Lacrosse and the Dunning-Kruger effect

From 2011 to 2019, I wrote roughly an article a week for NLL Chatter. This past season, I posted a couple of prediction articles before the season, a couple after, and only a handful of articles during the season itself. It was related to a lack of confidence on my part though until recently, I couldn’t explain why. It came down to “I won’t bother writing about last night’s game because nobody will care what I think about it”.

I have since decided that the cause is what’s known as the Dunning-Kruger effect.

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The NLL Pronunciation Guide 2020

It’s back again! The complete list of verified (as much as possible, anyway) pronunciations for difficult-to-pronounce names in the NLL including players, coaches, executives, and media.

Thanks as always to Stephen Stamp for his help in verifying the pronunciations. Please let me know (in the comments, or hit me up on Twitter) if I got any wrong!

Names are organized alphabetically within teams.

Buffalo

Kevin Brownell – brow-NELL. brow rhymes with “cow”. Not BROWN-ull.

Doug Buchan – BUCK-in

Josh Byrne – BURN

Chris Cloutier – CLOO-chay

Chase Fraser – FRAY-zer, not FRAY-zher

Matt Gilray – GILL-ray

Jon Harnett – har-NET

Marcus Minichiello – MIN-ih-kee-EL-o

Chukwuemeka Okaeme – CHOO-kuh-o-MEE-kuh o-KAY-me

Steve Priolo – pree-O-lo

Dhane Smith – DANE

Matt Spanger – SPANG-er. Like hanger but with an SP instead

Matt Vinc – like the name “Vince”. Not VINK.

Nick Weiss – WEES

Calgary

Reece Callies – REES CAL-ees

Christian del Bianco – dell bee-AN-ko

Dane Dobbie – DOUGH-bee. Not like Dobby.

Rhys Duch – REES DUTCH

Greg Harnett – har-NET

Zach Herreweyers – HAIR-wires (not HAY-wires as many say and as I had in previous years)

Anthony Kalinich – KAL-in-itch

Ryan Martel – mar-TELL

Eli Salama – sa-LA-ma

Colorado

Scott Carnegie – CAR-nuh-gee (hard g)

Joey Cupido – koo-PEE-doe. Not KYOO-pid-o or KOO-pid-o.

Jordan Gilles – GILL-ess. Not the same as Brad Gillies on Halifax.

Dylan Kinnear – kih-NEER

Eli McLaughlin – E-lie muh-GLOCK-lin

Jacob Ruest – His mom says roo-EH where EH is pronounced like the e in “best”. Jacob says roo-AY is fine.

Georgia

Alex Crepinsek – CREP-in-seck

Ryan MacSpadyen – mick-SPADGE-en

Kevin Orleman – OR-luh-min

Mike Poulin – POO-lin

Randy Staats – STOTS. Rhymes with “slots”. Not STATS.

Leo Stouros – STIR-us. According to Leo, it “rhymes with thermos”.

Kasen Tarbell – KAY-sen. Like Jason, but with a K.

Adam Wiedemann – WEED-uh-min

Halifax

GRAY-um HOSS-ickJames Barclay – BAR-klay

Ryan Benesch – buh-NESH

Chris Boushy – BOO-shee

Pete Dubenski – doo-BEN-skee

Eric Fannell – fuh-NELL

Brad Gillies – GILL-ees. Not the same as Jordan Gilles on Colorado.

Graeme Hossack – GRAY-um HOSS-ick

Stephen Keogh – KEY-o. Not KEY-ho

Luc Magnan – LUKE MAG-nun

Clarke Petterson – PETE-er-sin

Trevor Smyth – like SMITH

Nonkon Thompson – NUN-go

Luke Van Schepen – van SHEP-en

New England

Mike Byrne – BURN

Nick Chaykowsky – chay-KOW-skee

Callum Crawford – CAL-um. Not CAY-lum.

Jordan Durston – DER-stun

Dave Emala – EM-a-la

Andrew Kew – Q

John LaFontaine – LA-fon-tane

Stephan Leblanc – STEFF-in luh-BLONK. Not steh-FAWN and not luh-BLANK.

Joe Nardella – nar-DELL-uh

Jackson Nishimura – ni-shi-MOOR-uh

Creighton Reid – CRAY-tun

Joe Resatarits – res-uh-TARE-its

New York

Gowah Abrams – GO-uh

Alex Buque – boo-KAY

Jean-Luc Chetner – ZHON-luke CHET-ner

Ryan Fournier – FOORN-yay

Dan Lomas – LOW-mus

Kieran McArdle – KEER-un muh-KAR-dl

Brooker Muir – MYOOR

Leland Powless – LEE-land

Cody Radziewicz – RAZ-a-witz

Philadelphia

Trevor Baptiste – bap-TEEST

Liam Byrnes – BURNS

Steph Charbonneau – STEFF char-buh-no. Since it’s French, the stress is sort of evenly placed throughout, or even char-buh-NO, but the Anglicized version is SHAR-buh-no.

Kevin Crowley – KROW-lee. Not like the bird. KROW rhymes with “cow”.

Isaiah Davis-Allen – eye-ZAY-uh

Anthony Joaquim – JOKE-um

Kiel Matisz – KYLE muh-TEEZ

Blaze Riorden – REER-dun

Eric Shewell – SHOO-ull

Cory Vitarelli – vit-uh-REL-ee

Daryl Waud – WOD

Rochester

Phil Caputo – ka-POO-toe

Holden Cattoni – ka-TONE-ee

Julian Garritano – gar-uh-TAN-o

Tyler Gaulton – GOLL-ton

Rylan Hartley – RY-lin. There’s an L in there. It’s not Ryan.

Dan Lintner – LINT-ner. There are two N’s in there, not LINT-er or LIT-ner.

Dan Michel – MICK-ell. Like nickel but with an M

Pat Saunders – SAWN-ders. Not SAND-ers.

Jay Thorimbert – THOR-im-burt

Craig Wende – Like the name Wendy

San Diego

Oliver Bolsterli – BOWL-stir-lee

Mike Carnegie – CAR-nuh-gee (hard g)

Brandon Clelland – CLELL-and

Nick Damude – DAY-mood

Garrett Epple – EPP-il

Mark Glicini – gli-SEE-nee

Eli Gobrecht – GO-breckt

Connor Kearnan – KEER-nan

Tor Reinholdt – RINE-holt

Mikie Schlosser – SHLOS-er

Frank Scigliano – shill-ee-ANN-o

Austin Staats – STOTS

Saskatchewan

Chris Corbeil – cor-BEEL

Matt Hossack – HOSS-ick

Mike Messenger – MESS-in-jer

Kyle Rubisch – ROO-bish

Adam Shute – SHOOT

Toronto

Scott Dominey – DOM-in-ee

Latrell Harris – la-TREL

Billy Hostrawser – HO-straw-zer

Brad Kri – KREE

Reid Reinholdt – REED RINE-holt

Challen Rogers – CHA-lin

Tom Schreiber – SHRY-ber

Alec Tulett – tuh-LET (here’s proof)

Vancouver

Keegan Bal – BALL

Nik Bilic – BEE-leech according to Nik himself. Many people say bee-LEETCH which he’s apparently OK with. Not BILL-ick or BILL-itch.

