The day before Adam Wiedemann was born in 1996, his uncle, Jim Veltman, won his third NLL Championship with the Buffalo Bandits.
Although his box lacrosse roots began to sprout in Georgetown, Ontario, when he was four years old, Wiedemann would blossom into a more elite player when his family moved a stone’s throw away to one of the hotbeds of the game, Brampton, Ontario, just a few years later.
It was clear that Wiedemann would play lacrosse, even if he wasn’t obligated to. It was a family tradition, but, more importantly, it has been part of the city’s culture for nearly 150 years. When enough people around you are playing lacrosse (and having the time of their lives doing it), how could you not want to play too?
By the time he was nine years old (and he and his family had moved to Brampton), Wiedemann was starting to get his lacrosse feet under him. He had been going to watch his idol now play lacrosse for the Toronto Rock, and his idol’s success was inspiring him to want to reach those heights as well.
“My uncle, Jim Veltman, was my biggest idol growing up. I remember watching him when I went to Toronto Rock games all the time. Seeing him win championships was really cool, and it made me want to do that same thing. I saw the genuine joy and happiness on his face when he won. I want to feel that and get to that level.”
As the years went by, Wiedemann started building his own impressive resume. While playing for the various age groups in Brampton, Wiedemann’s teams would win multiple tournaments. Then at DII college Belmont Abbey, Wiedemann’s team won a conference championship. Wiedemann earned a first round selection (8th overall) in the 2018 NLL Entry Draft.
In his first season with the Swarm, the team made the playoffs, but since the NLL has returned from its COVID-induced hiatus, the Swarm have struggled to get back in the playoffs. Last season, the team went 9-9, just missing the postseason. This year, the team has started 1-7. Yet, while the team is 10-16 in that span, Wiedemann has improved yearly.
Last season, Wiedemann stood out as one of the league’s most well-rounded defenders. He was one of six defensemen to record 100+ loose balls picked up, 15+ caused turnovers, and 15+ blocked shots. He also added a career-high 14 points. This year, despite the team’s win-loss record, Wiedemann is once again on pace for 15+ CTOs and 15+ blocked shots. He is also on pace to have a career-high 23 points.
Wiedemann, a big team guy, is always striving to be the most complete player. Personal accolades and recognition are an afterthought to him. Especially having played through some tough years with this team, he’s wanting and willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win. Having played on both sides of the ball throughout his amateur and professional career, he has a skillset advantage that is proving very useful.
“I want to do whatever I can, whether that is scoring goals, getting assists, picking up loose balls, or causing turnovers, I’m always trying to improve how I can contribute to the team,” Wiedemann said. “Always trying to get bigger, faster, and stronger, I think will help me on the floor and, in turn, help the team.
Aside from the obvious goal of wanting to win more games, Wiedemann is motivated to play better and give maximum effort because he respects the men he plays with. From the younger, blossoming core that he’s apart of, to the seasoned veterans who have seen this Swarm team at both its highest and lowest points, Wiedemann wants to win for his brothers on the floor.
“Thankfully, we’ve had really great veteran leaders in Jordan MacIntosh and Shayne Jackson, guys that have been with the Swarm for a long time when there were rough seasons in Minnesota,” Wiedemann said. “They’ve been through it, which helps guide us all through the bad and tougher times in a game. The veteran leadership has been huge for us in helping us get through the next shift.”
“It’s really fun [playing with the younger guys]. We’re all around the same age, and we’ve all played a lot of college lacrosse together, so we all have a lot in common. We all play a similar fast and aggressive style. I think [management] has put the right guys together. It’s been really fun playing with those guys. I think we’ve got great chemistry together.”
Over the years, Wiedemann has learned the importance of respecting the game regardless of all the ups and downs and blood, sweat, and tears that are experienced and endured in the hope to one day lift the NLL Cup. Wiedemann cited one of his former coaches Albert Rehanek as the man who taught him this most-valued lesson.
“He preached the importance of respect,” Wiedemann said. “Respecting everything: your opponent, your stick, your teammates, your coaches – everyone – and respecting the game.”
At 26, Wiedemann is confident that he has chosen the right path. Lacrosse has taught him about life, and it has made him the man he is today – a man who is a budding defensive star in the NLL.
“I don’t know what I would be doing or what I would be without it.”
Wiedemann was born into a family where lacrosse was part of one’s identity – he wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. And, maybe, just maybe, he’ll one day catch his uncle’s mark of eight NLL Championships victories.