Jeff Teat knew there would be an adjustment going from college lacrosse to the indoor National Lacrosse League. His goal was to make it quickly after the Nassau Coliseum-based New York Riptide made him the first overall pick in 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic held up his debut until the 2021-22 season but, on Thursday, Teat was announced as the league’s rookie of the year as well as a second-team all-NLL selection. He also made the NLL’s all-rookie team.
“When you step up to a different division or atmosphere, there’s always going to be a learning curve,” Teat told Newsday this week. “For me, it was just trying to make that learning curve as short as possible.”
The 25-year-old from Brampton, Ontario, finished third in the NLL with 71 assists and fourth with 108 points as the Riptide finished sixth out of seven teams with a 6-12 mark. He’s currently in the midst of his outdoor season in the Premier Lacrosse League, where he was also the No. 1 overall pick out of Cornell.
“I would rather have a championship. But this is definitely exciting," Teat said of being named the NLL’s rookie of the year. "I think a lot of the credit goes to my teammates and, especially, the older guys on the team.”
“Here’s a kid who works harder than anybody,” said Riptide team president Rich Lisk, a candidate for the NLL’s executive of the year award. “We know what he does on and off the field and then to be recognized by your peers and recognized by the league, it’s huge for him. It’s just the beginning of what I think will be a lot of these awards coming down the pike. What he did his rookie season was extraordinary.”
Though the Riptide and Teat fell short of the playoffs last season, Lisk said there will be some stability with the franchise moving forward to reach a goal of more consistent play.
Lisk said the team is looking to negotiate a longer-term deal with the Coliseum and is also close to three-year extensions for general manager Jim Veltman, coach Dan Ladouceur and his staff.
Training camp opens in November with the season starting in December.
It’s just part of Teat’s 24/7 lacrosse world now. He also is coaching at The Hill Academy in Caledon, Ontario.
“I love it,” the 5-10, 170-pound forward said of his life revolving around lacrosse. “It’s super rewarding.”