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CATTONI BROTHERS REUNITED IN PHILADELPHIA

Brotherly love only goes so far.

The answer was an emphatic “Definitely not!” when I asked Holden and Taite Cattoni if they’ll be rooming together this year when they play for the Philadelphia Wings.

The pair is set to become the latest set of brothers from the lacrosse hotbed of Peterborough, Ontario, to suit up for the same NLL team after Holden was acquired from the Rochester Knighthawks last week. They follow in the footsteps of the Curriers (Calgary), Evans brothers (Rochester) and Selfs (Rochester).

As much as the brothers love each other, they still need their own space – especially since they already live together and are currently chasing a Mann Cup (the Canadian national championship) together with the Peterborough Lakers of Major Series Lacrosse.

The Cattonis are originally from DeWinton, Alberta, outside of Calgary. Both kids were ball boys for the Roughnecks, which was where Holden met Tracey Kelusky, who enticed him to move to Peterborough to play junior lacrosse for the Lakers. Taite followed a few years later, and now their whole family calls Peterborough home.

Now they’ll be playing together in Philadelphia chasing an NLL Cup – but retreating to their separate corners after each game for a little down time.

Rochester sent Holden Cattoni and a 2023 sixth-round pick to Philadelphia for Hunter Lemieux, a fourth-round pick in 2023 and a first-round pick in 2024. Both are lefty forwards; Lemieux is five years younger than Cattoni.

Holden Cattoni had 84 points in 2022.

Holden was Rochester’s second-leading scorer last season with 40 goals and 44 assists for 84 points in 18 games. Lemieux appeared in seven games for Philadelphia and scored three goals and one assist.

Wings’ head coach and general manager Paul Day knows both Cattonis well – Day is the GM of the Lakers in Peterborough. Working out a deal to get him in a Wings’ uniform was a high priority.

“Holden took a huge step last year in the Mann Cup as our best player,” Day said. “He’s got great chemistry with Taite, plus he and Joe Resetarits were great last year together. He’s different than any other player we have on the team. Taite’s got that inside grinder, Mitch Jones is a playmaker, Blaze Riorden is an inside driver to the net and then Holden is one of the guys that passes really well to rights so that’s going to improve our right side.”

Day said that Holden’s cannon of a shot would improve the team’s power play right away. He’s looking forward to seeing the two brothers play together in the pro league.

“I thought Taite took huge steps late in the season,” Day said. “He had eight goals in his last six games or something. It takes a little pressure off him too now that we have four lefts that will play every night.”

Day keeps adding members of the Lakers to the Wings – Taite was acquired from Albany last season. Chad Tutton and former Laker Joe Resetarits were brought in during the 2022 offseason. Other teammates include Eric Shewell, Alex Pace, Blake McDonald, Kiel Matisz and former Laker Ian Llord.

Taite Cattoni of the Philadelphia Wings

Even though it seems like the brothers can’t get away from each other, senior lacrosse was actually the first time they had played together since they were kids in their backyard. Holden has been a mainstay on the roster since 2016; Taite was initially used as a call-up from senior B last year before impressing the coaches so much they were forced to keep him around.

Thursday night they beat the Brooklin Lacrosse Club, a 10-9 overtime win in which Taite scored the game-winning goal.

Since you can’t talk about Holden’s trade to Philadelphia without also talking about his relationship with his brother, I sat down with both Cattoni brothers before that game.

AT: I assume you found out about the trade before it went public?
HC: I got a call from Dan Carey Wednesday afternoon, maybe an hour before it went public. Little surprised for sure, I didn’t really see it coming. It’s always kind of a mystery when it happens and what the lead up to it was. It was a deal that worked both ways for both teams.

AT: Taite, where were you when you found out?
TC: I was in class at Trent University and Holden tried to call me. I was like “hey I’m in class, what’s up?” and he just goes “traded.” I kept seeing the dots go and then it said “Philly” and I was like “no way” and kinda jumped up and continued my day, but it’s super exciting. I didn’t see it coming at all.

AT: I bet your parents are happy to have you on the same team.
HC: They’re used to it now with us playing in Peterborough together. They don’t get to a ton of NLL games with travel. I think they’re happy we’re together and it’ll making watching games a little bit easier in the winter. But they weren’t like, as euphoric as you might think.

AT: Taite, where’s the first place you’ll take Holden in Philadelphia?
TC: Oh man, I haven’t been there for very long. But I like to do Maggiano’s for game days. We’re obviously Italian so I think he’ll love that. It’s a great spot downtown. It’s a great city. There’s lots to do.

AT: Have you found a cheesesteak place yet?
TC: I have! I’m a Geno’s guy. I’ve been to Philly a couple times before, never went when I was in the NLL just being busy with practice and games so I never had time for it during the NLL season. I’m sure we’ll get there.