Tyler Codron – COD-run

Riley Loewen – LOW-en

Joel McCready – muh-CREED-ee

Chris O’Dougherty – O DORT-ee. Or O DOUGH-erty if you say it slowly.

James Rahe – RAY

Logan Schuss – SHUSS (rhymes with BUS). Not SHUSH, SHOOSH, or SHOOS.

Bob Snider – SNY-der. Not SHNY-der.

Warriors – WOR-ee-ers. It’s a pet peeve of mine when people say it quickly enough that it sounds like WOYERS. Three syllables, people.

Coaches & Execs

Ed Comeau – kuh-MO. Swarm head coach.

Jamie Dawick – DOW-ick. DOW rhymes with “cow”. Owner & GM of the Rock.

Clem D’Orazio – duh-RAZZ-ee-o. Black Wolves assistant coach.

Steve Govett – GUV-it. President of the San Diego Seals.

Mike Hasen – HAY-zen. Not HAN-sen. Knighthawks head coach.

Tracey Kelusky – kuh-LUSS-key. Wings assistant coach.

Darris Kilgour – DARE-iss KILL-gore. Not DARE-ee-us. Former Bandits coach/GM.

Dan Ladouceur – ladda-SIR. Assistant coach of the Swarm.

Curt Malawsky – muh-LAW-skee. Roughnecks head coach.

Nick Sakiewicz – sic-KEV-itch. NLL commish.

Kaleb Toth – KAY-leb TOE-th, not TAW-th. Former NLL player and coach. Hearing Toth’s name mispronounced on a broadcast (after a decade as a star in the league) was the inspiration for the very first pronunciation guide.

First Nations terms

Haudenosaunee – HO-dun-uh-SHO-nee. The collective name for the people belonging to the Six Nations: Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora.

Iroquois – In Canada it’s EAR-uh-kwa, in the US it’s EAR-uh-kwoy. Another name for the Haudenosaunee people.

Tewaarton – tuh-WAHR-tun. The Mohawk name for the sport of lacrosse and the name of the award given annually to the top American college lacrosse player.

Place names

Coquitlam – ko-KWIT-lum. Town in greater Vancouver, BC, home to lots of NLL players. Note that Port Coquitlam (aka Poco) is nearby but is a different town.

New Westminster – noo west-MIN-ster. Often shortened to just New West. Note that it’s not MIN-is-ter – there is only one i. Also part of the greater Vancouver area and also home to lots of NLL players.

Saskatchewan – Well, it’s complicated. I got in trouble a few years ago because I listed it as “sas-CATCH-uh-won” which is how I’ve been pronouncing it all my life, but apparently that’s wrong. The last syllable shouldn’t be “won”, and it shouldn’t really be “win” either. It should be “wən” where the ə symbol is a “schwa”, indicating an “unstressed and toneless central vowel sound”. Say it like there is no vowel there at all, like “sas-CATCH-uh-wn”. And some locals pronounce the first syllable as “sis” rather than “sas”, though I’d say the first vowel should also be a schwa. The end result is səs-CATCH-uh-wən.

Saskatoon – sas-ka-TOON. The emphasis in the word Saskatchewan is on the second syllable while in the word Saskatoon it’s on the third.

Toronto – tor-ON-toe. Or TRON-uh if you’re a Torontonian.

Other

Steve Bermel – BERM-ull. Rhymes with “thermal”. Bandits colour commentator.

Brad Challoner – CHALL-ah-ner. Brad says it’s like “challenger” without the g. Warriors broadcaster.

Melissa Dafni – DAF-nee. One of my co-hosts on Addicted to Lacrosse.

Pete Dalliday – DAL-i-day. Thunderbirds play-by-play guy.

Tyler Fitch – TY-ler FITCH. My other co-host on Addicted to Lacrosse.

Tyson Geick – GUYK. Like Geico without the o. Big Lacrosse Flash team guy.

Pat Gregoire – greg-WAHR. Thunderbirds colour guy and popular podcast guest.

Marisa Ingemi – muh-RISS-a in-JEM-ee. Boston Herald hockey reporter but used to write about lacrosse.

Devan Kaney – DEV-in KAY-nee. NLL content producer and host.

Adam Levi – LEE-vee. NLL and Lacrosse Flash contributor. Big team AND big stats guy.

Ty Merrow – MARE-o. Like bone marrow. Rhymes with Perrow, if that helps. Writer for the Georgia Swarm.

Tehoka Nanticoke: day-HO-ga NAN-ti-coke. No, he’s not an NLL player but he will be someday and if you follow lacrosse at all, you’ve likely heard his name.

Graeme Perrow – GRAY-um PAIR-o. It’s-a me!

Craig Rybczynski – rib-CHIN-skee but apparently “rib-ZIN-skee” is acceptable. Knighthawks broadcaster.

Evan Schemenauer – SHEM-en-our. Lacrosse blogger over at laxallstars.com and co-host of the Lacrosse Classified podcast.

Stephen Stamp – STEE-ven. STAMP-er is also acceptable. IL Indoor writer and editor, podcaster, name pronunciation verifier.

The NLL Pronunciation Guide 2019

It’s back and better than ever! The complete list of NLL people with weird, hard-to-pronounce, and not-that-hard-to-pronounce-but-people-get-it-wrong-anyway names, and how to say them properly. I’ve basically copied last year’s list, moved players to their new teams, added some rookies and players I missed, and added an entire paragraph on the word “Saskatchewan” which I’m sure some people will tell me is still wrong. I also added a few First Nations terms commonly heard in the lacrosse world.

Thanks again this year to Stephen Stamp for confirming these pronunciations. Stamper and I both confirmed many of these with the players themselves or their families, so thanks to them as well.

Names are organized alphabetically within teams.

Buffalo

Kevin Brownell – brow-NELL. brow rhymes with “cow”. Not BROWN-ull.

Josh Byrne – BURN

Jordan Durston – DER-stun

Chase Fraser – FRAY-zer, not FRAY-zher

Matt Gilray – GILL-ray

Zach Herreweyers – HAIR-wires (not HAY-wires as many say and as I had in previous years)

Thomas Hoggarth – HO-garth

Steve Priolo – pree-O-lo

Dhane Smith – DANE

Matt Spanger – SPANG-er. Like hanger but with an SP instead

Mark Steenhuis – STAIN-house

Matt Vinc – like the name “Vince”. Not VINK.

