For Pat Coyle, this isn’t the way he envisioned 2019-20 NLL season coming to a close. The Mammoth head coach and general manager believed his team had a strong chance to make some noise in a potential playoff run this postseason. Seeing that idea and chance end prematurely is admittedly frustrating, but Coyle understands the NLL’s decision.
“I completely understand and support the League’s decision, but I’m disappointed to say the least,” Coyle told ColoradoMammoth.com. “We’ve all been waiting to play lacrosse, and now that we don’t get to do that, there’s no other word but disappointed.”
Coyle believes the Mammoth has shown progress in several areas, especially on the offensive end and was thrilled with the impact Tyler Digby made since his arrival via a trade with the New York Riptide in February.
“I was really excited about getting Digby — That trade, it felt like it really changed our offense. I thought that our guys were really starting to gel as a unit,” Coyle explained.
The general manager added, “Chris Wardle was having a much better season than he did last year and I was really looking forward to seeing what he could do in the playoffs. I was really looking forward to playing the rest of that season and battling to get into the playoffs. Then trying to actually make some noise in the playoffs.”
With the 2019-20 NLL season coming to a close, Coyle acknowledged he and his staff are quickly transitioning their focus to the offseason and next season.
“Our job is to hit the ground running when training camp starts next season,” he said.
That said, he also admitted there could be a few personnel changes reflective of next year’s roster.
“The truth is, there are going to be some things that are going to be out of our control in some ways. We were up against the cap this year and we have some free agents,” he said. “In reality, all of the guys who were playing with us this season, there’s a chance they might not be on the team next year.”
He added, “So, hopefully, we’re going to draft a player or two that’s going to be in the lineup.”
He also admitted that player development could be affected by various summer league cancellations.
“There’s no substitute for playing,” Coyle shared. “For example, we were looking forward to Will Malcolm going back to British Columbia this summer and playing his last year of juniors – Taking some of what he learned training and playing with the Mammoth into his summer game and showing up even better come training camp.”
Coyle is confident Malcolm will continue to work on his game during the offseason and acknowledges he and his staff will have to find innovative ways to train their young players.
Despite the aforementioned challenges, Coyle remains optimistic about the future of the Mammoth and the NLL thriving throughout North America.
“I want our fans to know that we’re committed to putting the best possible product on the field that we can every week,” he said. “We’re working hard right now, thinking of next season. So, I just hope that fans stick with us and I think they’ll like what they see when we get back to playing next year.“
He added, “I may be biased, but I don’t know of any other sport that is as dynamic to watch as lacrosse — Just how fast and physical of a game it is,” Coyle concluded. “The greatest thing about lacrosse is a lot of people go to games as a spectator and leave as a fan. I’m hopeful that the sport will continue to grow because there’s such a uniqueness to the pace and energy of the game.”