getting his first opportunity to shine in a leaders role of the team. Cam has scored 6 goals, and added 18 assists in the four games he’s played for Panther City.
The Second Half Of The Season:
Even though the team struggled out of the gate, recently the team has put together a four game winning streak, in which they have scored 62 goals on some very stingy defenses.
This team has put the league on notice that Panther City is not your typical expansion team. With first overall pick in this year’s entry draft Jonathan Donville, as well as veteran offensive superstar Randy Staats (recovering from injury this year) joining the team next season, these guys will only get stronger next year.
The future is very bright in the State of Texas.
Don’t forget to check out Gary and his co-host Candid Frank Stanisci on their “NLL Lacrosse Talk” Show.
Their guest this past week was Hall of Famer Gavin Prout
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.