Nick Weiss – WEES

KYLE muh-TEASE (Photo: HamiltonLacrosse.com)Calgary

Chris Boushy – BOO-shee

Reece Callies – REES CAL-ees

Mike Carnegie – CAR-nuh-gee (hard g)

Christian del Bianco – dell bee-AHN-ko

Dane Dobbie – DOUGH-bee. Not like Dobby.

Rhys Duch – REES DUTCH. Frequently pronounced through sobs in Vancouver this year.

Greg Harnett – har-NET

Anthony Kalinich – KAL-in-itch. I had ka-LIN-itch last year, but that’s wrong.

Riley Loewen – LOW-en. LOW is like the word “low”, not rhyming with “cow”. Interesting aside: the original German pronunciation would be like “LER-ven” but without pronouncing the R (there’s no really good equivalent in English). Loewen is an alternate spelling of Löwen, the German word for “lions”.

Ryan Martel – mar-TELL

Eli Salama – sa-LA-ma

Colorado

Ryan Benesch – buh-NESH

Scott Carnegie – CAR-nuh-gee (hard g)

Joey Cupido – koo-PEE-doe. Not KYOO-pid-o or KOO-pid-o.

Julian Garritano – gar-uh-TAN-o

Jordan Gilles – GILL-ess. Not the same as Brad Gillies on Rochester.

Stephen Keogh – KEY-o

Eli McLaughlin – E-lie muh-GLOCK-lin

Jacob Ruest – roo-EH where EH is pronounced like the e in “best”. Not roo-AY.

Dillon Ward – WOL

Georgia

Holden Cattoni – ka-TONE-ee

Alex Crepinsek – CREP-in-seck

Kevin Orleman – OR-luh-min

Mike Poulin – POO-lin

Randy Staats – STOTS. Rhymes with “slots”. Not STATS.

Leo Stouros – STIR-us. According to Leo, it “rhymes with thermos”.

Jerome Thompson – Prefers to to be called Hiana, pronounced HY-nuh

Adam Wiedemann – WEED-uh-min

New England

Alex Buque – boo-KAY. However apparently when playing in junior, he pronounced it rhyming with “spook”.

Nick Chaykowsky – chay-KOW-skee

Callum Crawford – CAL-um. Not CAY-lum.

Dave Emala – EM-a-la

Ryan Fournier – FOORN-yay

John LaFontaine – LA-fon-tane

Stephan Leblanc – STEFF-in luh-BLONK. Not steh-FAWN and not luh-BLANK.

Jackson Nishimura – ni-shi-MOOR-uh

Philadelphia

Trevor Baptiste – bap-TEEST

Doug Buchan – BUCK-in

Liam Byrnes – BURNS

Steph Charbonneau – STEFF CHAR-buh-no

Chris Cloutier – CLOO-chay

Kevin Crowley – KROW-lee. Not like the bird. KROW rhymes with “cow”.

Davide DiRuscio – DAY-vid dih-ROOSH-ee-o

Vaughn Harris – VON

Anthony Joaquim – JOKE-um, unlike teammate Joakim Miller

Chet Koneczny – kuh-NEKTS-nee. Direct from Chet: “connects-knee”

Kiel Matisz – KYLE muh-TEASE

Joakim Miller – YOKE-um, unlike teammate Anthony Joaquim

Adam Osika – o-SEE-kuh

Blaze Riorden – REER-dun

Eric Shewell – SHOO-ull

Rochester

James Barclay – BAR-klay

Eric Fannell – fuh-NELL

Brad Gillies – GILL-ees. Not the same as Jordan Gilles on Colorado.

Graeme Hossack – GRAY-um HOSS-ick

Luc Magnan – LUKE MAG-nun

Greg Puskuldjian – pus-KOOL-jee-in. Thanks Connor Wilson

Joe Resetarits – res-uh-TARE-its

Pat Saunders – SAWN-ders. Not SAND-ers.

Luke Van Schepen – van SHEP-in

Cory Vitarelli – vit-uh-REL-ee

San Diego

Brandon Clelland – CLELL-and

Garrett Epple – EPP-il. Sounds like a South African saying “apple”.

Rylan Hartley – RY-lin. There’s an L in there. It’s not Ryan.

Connor Kearnan – KEER-nin

Tor Reinholdt – RINE-holt

Mike Schlosser – SHLOS-er

Ethan Schott – SHOT

Frank Scigliano – shill-ee-ANN-o

Adrian Sorichetti – sore-i-KET-ee

Austin Staats – STOTS

Saskatchewan

Nik Bilic – BEE-leech according to Nik himself. Many people say bee-LEETCH which he’s apparently OK with. Not BILL-ick or BILL-itch.

Chris Corbeil – cor-BEEL

Nick Finlay – FIN-lee

Tyler Gaulton – GOLL-tun

Matt Hossack – HOSS-ick

Mike Messenger – MESS-in-jer

Brett Mydske – MID-skee

Kyle Rubisch – ROO-bish

Adam Shute – SHOOT. I love that there’s a goalie named SHOOT. Like former major league pitcher Bob Walk.

Saskatchewan – Well, it’s complicated. I got in trouble last year because I listed it as “sas-CATCH-uh-won” which is how I’ve been pronouncing it all my life, but apparently that’s wrong. The last syllable shouldn’t be “won”, and it shouldn’t really be “win” either. It should be “wən” where the ə symbol is a “schwa”, indicating an “unstressed and toneless central vowel sound”. Say it like there is no vowel there at all, like “sas-CATCH-uh-wn”. And some locals pronounce the first syllable as “sis” rather than “sas”, though I’d say the first vowel should also be a schwa. The end result is səs-CATCH-uh-wən. Or just say “the Rush” or do like Brian Shanahan and say “Saskatoon”.

CHA-lin and VINCE

Toronto

Phil Caputo – ka-POO-toe

Scott Dominey – DOM-in-ee

Latrell Harris – la-TREL

Billy Hostrawser – HO-straw-zer

Brad Kri – KREE

Dan Lintner – LINT-ner. There are two N’s in there, not LINT-er or LIT-ner.

Kieran McArdle – KEER-un muh-KAR-dl

Creighton Reid – CRAY-ton REED

Challen Rogers – CHA-lin

Tom Schreiber – SHRY-ber

Jay Thorimbert – THOR-im-burt

Alec Tulett – TULL-it (not TOO-lit like I had before)

Vancouver

Keegan Bal – BALL

Jean-Luc Chetner – ZHON-luke CHET-ner

Tyler Codron – COD-run

Dan Lomas – LOW-mus

Joel McCready – muh-CREED-ee

Reid Mydske – MID-skee

Chris O’Dougherty – O DORT-ee. Or O DOUGH-erty if you say it slowly.

