Rock Getting Set To Roll?

Toronto Rock
Glenn ClarkPlaying any Professional sport in a so called “sports crazy” city adds pressure to everyone involved. Just ask a Montreal Canadiens hockey player, a New York Yankees baseball player, or a Dallas Cowboys football player. Toronto, Ontario is a hotbed of sports which has the Maple Leafs, Raptors, and Blue Jays. But they also have one of the premiere franchises in all of lacrosse in the Toronto Rock.

The Rock began calling Toronto home beginning in 1999 (after moving from Hamilton in 1998), and they’ve won the Champions Cup five times in the past nine years. With stars like Jim Veltman, Bob Watson, Colin Doyle, and current Head Coach Glenn Clark leading the way, the Rock immediately established themselves as a contender.

But the past couple of seasons they have hit a few bumps in the road, and last season were ousted in the first round of the playoffs. In an interesting off season the Rock have made some deals, added a few players, and will certainly make things a little more interesting for their loyal fans in 2008. I had a chance to speak with Head Coach Glenn Clark about the Rock and this coming season.

GM: Glenn, the acquisition of Peter Lough, Kasey Beirnes, and Cam Woods are certain to help the team this season. How do you feel they will impact the Club?

GC: They add an infusion of talent and character. These guys are the type of people that you want in your dressing room. You need to surround yourself with quality people. Peter and Cam are big, athletic, smart defenders that will help us become a better defensive unit. Kasey has the ability to play without the ball while adding speed and activity to our offense. He creates a lot of motion that will help to create some breakdowns in the opposition defense.

GM: You’ve had some camp time now for the coming season. Give us your thoughts on what you’ve seen so far?

GC: It has been a highly competitive camp. The pace and intensity has been impressive. Guys are aware that there are jobs on the line and it has shown in the scrimmages. Very tough decisions still to be made.

GM: Have any of the rookies caught your eye, or anyone we should be watching out for?

GC: All of our rookies have come to camp prepared to compete for a spot. Jay Winder and Mark Scherman have made a real positive jump to the next level and it will be exciting to watch them continue on that path.

GM: Last season was a challenging one for the team and Rock fans. Toronto being a real hotbed of lacrosse, I’m sure fans want to hear the outlook for this coming year?

GC: Last season was difficult on all of us. We think we have made positive changes and are in a better position today than we were a year ago. I can talk about it but I know the proof will be when we take the floor.  We are very optmistic that we will be an improved group and our challenge is to make sure that translates into wins.

GM: What will we see different from the team this season compared to last?

GC: We ended last season in Rochester with a slight shift in philosophy. We want to continue on that path. We are going to be an up tempo team that pushes the pace of the game.

GM: Give us a player or two that you are expecting a bigger impact from this year.

GC: Blaine Manning is ready for a better campaign. Although Blaine had a decent year statistically, I think he felt he had a bit of a down season and has worked incredibly hard to get himself positioned for a great season. Ryan Benesch has a year under his belt and I think is ready to start moving up the ladder to becoming a top producer in this game.

GM:  Glenn, thanks for your time and good luck this ocming season.

GC: Thank You.


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