When the New Jersey Storm appointed assistant coach Peter Vipond to the position of head coach on February 22, 2003 they did more than just change the structure of their team, they provided themselves with a proven winner.
Vipond, who for the first time in his 34 years of lacrosse experience served as an assistant coach of any team, officially took over the reins from Storm General Manager Jim Brady for the road game at Philadelphia.
?I?m excited about the opportunity and I?m glad that I was able to get a feel for the National Lacrosse League and the players at first,? Vipond stated shortly after being promoted. ?Although it will be a challenge, things will get turned around and become more positive.?
The Brooklin, Ontario resident holds the record for all-time wins at the Major League in the Ontario Lacrosse Association and is a Canadian Lacrosse Hall-of-Fame member. Over his 34-year coaching career he has amassed an impressive record while leading the Whitby Warriors to a Minto Cup title (Junior-A) and the Brooklin Redmen (Major) to five Mann Cup championships.
Vipond, who is known throughout the lacrosse world as a top-notch coach (specializing on the defensive side of the ball), feels that his Storm club will need to become stronger in front of their own net in order to be successful.
?Defensively we need to become a little tougher and is one part of our game that we have to work on,? he added.
Regarding the current status of his club, Vipond understands that with the loss of starting goaltender Matt Roik early on that the club has had its fair share of obstacles in their way.
?What has hurt us is losing Matt Roik,? he said. ?I don?t know how many teams can lose their starting goaltender (after one game) and be successful.?
Despite the Storm?s bad luck Vipond continues to feel strongly about the team all season long and with four of the clubs eight losses coming by two goals or less, knows full well that the year could have very easily gone a different way.
?We have good size and quickness and a real good core group of guys,? he said.
In addition to his lacrosse experience Vipond is a former National Hockey League player, after being both drafted and playing left wing for the now defunct California/Oakland Seals during the 1972-1973 season.
When not working with the Storm club, Vipond serves as the General Manager to the Oshawa Legionaires of the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League.
Vipond will make his home coaching debut this Friday night, February 28th when the Storm return home to the Meadowland to take on the Albany Attack in a non-division match-up at 7:30 p.m. The first 2,500 fans will receive Storm collector lights. Tickets can be obtained by calling (201) 507-8900, in-person at the Continental Airlines Arena box office or any Ticketmaster location, or online via Ticketmaster.com. For more information call 1-866-NJ STORM.