James Rahe – RAY. Not RAY-EE or RAY-HE.

Logan Schuss – SHUSS (rhymes with BUS). Not SHUSH, SHOOSH, or SHOOS.

Warriors – WOR-ee-ers. It’s a pet peeve of mine when people say it quickly enough that it sounds like WOYERS. Three syllables, people.

Coaches & Execs

Ed Comeau – ko-MO. Swarm head coach. I’ve had this as KO-mo for years but apparently that’s wrong.

Jamie Dawick – DOW-ick. DOW rhymes with “cow”. Owner & GM of the Rock.

Clem D’Orazio – duh-RAZZ-ee-o. Black Wolves assistant coach.

Steve Govett – GUV-it. President of the San Diego Seals.

Mike Hasen – HAY-zen. Not HAN-sen. Knighthawks head coach.

Tracey Kelusky – kuh-LUSS-key. In the past I’ve included that kuh-LOOS-key is wrong, but apparently Tracey himself doesn’t care how you say it. Wings assistant coach.

Darris Kilgour – DARE-iss KILL-gore. Not DARE-ee-us. Former Bandits coach/GM.

Dan Ladouceur – ladda-SIR. Assistant coach of the Swarm.

Curt Malawsky – muh-LAW-skee. Roughnecks head coach.

Nick Sakiewicz – sic-KEV-itch. NLL commish.

Kaleb Toth – KAY-leb TOE-th, not TAW-th. Former NLL player and coach. Hearing Toth’s name mispronounced on a broadcast (after a decade as a star in the league) was the inspiration for the very first pronunciation guide.

First Nations terms

Haudenosaunee – HO-dun-uh-SHO-nee. The collective name for the people belonging to the Six Nations: Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora.

Iroquois – In Canada it’s EAR-uh-kwa, in the US it’s EAR-uh-kwoy. Another name for the Haudenosaunee people.

Tewaarton – tuh-WAHR-tun. The Mohawk name for the sport of lacrosse and the name of the award given annually to the top American college lacrosse player.

Other

Steve Bermel – BERM-ull. Rhymes with “thermal”. IL Indoor writer and occasional Bandits colour commentator.

Brad Challoner – CHALL-ah-ner. Brad says it’s like “challenger” without the g. Warriors broadcaster.

Melissa Dafni – DAF-nee. One of my co-hosts on Addicted to Lacrosse.

Tyler Fitch – TY-ler FITCH. My other co-host on Addicted to Lacrosse.

Tyson Geick – GUYK. Like Geico without the o. Former NLL host. Big team guy.

Pat Gregoire – greg-WAHR. Alternate pronunciation: SMO-kin PAT. IL Indoor writer.

Marisa Ingemi – muh-RISS-a in-JEM-ee. Boston Herald hockey reporter. Did you know: she used to be a lacrosse player writer!

Tehoka Nanticoke: day-HO-ga NAN-ti-coke. No, he’s not an NLL player but he will be someday and if you follow lacrosse at all, you’ve likely heard his name.

Graeme Perrow – GRAY-um PAIR-o. Yours truly.

Craig Rybczynski – rib-CHIN-skee but apparently “rib-ZIN-skee” is acceptable. Knighthawks broadcaster.

Evan Schemenauer – SHEM-en-our. Lacrosse blogger over at laxallstars.com and co-host of the Lacrosse Classified podcast.

Stephen Stamp – STEE-ven. STAMP-er is also acceptable. IL Indoor writer and editor, podcaster, name pronunciation verifier.

I’m on hold

When recording the Addicted to Lacrosse podcast, we recently changed from using YouTube Live to a service called UberConference. It allows us to set up conference calls but we can use our computer (à la Skype) or a regular phone to join the call, and then we can download an MP3 (assuming one actually clicks the “record” button before we start…) immediately after we’re done. This is much easier than waiting for YouTube to process the video, downloading the multi-hundred megabyte video mp4 file, and then extracting the audio from it. It also has the advantage of not being a video chat, so I don’t have to worry about cleaning up my office before we record. We usually start recording around 10pm EST but if we’re starting late, I can record in my pyjamas – and I have. The downside of not having video is that you don’t see which current or classic NLL jerseys we’re wearing and we won’t get any more cameos from Tyler’s cat, though we did have Melissa’s dogs make an audio appearance in one show.

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Presenting your 2018-2019 Boston Blazers

Here it is: a team full of players who are not on a team, i.e. not on any roster or practice squad and not on any retired, injured, holdout, PUP, or other list. I’m quite surprised at who’s on this year’s list, considering there are two more teams than last year, and thus forty-two more positions available. And even with all of those extra players, these guys are still around.

Well, it’s not quite a full team since I only have 17 players. There aren’t a lot of forwards, so this Blazers team may have some trouble scoring goals, but they have a proven goaltender in Tyler Carlson and a pretty impressive defensive core. And they’ll win a bunch of faceoffs with Jay Thorimbert. They even have two former NLL captains in Joel White and Billy Dee Smith.

In making this list, I am explicitly assuming that Kevin Crowley, Curtis Dickson, Wes Berg, Nic Bilic, Robert Church, and Mike Messenger will sign contracts. If they don’t, none of them would make this list anyway since they’d either be put on a hold-out list or be released, in which case some team will instantly pick them up.

Forwards

Mark Cockerton
Evan Messenger
Daryl Veltman
Joe Walters

Transition/Defense

Jay ThorimbertReid Acton On Buffalo’s protected list
Dan Ball
Alex Kedoh Hill
Bill O’Brien
Tyson Roe
Billy Dee Smith
Derek Suddons
Cody Teichroeb
Jay Thorimbert On Toronto’s practice roster
Joel White On Georgia’s protected list
Adam Will

Goalies

Zak Boychuk
Tyler Carlson

 

The NLL Pronunciation Guide 2018

Here it is! The article I write every year that usually generates the most discussion. It’s something that some NLL announcers don’t need at all, others use regularly, and still others desperately need but don’t know about. It’s also possible that some in that third group think they’re in the first group. Sigh.

Special thanks to Stephen Stamp (squarely in that first group) who looked over the list to make sure I had them all right.

Names are organized alphabetically within teams.

Buffalo

Kevin Brownell – brow-NELL. brow rhymes with “cow”. Not BROWN-ull.

Alex Buque – boo-KAY. However apparently when playing in junior, he pronounced it rhyming with “spook”.

Josh Byrne – BURN

Callum Crawford – CAL-um. Not CAY-lum.