AT: How will you guys juggle your lacrosse and work schedules this season?
TC: I work at Christian Horizons and I’m in school at Trent. I have two classes this summer and I’ll have two more in the fall. It’s pretty easy for me, weekends are good for me so I don’t have any issues. I’d like to go to teacher’s college and get a job in the states teaching and coaching lacrosse at a prep school. I went to a prep school (Salisbury) and it improved me a lot so I want to help kids like it helped me.
HC: I work for the Ontario Health Team in Peterborough in Patient Navigation Planning. I’m pretty fortunate that I work from home and I have a pretty flexible schedule. It definitely is a challenge at times when I have things going on at work, but the NLL is a little easier to maneuver with me working remotely.

Holden Cattoni with the Rochester Knighthawks

AT: Let’s look back a bit. Taite, you followed Holden to Peterborough. Was it seeing how much he loved it out here that convinced you to come?
TC: I wanted to play the best lacrosse in the world at the junior level. Thankfully, Holden opened the door for teams to look at me. It was a no-brainer when I heard Peterborough wanted me, to live with him and Tracey Kelusky at the time, and it’s all worked out to now play for the senior Lakers. Winning the Mann Cup together last year was incredible and now we get to play in the best league in the world together.

AT: And now your parents are out here as well.
TC: They’re amazing. They love us so much. There was nothing keeping them in Calgary and they wanted to be around their boys. They’re getting close to retirement so it’s a great place for them out in Buckhorn on the lake. Everything’s worked out for the best and lacrosse has been a big key to that.

AT: Will you guys travel to games together this upcoming season?
HC: We’ll fly. We’ll drive together with Eric Shewell and we’ll probably pick up a few other Laker guys on the way; there’s a few guys that live in Whitby so we’ll have a pretty good travel group.

AT: Does it make you more comfortable with so many Laker teammates on the Wings?
HC: It’s always nice to come into a new team and have some familiar faces right away. It cuts down on the adjustment time and it’s nice to have those relationships.

AT: You know Paul Day quite well, so are you looking forward to being coached by him?
HC: Yeah, I have a really good relationship with Paul. I think he understands my game and my strengths really well. It’s nice coming into a situation where I already have some familiarity with the coach and have an understanding of how he would want me to play. That’s one of the bigger transitions when getting traded to a new team, so I’m glad I already have that support system in place.

AT: You guys are pretty competitive with each other. How does that manifest in a game?
HC: I don’t know if it comes across when we’re on the same team. I think it was more evident when we played against each other last year in the NLL. We have different roles on our team here so I don’t know if it comes across that way. Obviously, there are some jabs here and there but we just try and go out and play really well. There are more than two guys on the team, and different dynamics at play, so we just play hard for one another and for our teammates as well.

AT: Do you guys make each other better players?
HC: I think so. We have a really good rapport and have a good understanding of each other’s games and what we’re looking for. We’re in a good position where we listen to each other pretty well. I can help Taite out a bit with what I see with my little bit more experience. It’s something that I really enjoy.

AT: Would you agree?
TC: It’s great to have a guy that’s one of the best players in the world as a brother and you go home with him and he tells you some things that he saw out there. He’s a big advocate for how good I’ve become, and I’m super excited to have him on my team.

AT: Do you ever get sick of each other?
HC: Definitely.
TC: Yeah, we definitely get sick of each other. We get on each other’s nerves every once in awhile but it’s all good. It’s brother stuff. Deep down we both know even when we jab at each other we don’t mean it. It’s out of love.

AT: Will you room together when playing for the Wings?
BOTH (at the exact same time): Definitely not!
TC: Blake McDonald’s my roommate; I don’t see me getting rid of Blake. Holden and I see each other enough around the house, at the pool in the backyard, so we don’t need to add a hotel room to that.

AT: So how do you split up the chores at the house?
TC: I do all the chores.

AT: Does Holden make you?
TC: Yes.

AT: What happens if you don’t, does he put you in a headlock or something?
TC: It’s more like a controlled scream like “hey you gotta do this!” Just a gentle reminder. I’m the chore guy and that’s fine with me.

The Cattoni family celebrates the 2022 Mann Cup championship. (Photo: David Pickering)

AT: What’s your best memory of playing together?
HC: Winning the Mann cup last year. It was a really good series and really cool that Taite became a full timer in the middle of the year. With Turner (Evans) getting hurt last year in the Mann Cup, Taite played a significant role in us winning last year. It was really great to see not only that he was part of the roster but really played a big part in it.
TC: Same! Mann Cup. It’s the biggest trophy in Canada to aspire to win, besides the Minto Cup (Jr. A) and to do that with each other and both of us playing a big role i,t was awesome and a dream come true.

AT: Which of you is the better player?
TC: Holden. Right now. Just because he’s four years older. In four years, we’ll see.

AT: And in 10 years, who’s the better player?
TC: I mean I would still say Holden.
HC: I’ve already won four Mann Cups, so he’s got a ways to go.

AT: What would the two of you like to accomplish together in lacrosse?
HC: Just keep winning, now that we’re on the same team. We obviously want to win more Mann Cups here in Peterborough, and we want to win some NLL Cups. That’s what it’s all about!

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