Previously we spoke with lacrosse Hall-of-Famer Todd Lorenz about the “changing of the guard” with the Jr A Miners of the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League (RMLL). The big change is the Jr A Miners will have a new coach.
Let’s introduce Coach John Lintz with a look at his updated bio:
“Began with the Jr. B South Edmonton Warriors (provincial gold in 2003 and 2004 and a silver medal at Founders Cup in 2004). John also competed for two seasons with the Coquitlam Adanacs of the BCJLL (BC Finals in 2006).
After being drafted to both NLL and WLA in the third and second round respectively, he began his senior lacrosse career playing for the WLA’s Langley Thunder (two Western Lacrosse Championships, attended two Mann Cups, two time WLA 2nd Team All-Star, two-time Hard Hat Award recipient with Langley).
During summers spent at home in Edmonton, John has played for the RMLL’s St. Albert (Sr B) Miners (five provincial championships, two undefeated seasons in Alberta, three Presidents Cup Championship in 2016, 2017, and 2018).
In the National Lacrosse League, John has been a member of the Calgary Roughnecks, Saskatchewan/Edmonton Rush, Vancouver Stealth, and is currently a member of the Colorado Mammoth. He has been to four Champions Cup finals and won three championships.”
Recent coaching experience for Mr. Lintz includes last season working alongside Mr. Lorenz. That is the perfect segue into the few questions I asked John:
Q1) How do you replace a Hall of Famer in Lorenz and put your own style into play?
The easy answer is, you don’t.
Most lacrosse players of my generation that are still playing have been around the Lorenz family for twenty-plus years. They are more family than anything. I would never have achieved many of the lacrosse goals I have without Todd and the impact his lacrosse knowledge and energy have had on myself and my teammates. More important to me, however, have been the conversations and advice he has given to me while shooting after practice or in the parking lot after games. His words about friendship, marriage, family, will stick with me for life.
Todd and I both highly value relationships with players and the ability to create an atmosphere of family that extends beyond the lacrosse floor. Having coached together and been part of the same organization for several years, he and I both share many lacrosse philosophies as well. That said, I have learned under many great lacrosse coaches – Troy Cordingley, Terry Sanderson, Derek Keenan, Jeff McComb, Rod Jensen, and Pat Coyle to name a few. I have also coached many years at the junior level alongside Richard Lachlan, and we have developed our own style and systems, both of which we have a lot of confidence in.
Q2) You were a member of the Edmonton and then Saskatchewan Rush from 2010 to 2016. What impact did those years playing for the Rush have on your coaching development?
At the National Lacrosse League (NLL) level, it was clear to me early on (especially when the league was down to nine teams) that I was not going to dominate athletically or as a transition player like I had at other levels of lacrosse. There is simply too much skill and athleticism at that level. A lot of the defensive players I was alongside were legitimate scorers in Junior A or high-level multi-sport athletes from all over North America.
If I was going to stick in the NLL, I would have to find my niche and for me (other than, “just be big” – as Coach Coyle tells me often) part of that was studying the game beyond what my opponents were doing. I watched film. Invested in what my coaches were telling me. Scouted players. Watched my own habits and tried to correct them. After a while, the X’s and O’s of lacrosse became somewhat of a passion for me and that has made me a more effective coach.
Those early lessons about the importance of attention to detail were important to my development as a lacrosse coach. Equally important were the lessons I learned with the Rush organization about character, leadership, the importance of family, and the sacrifice required to win a championship.
Q3) How do you envision moving forward with the Junior A’s as the economy and sports slowly re-open?
There is so much uncertainty for everyone in the lacrosse world moving forward and I do not think there is an easy answer to this question. Richard (Lachlan), Ryan Dilks, and I had worked so hard to build momentum heading into this season that it was really hard for us to accept that there would be no season. Admittedly, we were discouraged for some time.
Assuming we are playing next summer, I think the Jr. A Miners will ultimately benefit from the time away. It is a young group that should return more mature. It is a new coaching staff that will have more time to plan and adapt. It gives our players an opportunity to freely choose the level they wish to play at, as opposed to have it dictated or influenced by Junior B clubs.
Q4) As is the norm at the Junior A level, a few top players aged out. How will they be replaced and do you feel confident about the recent Midget Draft?
As would be expected, the biggest loss for us is in leadership and maturity. Brett Mitchell, Braeden Duckworth, Brett Oor, and Maurice Kelly were looked up to by the younger generation of players and with many fourth and fifth years from the coming generation choosing to play at a lower level, it will be up to some of our third years to take big steps forward into leadership roles.
Our focus though, is on the future, and given the abundance of talent we acquired through the midget draft – including names like Zach Basisty, Jack Royer, and Reese Barnes – we have every reason to be confident in where we are headed. Even players like Noah Jalal, Briley Maxwell, and Adam Lemieux demonstrate the depth of this year’s draft class and the outstanding job done by Edmonton and area’s minor lacrosse coaches.
For the many faults of the Alberta Lacrosse Association, never has our province seen more top-end talent coming through the midget and junior divisions. The evidence is seen in the recent success of Midget A Team Alberta, the amount of NCAA talent being recruited through programs like Jesse Fehr’s Mustangs/Evolve and the Snider brothers’ Elev8, and the success of recent NLL draft picks like Brett Craig and Dylan Kinnear.
There is much to be optimistic about even during a summer off of lacrosse.
That’s the scoop with John Lintz. Thank you kindly for your astute answers, cheers! And cheers to all lacrosse fans as we navigate through this extended and unexpected lengthy off-season. Stay healthy everyone.
**cover photo taken from HERE**