Davide DiRuscio – DAY-vid dih-ROOSH-ee-o

Jordan Durston – DER-stun

Chase Fraser – FRAY-zer, not like Frasier

Vaughn Harris – VON

Zach Herreweyers – HAIR-wires (not HAY-wires as many say)

Steve Priolo – pree-O-lo

Pat Saunders – SAWN-ders. Not SAND-ers.

Ethan Schott – SHOT

Dhane Smith – DANE

Mark Steenhuis – STAIN-house

Nick Weiss – WEES

Calgary

shill-ee-ANN-oMike Carnegie – CAR-nuh-gee (hard g)

Holden Cattoni – ka-TONE-ee

Christian del Bianco – dell bee-AHN-ko

Dane Dobbie – DOUGH-bee. Not like Dobby.

Greg Harnett – har-NET

Anthony Kalinich – ka-LIN-itch

Riley Loewen – LOW-en. LOW is like the word “low”, not rhyming with “cow”. Interesting aside: the original German pronunciation would be like “LER-ven” but without pronouncing the R (there’s no really good equivalent in English). Loewen is an alternate spelling of Löwen, the German word for “lions”.

Ryan Martel – mar-TELL

Creighton Reid – CRAY-ton REED

Frank Scigliano – shill-ee-ANN-o

Colorado

Ryan Benesch – buh-NESH

Scott Carnegie – CAR-nuh-gee (hard g)

Joey Cupido – koo-PEE-do. Not KYOO-pid-o or KOO-pid-o.

Jordan Gilles – GILL-ess. Not the same as Brad Gillies on Rochester.

Stephen Keogh – KEY-o

Eli McLaughlin – E-lie muh-GLOCK-lin

Nick Ossello – aw-SELL-o

Jacob Ruest – roo-EH

Georgia

Frank Brown – I’ll have to look this one up and get back to you.

Alex Crepinsek – CREP-in-seck

Kiel Matisz – KYLE muh-TEES

Mike Poulin – POO-lin

Randy Staats – STOTS. Rhymes with “slots”. Not STATS.

Leo Stouros – STIR-us. According to Leo, it “rhymes with thermos”.

Jerome Thompson – Prefers to to be called Hiana, pronounced HY-nuh

Zed Williams – ZED. In the US, it’s pronounced ZEE.

New England

Kevin Crowley – KROW-lee. Not like the bird. KROW rhymes with “cow”.

Anthony Joaquim – JOKE-um. Looks like wa-KEEM but it’s not. No joke.

John LaFontaine – LA-fon-TANE

Stephan Leblanc – STEFF-in luh-BLONK. Not steh-FAWN and not luh-BLANK.

Matt Spanger – SPANG-er. Like hanger but with an SP instead

Jay Thorimbert – THOR-im-burt

Rochester

Eric Fannell – fuh-NELL

Brad Gillies – GILL-ees. Not the same as Jordan Gilles on Colorado.

Graeme Hossack – GRAY-um HOSS-ack

Luc Magnan – LUKE MAG-nun

Joe Resetarits – res-uh-TARE-its

Eric Shewell – SHOO-ull

Matt Vinc – like the name “Vince”. Not VINK.

Cory Vitarelli – vit-uh-REL-ee

Saskatchewan

Nik Bilic – BEE-leech according to Nik himself (via Stephen Stamp and Brian Shanahan). Definitely not BIL-ik and it sounds like BILL-itch is also wrong.

Chris Corbeil – cor-BEEL

Nick Finlay – FIN-lee

Mike Messenger – MESS-in-jer. I left him off the list last year because it should be obvious, but I’ve heard somebody say MESS-in-ger with a hard g. I get that the pronunciation of some of these names is difficult – that’s why this list exists. But when the name is also a valid (and not obscure) English word, it really shouldn’t need to be here.

Brett Mydske – MID-skee

Tor Reinholdt – RINE-holt

Kyle Rubisch – ROO-bish

Adrian Sorichetti – sore-i-KET-ee

Toronto

Phil Caputo – ka-POO-toe

Latrell Harris – la-TREL. If you’re the ACC announcer, stretch it out so that it takes you 15 seconds to say Latrell.

Billy Hostrawser – HO-straw-zer

Brad Kri – KREE

Dan Lintner – LINT-ner. There are two N’s in there, not LINT-er or LIT-ner.

Kieran McArdle – KEER-un muh-KAR-dl

Reid Reinholdt – REED RINE-holt

Challen Rogers – CHA-lin

Tom Schreiber – SHRY-ber

SHUSS (Photo credit:  Dan Brodie)

Vancouver

Tye Belanger – buh-LAHN-jay

Brandon Clelland – CLELL-and

Rhys Duch – REES DUTCH

Ryan Fournier – FOORN-yay

Thomas Hoggarth – HOE-garth

Joel McCready – muh-CREED-ee

Chris O’Dougherty – O DORT-ee. Or O DOUGH-erty if you say it slowly.

James Rahe – RAY

Logan Schuss – SHUSS (rhymes with BUS). Not SHUSH, SHOOSH, or SHOOS.

Cody Teichroeb – TYKE-robe

Coaches & Execs

Aime Caines – AMY CANES.  Former Swarm player and assistant coach.

Ed Comeau – ko-MO. Swarm head coach. I’ve had this as KO-mo for years but apparently that’s wrong.

Jamie Dawick – DOW-ick. DOW rhymes with “cow”. Owner & GM of the Rock.

Clem D’Orazio – duh-RAZZ-ee-o. Black Wolves assistant coach.

Steve Govett – GUV-it. President of the San Diego Seals

Mike Hasen – HAY-zen. Not HAN-sen. Knighthawks head coach.

Tracey Kelusky – kuh-LUSS-key. In the past I’ve included that kuh-LOOS-key is wrong, but apparently Tracey himself doesn’t care how you say it. Black Wolves assistant coach.

Darris Kilgour – DARE-iss KILL-gore. Not DARE-ee-us. Former Bandits coach/GM.

Dan Ladouceur – ladda-SIR. Assistant coach of the Swarm.

Curt Malawsky – muh-LAW-skee. Roughnecks head coach.

Nick Sakiewicz – sic-KEV-itch. NLL commish.

Kaleb Toth – KAY-leb TOE-th, not TAW-th. Former NLL player and coach. Hearing Toth’s name mispronounced on a broadcast (after a decade as a star in the league) was the inspiration for the very first pronunciation guide.

Other

Steve Bermel – BERM-ull. Rhymes with “thermal”. Bandits beat writer.

Brad Challoner – CHALL-ah-ner. Brad says it’s like “challenger” without the g. Stealth broadcaster.

Melissa Dafni – DAF-nee. One of my co-hosts on Addicted to Lacrosse.

Tyler Fitch – TY-ler FITCH. My other co-host on Addicted to Lacrosse.

