New York Riptide new head coach Dan Ladouceur knows a thing or two about performing under pressure.
The newly named head coach for the Riptide, a men's professional lacrosse team in the National Lacrosse League, goes from kicking down doors to creating gameplans. Ladouceur is a sergeant with the tactical team for the Toronto Police Service in Ontario. But he’s also a lacrosse lifer — both as a player and coach.
Ladouceur was named the Riptide’s new head coach, and Jim Veltman, an NLL Hall of Fame defender, was named the new general manager after the team finished 1-12 last season. Ladouceur believes his skills both inside and outside the game can lead to a turnaround.
“I think some of the things I get from a team environment in the lacrosse world as well as the policing world helps me and equips me to be able to communicate with different personalities,” Ladouceur said. “I think the fact that everything I do is kind of in a team environment right now has helped me develop into a leader and with those communication skills. Because I really think it is about relationships.”
Ladouceur was a defender in the NLL before transitioning into coaching, but he’s also well-versed on offense, spending the last four seasons as the offensive coordinator with the Georgia Swarm. In his first season in Georgia, the Swarm set a new NLL record for goals scored (266) and won the Champions Cup. After spending the majority of his lacrosse life focusing on stopping people from scoring, the switch to an offensive role helped enhance his knowledge of the sport.
“I think it rounded out my vision of the game,” Ladouceur said. “By no stretch am I an expert at either end, but I think I can contribute and augment the staff that we are going to put in place and have a really well-rounded approach for how we can have success on the floor.”
Ladouceur and Veltman also have a strong relationship. The two spent 10 seasons together as teammates and remained friends outside the sport. They go on fishing trips together, and they believe that trust in one another will help improve the team’s success.
“That was definitely the attraction right there,” Veltman said. “Just the people I’d be working with.”
Veltman won eight titles in his 16-year NLL career. He was the No. 1 pick in the 1998 NLL expansion draft and was a captain for 10 years.
“You always tap into the experiences that you had and I think I’m familiar with what makes a team successful,” Veltman said. “And it’s not always having the best players.”
Rich Lisk, the executive vice president for GF Sports and the Riptide, was the general manager for the NLL’s New England Black Wolves when Veltman was the team’s defensive coordinator. When Lisk began searching for a new GM, Veltman quickly emerged at the top of the list.
“He’s second to none in this league,” Lisk said. “If there's a Mount Rushmore, he’s on Mount Rushmore. People argue he’s the greatest defenseman who’s ever played this game. So on the field, I know the guidance and education and how he’s going to work with our players. But off the field, he’s a tremendous human being.”
Lisk thinks he may have struck gold with Ladouceur and Veltman.
“I’ll tell you what,” Lisk said. “We haven’t stepped on the floor yet, but I think I’ve found the two best people to help us run this organization and we are going to make some noise with these guys.”