During an unseasonably warm day recently on Long Island, Jean-Luc Chetner was playing lacrosse with Riptide teammate Tyson Bomberry on the beach. Chetner and Bomberry, along with Jake Fox and Connor Kelly, are living together in Lido Beach and they’re enjoying everything that Long Island has to offer.
“I like it a lot,” said Chetner. “Someone said Long Island could be its own country basically with the people and all the places. It’s been good and it’s been a fun experience. All the food has been great. We’re right on the beach. I’ve had no complaints living here so far.”
These are interesting times for Chetner, a forward from Penticton, British Columbia in Canada who is playing in his second National Lacrosse League season. The 24-year old played his rookie campaign close to home with the Vancouver Warriors last season totaling eleven goals and five assists for sixteen points in just eleven games.
This season with the Riptide, he already has five goals and nine assists for fourteen points including a breakout performance on January 4th against the Philadelphia Wings at “The Barn” with two goals and four assists for six points. Chetner scored a goal and added two assists in Saturday’s 13-12 overtime win over Georgia, the Riptide’s first win of the season and in franchise history.
After five straight losses, Chetner and the Riptide finally tasted victory.
“We have a group that believes that we can compete and win games in this league,” said Chetner.
Jean-Luc has found multiple ways to make his way onto the floor this season. His main position is forward, but that limited his time last season with Vancouver as they already had established players at his position. Chetner needed to figure out a way to get more playing time with his new team, so this past summer, he played his second season with the Maple Ridge Burrards of the Western Lacrosse Association in Canada.
Not only did he play forward but also defense and transition and the hard work has paid off with his new team as Chetner has provided the Riptide with solid play in all areas.
“He’s been a great addition for us,” said Riptide General Manager and Head Coach Regy Thorpe. “He’s been doing good. He’s been in four games now for us and he’s done whatever is asked whether that’s D door or front door and we certainly like that about him that he’s willing to do anything to get on the floor.”
Chetner was able to make his way to Long Island because Vancouver left him unprotected for the NLL Expansion Draft and the Riptide selected him in the 11th and final round. After taking veteran leaders like Captain Dan MacRae and assistant captains John Ranagan and Tyler Digby earlier in the expansion draft, the Riptide found a valuable player in Chetner that is already making an impact on a team that he’ll be able to grow with.
He’s loving life on Long Island but he’s also loving the playing time that he’s getting.
“It’s been good,” said Chetner who helped Team Israel to the 2017 European Lacrosse Championship winning tournament MVP honors. “With an expansion team, you’re don’t really know what you’re coming into. It’s new for everyone and moving coast to coast for me and there’s opportunities to play. I’ve just been able to work my way into the lineup from the start of the year and just playing wherever the coaches put me.”
And that includes on defense after getting reacclimated to the position over the summer with Maple Ridge. It was the first time that he had played any type of defense since he was around fifteen years old. With the ability to play all three positions, other than goalie, Chetner has earned the opportunity that he didn’t have in Vancouver.
And all he had to do was learn how to play defense!
“I just kind of picked it up,” said Chetner. “The teams that I’ve been on have had a ton of offensive lefties so I found a way to get on the floor somewhere else and now I’m back playing offense so I’m a little more used to that.”
What Chetner has been able to do is stretch the Riptide roster and provide versatility to give the coaching staff some options depending on the situation in a game. While his bread and butter is a gifted left-handed shot to contribute to the offense, he also has the ability to help the team in other areas. With an all-around willingness to be a team player, Chetner has been a welcome addition to the squad.
“He’s been great,” said Thorpe. “He’s a guy that just wants to get on the floor and help the team in any way that he can. He’s played some back door for us, he’s played some power play, he’s played some front door and he just seems to be getting better and better every game he plays.”
Chetner appears to have found a home with the Riptide and he’s also getting used to life on Long Island after re-locating from the west coast in British Columbia to the east coast on Long Island. Things are working out quite well with an enjoyable lifestyle, meaningful playing time and the offensive output that he’s capable of.
Now, he just wants to help the Riptide string together some more wins.