John Fraser – FRAY-zer, not like Frasier. Rush play by play guy.

Tyson Geick – GUYK. Rhymes with TYKE. Like Geico without the o. NLL host and video guy.

Pat Gregoire – greg-WAHR. IL Indoor writer, NLL ReLax host, and NLL TV broadcaster.

Marisa Ingemi – muh-RISS-a in-JEM-ee. Journalist covering every sport in the world and breaker of NLL news.

Graeme Perrow – GRAY-um PAIR-o. Yours truly.

Craig Rybczynski – rib-CHIN-skee but apparently “rib-ZIN-skee” is acceptable. Knighthawks broadcaster.

Saskatchewan – I’ve always said it as sas-CATCH-oo-on but I’ve heard from Saskatchewanians (is that a word?) that it should be sas-CATCH-a-win or sas-CATCH-a-wen – the last syllable does not rhyme with “on”. The best description of this came from @SaskRushFans on Twitter: “There are definitely several variations that are acceptable, but pronouncing Saskatchewan as spelled is not one of them.” Many shorten it to “s-CATCH-a-win” just as Torontonians say “Tronna”.

Saskatoon – sas-ka-TOON. City in which the Rush play.

Evan Schemenauer – SHEM-en-our. Lacrosse blogger over at evanschemenauer.blogspot.ca (and now at laxallstars.com)

Stephen Stamp – STEE-ven. STAMP-er is also acceptable. IL Indoor writer and editor, podcaster, play-by-play guy.

Presenting your 2018 Boston Blazers

As I do most years, I’ve made up a 20-man roster full of non-retired players who are not on any NLL active or practice rosters (or IR or holdout or other lists) but if there was one more team in the league, they might be. Next year, this list will be quite different, seeing as we’ll have two extra teams.

Boston Blazers

Forwards

Keegan Bal
Garrett Billings
Cory Conway
Zach Herreweyers
Mikey MacDonald
Quinn Powless (on Rochester’s practice roster)
Daryl Veltman

Defense / Transition

Dan Ball
Scott Carnegie
Jordan Dance
Jarrett Davis
Ilija Gajic
Alex Kedoh Hill
Ryan Hotaling (on IR with New England)
Mitch McMichael
Bill O’Brien
Andrew Watt
Sean Young

Goaltenders

Zach Higgins
Tyler Richards

Pratice Roster

Zak Boychuk
Blaze Riorden
Derek Searle

The beep test

NLL training camps will be starting in a month or so. This is the chance for the young players to strut their stuff and get noticed, the veteran players to get back into the swing of things after some time off (a month or so if they played in MLS/WLA/MLL, as many as six months if they didn’t), and the oldest players to see if they have just one more year left in their aching bodies.

During the camps, one thing you may hear about is the beep test. I had never heard of this until a couple of years ago, when numerous players being interviewed on various lacrosse podcasts kept talking about it. It turns out my sons had both done it a few times during their phys ed classes. If you are as unfamiliar with this as I was, allow me to enlighten you.

Continue reading

The 2017 draft: Anthony, Jordan, Jake, Zack, Mitch, Mitch’s dad, Aaron, and Bryan

The 2017 NLL draft was this past Monday so as I always do, I made my way down the QEW to the TRAC to sit in the crowd. I’m sure Stephen Stamp will do a comprehensive write-up on IL Indoor before long on who went where, what teams did well, and what teams didn’t. I’ll touch on the draft results themselves a little bit but this article will mostly describe my experience there.

Anthony, Jordan

We had one trade announced before the draft started. BC boy Anthony Malcom was sent to Vancouver along with the 12th overall pick (Ottawa’s Ryan Fournier) from Buffalo, who received Ontario boy Jordan Durston. Both players now play closer to home, so they both win. As for the teams involved, the Stealth picks up a righty who averaged 3.4 points per game in 2017 while the Bandits get a lefty who averaged 2.4. I imagine Evan Messenger is quite pleased about the new opening on the left side that he may be able to fill. There was talk that the Bandits picking up a lefty immediately before the draft might indicate that they were going to pass on lefty Josh Byrne at #1. They didn’t, so after the very first pick, the Bandits had strengthened their left side with two players.

Jake, Zack

After Byrne went first, we all knew what was coming next. In the words of the commissioner: “With the second pick in the 2017 entry draft, the Rochester Knighthawks select… wait, what? Is this right? Curt, are you sure about this? Um… he’s nodding. OK then. The Knighthawks take Jake Withers” That may not be verbatim, I don’t remember exactly. There are always surprising picks in the draft but Rochester skipping over Zack Currier was one of the bigger ones. The biggest question prior to the draft was whether the Bandits would take Byrne or Currier first overall and the assumption was that the Knighthawks would take the other one second. To see Currier drop to third was surprising and I’m sure there were mini fist pumps all around the Roughnecks table.

KnighthawksDraftThe picture here features the three Knighthawks first round picks: Eric Fannell, Austin Shanks, and Jake Withers (left to right), all Ohio State boys. See the ghostly image behind the guy in green at the back? That’s me.

I mean no disrespect to Jake Withers, who was ranked #3 in Stamper’s list, so it’s not like the Knighthawks selected some nobody. But considering Currier’s performance in the Mann Cup just last week and the fact that his brother is already a Knighthawk, that seemed like a perfect fit. Then again, how many really dumb lacrosse decisions has Curt Styres made since taking over the Knighthawks? Not many.

Mitch, Mitch’s dad

I was sitting in the back row of the stands, and talked a little to the guy sitting next to me. He mentioned that his son was in the draft pool, and was hopefully a late-rounder. They were from BC and his son played for the Jr. Langley Thunder. The dad was clearly a big lacrosse fan and told me when certain teammates, former teammates, or opponents of his son were drafted. In most cases he had positive things to say but there were a few cases where he obviously wasn’t too impressed.

As the night went on and his name wasn’t called, his son got more and more anxious, texting his dad “This is tough” after hearing yet another teammate get picked. He came back to sit with his dad in the fifth round or so. I didn’t talk to him directly, but I started to feel bad for the kid. What if he doesn’t get picked at all? What do I say to them after the draft when I’m leaving? “Nice talking to you, have a good trip home, sorry your dreams didn’t come true”? I started to get a little nervous about what I’d say but remembered that however bad I felt, he’d feel worse.

And then it happened. “With the 53rd selection, the Calgary Roughnecks select Mitch McDole”. The kid simply whispered “YES” and got up and headed to the front. Before I could even wish his dad congratulations, he was off following him, just like I would if it were my kid. Just like Jordan Kanscal two years ago (who also went to Calgary), I was excited when his name was called. Congratulations Mitch, I will be watching for you at the Calgary training camp.

