Welcome back to NLL.com’s weekly feature, Where Are They Now? Every week we will be catching up with former NLL players to hear what they are up to. As always, if there is a former player you’d like to hear from, send us a tweet @NLL.
This week’s feature is on Lewis Ratcliff, 37, former forward with the Calgary Roughnecks (2003-2008), Toronto Rock (2008-2009) and Washington/Vancouver Stealth (2010-2015).
Ratcliff was drafted by the Calgary Roughnecks with the 41st overall pick (4th round) of the 2001 NLL Draft, before sitting out a year to finish school. He won two championships in his time in the NLL, first with Calgary in 2004 and then with Washington in 2010. He took home the NLL Finals MVP award in 2010.
Ratcliff ranks ninth all-time in goals with 440 and 10th in points with 959. In 2010, he led the league in goals with 46 and finished second in points with 97.
NLL.com: What are you up to these days?
Ratcliff: I live in Victoria, British Columbia and I’m in real estate. I’ve been doing it full-time since I stopped playing lacrosse and it’s going very well up here.
I was an owner of the Seattle Starz (a lacrosse training program in Washington) where I was the high school director for ten years but recently stepped away. Starting this summer I’ll be moving into a smaller role as a high school recruiting advisor because my wife and I are having our third kid.
NLL.com: What does your real estate work entail?
Ratcliff: A little bit of everything. From sales, to marketing, to social media. We do residential sales and represent buyers and sellers.
NLL.com: How are you still involved in lacrosse?
Ratcliff: Only in my position with the Starz.
I was heavily involved with the Starz full-time for ten years. I coached every fall and summer. Moving forward I’m going to take some time away from coaching and spend time with family.
NLL.com: What is your fondest memory of playing in the NLL?
Ratcliff: I would say the 2010 championship in Everett, Washington. The first year being in a new city was pretty cool because we went 10-0 to start the season. I was traded from Toronto and we played Toronto in the Finals. To beat them in the Finals and win MVP was pretty cool, too, because you take it somewhat personal when a team trades you. It was good to win to make it seem like Washington made the right move (with the trade).
NLL.com: Do you still keep in touch with any of your teammates and if so, which one (s)?
Ratcliff: I casually talk to a number of them on social media. But I’m really good friends with Rhys Duch. He was in my wedding party. Our families are very close. Even our moms are close. Other than that, it’s more casual – you know, you see each other and you catch up.
NLL.com: Hoisting the NLL Cup in your second year with Calgary in 2004 or hoisting the NLL Cup in a year where you led the league in goals and in the first year in Everett in 2010 – which one was more memorable?
Ratcliff: They both are up there. I say 2010 because I think I had a bigger role in it. (2004) was my second year in the league – I didn’t really know much and I was getting used to the game.
In 2010 there was a little more pressure. We were a first place team and we were expected to go far.
NLL.com: You won two NLL Cup’s, an NLL Finals MVP and you led the league in goals for one season (46 goals in 2010). When you look back, which of those accomplishments are you the most proud of?
Ratcliff: That’s a tough question. I think everyone has a different role in the game. Mine was to score goals and put up points. When I look at the top 10 scoring list of all-time, I think it’s pretty cool to see my name. I don’t see myself as good as those other guys so it’s great to be in that company.
But when you look back, you remember the NLL Finals and the guys you win those with. So I’d say the 2 NLL Cups are the most memorable.
NLL.com: Your stats progressed each of the first five seasons in the league. What do you attribute that to?
Ratcliff: I definitely worked hard. I think that’s what I was known for. In particular, fitness, nutrition and work ethic off the field. I think I made the most of what I had. I wasn’t the most skilled guy or fastest but I worked hard at improving my game in different areas of being successful. I was always in shape and took care of myself and was always read to play.
NLL.com: If you were to stand in front of a room of current NLL rookies, having played in the league for 14 years, what advice would you have for them?
Ratcliff: I would say a couple things – one would be to make sure that you are continuously getting better. There are always newer, better guys coming up looking to take your job.
Second and more importantly – make plans for after retirement because it comes quickly. I was lucky enough to have a successful business when I retired but retirement came fast, so make sure you take care of your future.
NLL.com: If you could have any superpower what would it be any why?
Ratcliff: I would say teleport. Life is busy with kids everywhere. It would make life easier to get places faster.