The NLL Continues To Thrill The Fans

With the third week of action in the books, the National Lacrosse League (NLL) and it’s players continue to take our breath away with outstanding games, breathtaking excitement, and made for Hollywood storylines.

The Season:

The league continues to keep fans engaged with exciting, often just one goal victories this year, showing how much parity there is in the league.  Although there have been a few blowout games, most have been close, an astounding 8 out 19 games have finished with just a one goal decision.  But even games that were blowouts had storylines that kept fans watching on baded breath.

Of Interest:

In one  of these games, the San Diego Seals beat the Colorado Mammoth 13-4.  Seals goalie Frank Scigliano became only the fourth goalie in NLL history to hold a team to four goals or less in a game.  The last time this happened was in 2010, when Bob “Whipper” Watson of the Toronto Rock beat the Rochester Knighthawks 17-3.  In a case of total irony, Bob Watson is now the goaltending coach for the San Diego Seals.

Another story of interest was the Rochester Knighthawks beating the Albany FireWolves 16-7 this past weekend.  The story that had everyone talking, including TMZ, was the goalie fight that happened early in the fourth quarter of the lopsided game.  Rylan Hartley of the Knighthawks squared off with Ethan Woods of the FireWolves for an entertaining battle of the backstops.  Even the Twitter feed went viral, having not only lacrosse circles talking, but many others as well.

The First Meeting Of A Former Team Hero:

Dane Dobbie made news in the off-season when after a long and illustrious career with the Calgary Roughnecks (culminating in a championship in the last full season of play in 2019), he signed as a free agent with the San Diego Seals.  The former Roughnecks captain made a statement scoring 7 goals, and adding another 2 assists in the Seals 17-12 victory this past weekend.  Some of the goals were finesse, and some just shear grit.  A picture of Dane made the news of him sitting on the bench with a battered, and bandaged face, showing just how tough he is.

Other Items The Fans Have Been Talking About:

Rhys Duch, who has played his entire career out west (Vancouver, and Calgary), signed with the Halifax Thunderbirds in the off season. He was set to have a great year on a very good team.  Rhys had four goals in his first game, and looked to fit in to the offense very nicely.  Early in a week two game against the Toronto Rock, Duch went down with an apparent knee injury, ending this promising season before it really got going.  I wish Rhys all the best to a speedy recovery, and rehab, allowing him to get back to playing as fast as he can.

In the bizarre column this past weekend, the Philadelphia Wings visited the Toronto Rock.  Wings goalie Zach Higgins was having another solid outing in net.  Near the end of the third quarter, Rock forward Rob Hellyer fired a howitzer of a shot at the Wings goaltender.  Higgins made the save, but went down in a heap.  A stunned arena of fans wondered what had happened?  Did the ball catch him in the throat?  As it turned out, the ball hit Higgins in the mask, and because of the velocity, and it being a rubber ball, it contorted, finding its way into the mask itself, hitting Higgins in the nose.  After a brief time of being attended to by trainors , fans were happy to see Zach leave under his own power, just holding a towel over his bloodied nose. 

TV and Social Media:

As mentioned in the off season, the deal with TSN & ESPN has been a shining jewel on the NLL’s crown.  The game calling of Teddy Jenner, and Brad Challoner has been nothing short of spectacular, adding insight, and great stories throughout the games, making this must see TV. 

The league has made the games accessible to those who can’t watch the game live, putting the finished games on their Facebook page the following day, getting as much positive exposure as they can possibly get.

Covid-19 and the season:

With the Omicron virus playing havoc with the NHL, and NBA, we can only hope that it doesn’t disrupt what has been a spectacular start to the new lacrosse season.  As of this publishing, there have only been a few cases, and with the Christmas break on the horizon, hopefully everyone can stay healthy to restart in a weeks time.

If the season continues in the direction it has started, this could very well be the greatest season the league has ever had, setting the bar even higher for years to come.  I am very confident with this management group at the helm, and with their love and commitment to the sport, this is just the beginning of many years of excitement for the players and fans alike.

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.