Aaron

One other thing that Mr. McDole reported was that at the previous weekend’s combine, there was a 42-year-old goalie. He said he wasn’t very good… at all…. but hey, kudos to him for trying out. I agreed with that. The next day I found that the 42-year-old goalie was none other than Aaron Freeland, formerly known as Meathead on the IL Indoor message board. I met Aaron once in Rochester (he’d had a few large green drinks by that point so probably doesn’t remember), but have talked to him numerous times on the message board and on Twitter. He posted something on Facebook saying that he applied on a whim and fully expected to get rejected. When he didn’t, he decided to get out there anyway because why the hell not. Not everyone would have the guts to get out there at age 42 and face shots from 20-year-old lacrosse players, so I’m impressed. Nice job Aaron.

Other notes:

  • There were a few trades throughout the evening but other than the Malcom/Durston deal, none involved players. I believe every trade announced was team A sending the very next pick to team B for a pick in the same round in 2019 or 2020. Team B is now on the clock.
  • One of the reasons I love going to the draft is sitting near the families of players selected. Watching and hearing the parents, siblings, and girlfriends standing up, applauding, and cheering while the player walks to the podium is heartwarming.
  • That said, it’s really heartbreaking to see hatless kids sitting during the sixth round, as the possibility of their being drafted dwindles.
  • At 7:56pm, Nick Sakiewicz announced the 14th overall pick for the Rochester Knighthawks. A minute later, the NLL twitter account tweeted out the 4th pick. Way to keep up, guys.
  • The 2018 NLL Pronunciation Guide is already underway, thanks to first rounder Anthony Joaquim. His last name is not pronounced wa-KEEM as one might expect, it’s actually JOKE-em. No JOKE.
  • At the previous drafts, they broadcast Stephen Stamp’s and Andy McNamara’s analysis over the speakers but this year they did not. Instead, they had some classic rock playing quietly over the PA. They played Bryan Adams, Men At Work, the J. Geils Band, John Mellencamp (Black Wolves GM Rich Lisk is a fan), the James Gang, Tears for Fears, and a bunch more. Jack Goods even reported JT singing JB.

Various musings lacking statistical correlation

Today I’m going to take a page from Evan Schemenauer’s book blog. There are a number of issues relating to the NLL that I have yet to write about, so rather than post an article with a single focus, I’ll combine them all in a “random thoughts” article the way Evan does. Incidentally, if you aren’t reading Evan’s blog regularly, you really should. Now only does he have some great insights into the game itself but he frequently discusses the business aspect of the league as well. In addition to the NLL, he follows and writes about MLL, WLA, MSL, and junior lacrosse as well, which I generally don’t. And check out his story about when he helped create a lacrosse tournament in Bermuda – it’s quite long but really interesting. If you only read one lacrosse blog, read this one. But if you read two lacrosse blogs, the other one should be Evan’s.

I’m covering a number of stories here, some new and some not so new, so I’ll go in chronological order, oldest first.

John Grant retires

John Grant

Not exactly a shocker. In fact, the only way this story could really have been surprising is if it didn’t happen. The writing has been on the wall most of the season, since Grant only played in the Mammoth’s first two games, and there were very few injury updates throughout the season. I heard an interview with Steve Govett this past season where he was listing all the players he had on IR and when they might be back. He didn’t even mention Grant until the very end, almost as an afterthought. Grant announced his retirement from MSL almost a year ago and from the MLL back in April, and in both cases his reasons were that his body just couldn’t do it anymore. Given that, it was pretty much impossible that he’d return for another season in the NLL.

I can’t say I was ever a real fan of Junior’s. He’s unquestionably one of the most skilled lacrosse players in history, and I saw many games where it seemed that he could just score at will – no goalie could stop him when he was really on his game. But earlier in his career, it was sometimes possible to force him off of his game. Basically, if you pissed him off early and often enough, he’d retaliate or get flustered and that was it for him. Try that with John Tavares and he’d just score on you as revenge but Grant would take the odd dumb penalty or just lose his scoring ability to some extent. This happened less often as he matured. But Grant was either too arrogant or too aloof (or both) for my liking. While I acknowledged his skill, I didn’t really like him.

Once he got to Colorado, he started doing promotional videos for the Mammoth, and my tune changed a little. He had a bunch where he was shooting on a lacrosse net from crazy distances – the top level of the Pepsi Center, a cool rock formation in Colorado, and others; they brought to mind the “nothin’ but net” commercial with Michael Jordan and Larry Bird from back in the 90’s if you’re old enough to remember that. Another was one (couldn’t find it online) where he gave a tour of his apartment in Denver, complete with his lacrosse gear out on the balcony and his kitchen cupboard full of Kraft peanut butter “imported from Canada”. I have to say he seemed pretty likeable in those spots.

Then my opinion completely changed when I heard an interview he did with Teddy Jenner right after his retirement. He basically said that his whole life, he just wanted to play lacrosse and wasn’t interested in the spotlight at all. But he realized that given his talent, the spotlight was inevitable so he made the best of it. He came across in the interview as a down-to-earth guy, nor arrogant in the slightest, who just loves lacrosse. He also said that one of the advantages of retiring is that he can spend more time coaching kids, and how can you not like that? That interview made me want to apologize to him for not liking him in the past.

Even if you don’t like him for whatever reason, you cannot deny the skill. Like I said above, when he was on his game, nobody could dominate a game like Junior, and his behind the back (or one-hand behind-the-back underhand) shots are legendary. Mr. Grant, it was an honour to be able to watch you over the past seventeen years and I wish you all the best in your coaching career, be it with your high school team, the MLL, or possibly in the future, the NLL.

Adam Jones comes to the Rock

I honestly didn’t see this one coming though in retrospect, I should have. Jones is a teacher in Owen Sound, Ontario, a 2½ hour drive from Toronto (in good traffic/weather). Jones missed a number of Friday night games with the Mammoth and Rush because the travel was just too difficult. In the four years since the league went to 18-game seasons, Jones has yet to play in all 18 games. Playing half of his games in Toronto (and a bunch more in Buffalo and Rochester) means fewer travel hassles so fewer missed games and less stress on days where he does travel.

I wonder if some Rock fans might have bristled at the thought of giving up two first round picks for Jones, considering he’s only eclipsed 76 points once in his career. But for Jones, it’s not how many points, it’s when. Since 2014, only four players (Dickson, Dhane Smith, Shawn Evans, Dobbie) have more hat-tricks than Jones, and only Dickson has more four-goal or five-goal games. He’s tied with Dickson for the most six-goal games. Jones will have some 1-goal 2-assist nights but the first time the Rock win because he scored six goals in the third quarter, two first round picks may not seem quite as high a price.

