While the Riptide are 1-12 during their inaugural National Lacrosse League season, they have certainly laid the groundwork for future success both on and off the field. In bringing box lacrosse back to Long Island for the first time since 2007, the Riptide has assembled a strong group of young players that are going to be building blocks for success. The organization is also busy giving back to the community with clinics and other public appearances like hospital and school visits.
There’s been a lot of memorable moments so far this season including the inaugural home game on December 28th and the first win in franchise history, a 13-12 overtime victory over Georgia on January 18th. Players like Tyson Gibson, Myles Jones, Dan Lomas, John Ranagan, Jean-Luc Chetner, Connor Kelly, Tyson Bomberry, and captain Dan MacRae have all been playing their hearts out for lacrosse fans on Long Island and the New York area.
With the NLL season currently being suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, I had a chat with Riptide General Manager/Head Coach Regy Thorpe about the season so far and what he and the team are doing during this pause.
PS: How disappointing is it to have the Riptide’s inaugural season put on hold because of the Coronavirus Pandemic?
RT: I think we’re obviously disappointed but safety is our number one concern. Even though at 1-12, you want every game you can to learn and build for next year. We certainly understand and it’s a great time to do some reflection and self-assessment of our players, our staff and our organization and how we can improve things.
PS: Expansion teams can go through growing pains so despite the record, are you seeing positives in terms of the growth of the franchise?
RT: Sure, it’s a process. We do our monthly goal setting and evaluations of our numbers from man-down to goals against and goals scored to each quarter. All of the numbers are trending in the right way. They’re not resulting in wins but we are doing more of the little things that will build up to wins eventually and just keep building this thing brick by brick.
PS: You had a mix of youth and veteran players this season. How does that set you up for off-season plans?
RT: It’s been a great younger group (including Tyson Gibson, Tyson Bomberry, Jake Fox, Jean-Luc Chetner and Travis Longboat) but they’ve been fortunate to learn from our veteran guys like Dan MacRae, Andrew Suitor, and John Ranagan. Just learning from some veterans…I think is crucial. We’re going to go out and focus on a good entry draft and see what happens with NCAA kids and we’ll be working hard to get in the free agency market and try to get a couple of players that can really make us a playoff caliber team.
PS: First overall draft pick Tyson Gibson is your leader scorer at this point. How would you evaluate his rookie season?
RT: I think he’s been trending up. He’s a very hard-working and humble kid. He’s very coachable and sitting well with coach Marshall (Abrams)’s system. He’s getting plenty of shots per game and in a lot of games he’s been burying them but in some games he’s a couple of pipes away from three or four goals. He’s had a good first season and he’s really feeling comfortable in the offense. We’re really happy with his progress.
PS: What have you instructed your players to do while they’re at home and waiting out the pandemic?
RT: One is just keeping the family safe, doing the right thing and doing everything that the community and leaders are saying as far as safety with Covid-19. Number two is just keeping the guys positive. Gyms are closed so they’re trying to be creative with workouts. They’re holding each other accountable to stay engaged and keep the fitness up because if we do come back, you have to be ready to roll.
PS: With colleges cancelling the spring seasons what are your thoughts about the seniors?
RT: The NCAA already granted another year of eligibility. A lot will take it but some have jobs waiting and some will want to play pro lacrosse. At the end of the day, it’s tough but it is just lacrosse. At first, it’s tough for any coach or player…you’re devastated but then if you really sit back and see, it is just lacrosse. Safety comes first.
The Riptide has brought the excitement of indoor box lacrosse back to Long Island but this is just the beginning of a journey. The plan is to add more pieces to the puzzle and to build a playoff contender. The ultimate goal is to win a championship and raise a banner to the rafters of the Nassau Coliseum.