In their inaugural National Lacrosse League season, the New York Riptide were 1-12 before the campaign was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A deeper look into the numbers shows that a big reason why the expansion team struggled was that they allowed a league high 177 goals. So, when the new regime of General Manager Jim Veltman and Head Coach Dan Ladouceur went to work in re-shaping the roster for the 2020-21 season, shoring up the defensive end was a major item on the team’s to-do list.
The Riptide took a major step in shoring up the back end on September 17th when they acquired defenseman Darryl Robertson from the Rochester Knighthawks. The 6-foot right-handed shot, a native of Whitby, Ontario in Canada, has racked up 84 loose balls during his NLL career to go along with16 turnovers caused, two goals and 11 assists.
Robertson was all smiles when he found out about the trade because he likes the direction of the team, especially with the selection of Jeff Teat from Cornell University first overall and then Matieu Boissonneault from Canisius and Robertson’s former junior team the Whitby Warriors was taken 17th overall. Robertson also already has experience playing for Head Coach Dan Ladouceur, Offensive Coordinator Jason Crosbie and Defensive Coordinator Pat Jones.
“I was kind of happy actually,” said Robertson who signed a two-year deal with the Riptide on Tuesday. “The team is there. It just takes a couple of years of growth and getting younger guys. They drafted well this year so I’m excited for the next couple of years. Those are some excellent players to play with. I know it’s going to be a good team with the coaches that I’ve had over the years that are coaching now. I know what they expect and I know this team is on the right path.”
Robertson Brings Experience To The Riptide:
Robertson was drafted by the Toronto Rock with the 52nd overall pick in the 2014 NLL Draft. Over the past two seasons, he played in 25 games for Rochester and, along with Captain Dan MacRae, will try and get the defensive group heading in the right direction next season.
“We feel Darryl is on the verge of becoming a consistent and reliable defenseman in the NLL,” said Riptide General Manager Jim Veltman. “We look forward to adding his athletic contributions to our back end.”
Given his past experience in the National Lacrosse League, Robertson believes that he can help make an impact and settle things down defensively on Long Island with the Riptide.
“I think so,” said Thompson who won a Minto Cup with his hometown Whitby Warriors in 2013 and went on to play for Brampton and Cobourg of Major Series Lacrosse after moving up from the junior lacrosse ranks.
“I’m pretty calm back there. I try not to get too much chasing around. It takes a bit to get into this league because sometimes there’s such good players that you get caught out of position pretty quick so it does take a bit of adjusting. With the experience I think I have from the season I had two years ago and then last year, I think I can help their team get better.”
Just like so many other players in the NLL, Robertson is waiting patiently to find out when the 2020-21 season will start as North America continues to navigate through the coronavirus pandemic. When the 2019-20 season was suspended in March, Robertson was able to stay busy after putting together a person gym in his garage. He bought a squat rack and weights and also bought a bike.
“I’ve stayed pretty busy but missing lacrosse for sure,” said Robertson.
Robertson Wants To Help The Riptide Grow The Sport On Long Island:
When he does arrive on Long Island to play for the Riptide, Robertson will do his part to help grow the game of box lacrosse in the New York area. From his days growing up and playing lacrosse in Canada, Robertson was aware of just how big lacrosse is in this area and he’s excited to be a part of it.
“I always knew when I younger travelling down to the states for field stuff, that a lot of good teams came out of Long Island so I always knew that it was a hotbed for lacrosse,” said Robertson. “I’m pretty excited to get down there and do some camps with some kids and try to get box lacrosse big in that area.”
The Riptide were very active in the community before and during the inaugural season and those efforts have continued during the pandemic. Once Darryl Robertson arrives in market, he’ll be a big part of those efforts but will also play a huge role in preventing opposing teams from scoring and helping the Riptide towards become a playoff contender.