San Diego: The new kid in town

The worst-kept secret in the NLL is finally confirmed: a multi-gazillionaire named Joseph Tsai has purchased an NLL expansion franchise that will play in San Diego beginning in the 2018-2019 season. This story was first broken back in July by Marisa Ingemi (my former “boss” at In Lacrosse We Trust – I wrote there for a couple of months in 2011). Tsai has hired former Mammoth president and GM Steve Govett to be the President (and GM?) of the new team. This is the biggest news to hit the NLL since… well, in a long time, and this is the first expansion team in the NLL since the Boston Blazers in 2009.

NLL fans have talked many times in the past about trying to get high-profile billionaires like Mark Cuban or Paul Allen to buy into the league, instantly raising its profile and, quite honestly, its legitimacy. As far as I know Mr. Tsai’s name never came up in those conversations but it could have – Tsai (who has Canadian citizenship, according to Wikipedia) played collegiate lacrosse at Yale, and is apparently quite a big lacrosse fan.

San Diego

This is huge news. Yes, the NLL has played in SoCal before, with the Anaheim Storm in 2004-2005. But their team was terrible, finishing a combined 6-26 over those two seasons. That certainly didn’t help the attendance, which hovered around 4500 per game. I know zilch about the ownership group of the Storm but suffice it to say that losing money hand over fist was likely a problem for them. The fact that Tsai is a billionaire doesn’t mean he’ll be happy to lose money forever, but it does mean that it won’t be a problem if the team doesn’t make a profit right away.

Tsai is the co-founder and executive vice chairman of the Alibaba Group, a huge Chinese company that runs various online stores and is one of the most profitable companies in the world. According to WIkipedia, Alibaba’s sales in 2016 added up to almost half a trillion US dollars, more than all online sales from all US companies combined. I think we’re safe in assuming that Mr. Tsai knows a thing or two about prudent investments and how to run a successful company. A proven businessman like Tsai investing in the NLL should give other potential investors some serious confidence in the stability and profitability of the league. It’s unlikely that he’s just pulled $5 million out of his couch cushions on a whim; he’s done research on the league and made the decision to invest in it.

Steve Govett had been with the Colorado Mammoth since they were the Washington Power. No fly-by-night “let’s throw $5 million at this thing and see what happens” kind of owner would likely be able to pull him away from there. I don’t imagine Govett would leave the Mammoth for anything less than an absolutely committed owner. The team doesn’t have a name or logo yet and the total number of employees is probably still in single digits, but Tsai already has a right-hand man who knows the league, the game, and the players as well as anyone. Assuming Govett will also be acting as GM, the San Diego Whatevers may not have the less-than-auspicious start that the Storm had. They could be a pretty good team within a couple of years.

Expansion rumours

The rumours started months ago when a Philadelphia reporter named John Barchard tweeted some NLL expansion plans that he credited to “Sources”. He talked about Baltimore, Long Island, and Montreal for 2018, then Philly, DC, Edmonton, and Miami for 2019, and San Francisco for 2020. There were eight other cities with “mild interest”, but San Diego was not among them. It turned out this was mostly his or someone else’s speculation, not actual plans.

The rumours I’ve heard more recently (yesterday) included teams in Philly, Halifax, Miami, and Edmonton. While both Philadelphia and Edmonton have failed in the NLL in the past, I think they could be successful with the right ownership. Both teams had success on the floor and at the gate, though in the case of Edmonton they mostly didn’t happen at the same time.

I’m not sold on Halifax. Sure, there are no other major pro sports teams within several hundred kilometers so they may be starving for pro sports out on the east coast, so that might be good for community support and thus attendance. However it means at least a two hour flight from pretty much anywhere NLL players live (and 5½ from Vancouver, and 8½ from San Diego via Toronto) for all players on both teams, unless the team convinces some players to move there. The arena in Halifax holds 10,000 so they better be filling it every night to pay for the extra travel costs.

I don’t know much about Miami but I know that both the Panthers (NHL) and Marlins (MLB) have struggled with attendance. The Florida Launch are based in Boca Raton, just north of Miami, so in a parallel universe where the NLL and MLL work together for mutual benefit, that may be a good place to start in terms of advertising and building up a fan base. In this universe, however, I’m not sure it will matter.

MLL data breach

This only tangentially affects the NLL itself but does affect a bunch of NLL players. The MLL announced that there was a data breach last week, where information on (I believe) every current and former MLL player, as well as others who registered in the player pool even if they never played, was accidentally made available on the internet. The information included innocuous things like height, weight, occupation, and date of birth, but also included Social Security numbers which, when combined with some of the innocuous stuff, could easily be used for identity theft. The players are livid and rightly so. There have been no confirmed reports of identity theft as of now, but that’s hardly the point.

The big question that many people are asking is “how could this happen?” But I’d like the details – logistically, how did this happen? The players are asking why the file was not encrypted or password-protected, which is an excellent question. But my question is why was it there at all?

The fact that the Excel spreadsheet containing the personal data was available on the internet means that it must have been copied to the machine running the league’s web site, whether that’s their own machine or one run by a hosting company (like GoDaddy, for example). Why would anyone copy the file there? You don’t copy a data file to a web server unless you want to serve it to the web.

I don’t know what happened, but here’s a likely scenario. I imagine that like many companies, the MLL has internal web sites (an “intranet”) as well as the public site. The internal ones are used by MLL employees and are only available from within the MLL corporate network. It’s possible (though not likely) that both sites are run from the same machine, in which case a badly written web page or email could easily link to the wrong file, or the file could accidentally be copied into the wrong directory. What’s more likely is that someone wanted to make the file available on the intranet (not the internet) but copied the file to the wrong server.

MLL's Chief Security Officer

But as someone who has worked for a database software company for twenty years (my job title even includes “security expert” though that’s kind of a stretch), I can tell you that any database or file that includes personal information (especially Social Security numbers) really should be encrypted and protected. If I’m an MLL employee and I don’t absolutely need to have the SSNs, there should be no way for me to get them. The people who do need to have that information must be trained on proper handling of sensitive information. If you must copy the file somewhere, you make damn sure that you’re copying it to the right place and that it’s removed from that place once it’s no longer needed.

With this breach, the league has opened themselves up to lawsuits from anyone whose data was leaked. Since that’s all of their players, this could be very bad. In the worst case, the lawsuits bankrupt the league and it folds entirely. That’s probably unlikely but even if the league does survive, it will take a very long time to regain any measure of trust from the players. It may also have long-term ramifications in the form of players who decide not to join the MLL because of this incident. The league may have lost out on a future Tom Schreiber because he’s worried about the security of his personal information.

It’s also possible that players may decide to divorce themselves from the MLL entirely, which could be good news for the NLL. Could we see the return of former NLL players like Joe Walters and Paul Rabil if they are unhappy with the MLL?