Lacrosse Editorial – Parity in the NLL, and New Stars on the Horizon

I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but have you ever seen a professional league with such parity, that literally anyone could win on any given night? 

Just an example:

This past weekend there were five games played in the National Lacrosse League (NLL).  In those games, four were one goal victories, and one was a two goal victory.  To go even further, of those four one goal victories, two of those games went into overtime….with one of those overtime games almost using the entire quarter to score! 

How even are these teams?!?

Photo courtesy of NLL on Instagram

The League’s Younger Talent:

Although the NLL’s veteran players are still leading their teams, we have seen junior players ready to be great forces for many years to come.

Jeff Teat:

In his Junior A career, had 577 points on 213 goals and 364 assists in 98 regular season games and added 257 points on 95 goals and 162 assists in 45 career playoff games. In 2019, saw action in 18 games as a rookie for the Brampton Excelsiors in Major Series, finishing his first season with 80 points on 36 goals and 44 assists. Earned the Bucko MacDonald Trophy as the MSL’s regular season leading scorer and the Gene Dopp Trophy as the MSL Rookie of the Year.

Selected in the first round (1st overall) in the 2020 NLL Entry Draft. Three-time USILA All-American and a four-time Inside Lacrosse Media All-American. First player in Cornell University history to be selected No. 1 overall in an NLL Draft, and the third lacrosse player ever to be selected first overall in both indoor and outdoor professional lacrosse leagues.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Teat on Instagram

Austin Shanks:

Played his Junior “A” ball with the Whitby Warriors and won a Minto Cup in 2013… Led the OLA in goals in 2014 and was second in points… Named league MVP and most outstanding player in 2015, while leading the circuit in points… Registered 129 goals and 140 assists in 72 regular season games with Whitby from 2010-15… He has spent parts of four seasons with the Brooklin Redmen of Major Series Lacrosse, posting 55 goals and 50 assists in 31 games.

Completed his third season in the NLL and third with the franchise…In 2020 played in 9 games with 16 goals and 16 assists… In 2019 finished third on the team in goals (23) and points (48)… Posted a career-high seven goals and eight points on 1/26/19… Named to the NLL All-Rookie Team.

This past weekend against the Toronto Rock, Austin scored 5 goals, and added 3 assists, but more importantly, was a leader on the floor for his team.

Patrick Dodds:

Dodds was the 21st selection in the 2020 NLL Draft by the Calgary Roughnecks from the Victoria Shamrocks. Hailing from Victoria, British Columbia, Dodds led the Shamrocks to the Minto Cup in 2019.  Claimed by the Panther City Lacrosse Club (PCLC) in the 2021 expansion draft, Patrick was expected to be a force on offense, and hasn’t disappointed.  In 5 games this year, Dodds has scored 7 goals, and added 13 assists.

This past weekend Patrick had 3 goals, and added 5 assists, helping PCLC to its first win in team history.

Photo courtesy of Patrick Dodds on Instagram

Tehoka Nanticoke:

The Bandits selected Nanticoke in the first round of the 2021 NLL Entry Draft (No. 3 overall).  Nanticoke was the No. 1 high school lacrosse recruit in 2017 and played collegiately at the University of Albany.  In 40 career games for the Great Danes from 2017 to 2021, Nanticoke recorded 170 points (109+61) and picked up 45 ground balls.

Nanticoke led Albany in goals (50) and points (82) as a freshman in 2018 and was named the America East Rookie of the Year. Tehoka was also named to the America East All-Conference First Team in both 2018 and 2019.  A native of Six Nations, Ontario, Nanticoke was a member of the Iroquois Nationals at the 2019 World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor World Championships.

Photo courtesy of Tehoka Nanticoke on Instagram

TD Ierlan:

An All-Time NCAA Faceoff Percentage Leader with Albany, Yale, and Denver, Ierlan won an unbelievable 75.3% of his faceoffs which is the highest by any player in NCAA DI history with 500 or more attempts. 

In two of the three games he’s played for the Toronto Rock, Ierlan faced Trevor Baptiste, and Jake Withers, two of the very best faceoff men in the game today.  He was able to match them faceoff for faceoff at a 48% winning percentage.  In the other game, he won a monster 18 of 22 faceoffs.  As TD gets more comfortable with the box game, he will be a major force in NLL for years to come.

Jackson Suboch:

Suboch started over 75% of all collegiate games at UMass…recorded 56 groundballs and 38 caused turnovers during his career. Jackson helped UMass rank first in the CAA in caused turnovers per game (9.71) and man-down defense (.767), which also ranked ninth and 15th across NCAA Division I, respectively…Member of the Mimico Minor Lacrosse Association for Upper Canada College…Member of the Canada Lacrosse U19 Team at the FIL Men’s World Championship.

Suboch was drafted in the first round (16th overall) to the Philadelphia Wings. 

These are only a few talents whom I chose for examples.  The league has many other younger standouts who will be forces for many years to come.

The Mix:

The league also boasts veteran players like Dane Dobbie, Kevin Crowley, Rob Hellyer, Mark Matthews, Josh Byrne, Wes Berg, Shawn Evans, as well as many, many others.  Each and every game you will be treated to the best players in the world (veteran and rookie) showing off their skills and finesse. 

Photo courtesy of Wes Berg on Instagram

It is a very exciting time to be a lacrosse fan, experiencing the “Fastest Game On Two Feet” with the greatest players the world has to offer every game!

Don’t forget to check out Gary and his co-host Candid Frank Stanisci on “NLL Lacrosse Talk” … this week their guest is former NLL Referee Chet Couture

Gary Groob
Gary Groob

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.