Tom Schreiber has accomplished a lot so far in his magnificent lacrosse career.
The Long Island product was a star at St. Anthony’s High School and then went to Princeton University where he racked up 200 career points and was a four-time USILA All-American. Schreiber was the first overall selection in the 2014 Major League Lacrosse draft by the Ohio Machine and helped Ohio win a championship in 2017. He signed with the Toronto Rock of the National Lacrosse League in 2016 as an unrestricted free-agent and took the NLL by storm in his first season. He was named the NLL Rookie of the Year in 2017 setting a record with 61 assists and is second all-time with 94 points. Schreiber is also a star in the Premier Lacrosse League and was named midfielder of the year in 2019 and 2020.
And now, one of the greatest players in the world can add a new accomplishment to his resume…daddy!
On January 11th, Schreiber and his wife Kathleen welcomed their first child when their daughter Lilly was born.
“Seeing what my wife has accomplished over the last few weeks…a cross check has never felt so meaningless,” said Schreiber. “It makes you kind of put things in perspective. I have a hard time thinking about any time prior to her arriving. It’s been an amazing journey. It’s a renewed and newfound respect for my wife.”
Life is certainly good for the 29-year-old Schreiber who is second in the NLL with 23 goals coming into this Saturday’s game in Albany (7pm ET ESPN+ and TSN.ca). After a rough start to the season, the Rock (5-3) has won three games in a row including a 12-10 victory this past Saturday against the previously unbeaten Buffalo Bandits. In that game, Schreiber scored four goals to go along with two assists and was named the game’s third star.
Things are certainly trending in the right direction for Schreiber and company. Schreiber now has at least four goals in five games played this season (out of six games) and is on pace to set a career high in goals at just over 60, a feat only four players in league history have accomplished.
“I think we’re finding our stride,” said Schreiber. “I think it was a little up and down at the beginning of the year. We really started to turn the corner against Halifax (14-13 overtime loss on January 15th). We ended up losing the game but we felt that we kind of turned the corner. We want to just keep that rolling. Our team is in a good place.”
For Schreiber and everyone associated with the NLL, the last couple of years has certainly been a challenge in navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2019-20 season was cut short without the league crowning a champion and the entire 2020-21 season was cancelled. The league returned to action for the 2021-22 season which began this past December, but the surge of the Omicron variant brought back some strict COVID-related protocols north of the border and that meant no fans at their last two home games in Hamilton.
But the fans will be back at the First Ontario Centre very soon.
Starting this Thursday, Ontario officials will allow 50% capacity for sporting events and then 100% capacity will be allowed starting on March 1st “if public health and health system indicators continue to improve”.
That means that the Rock will be able welcome back their fans for their next home game on March 5th against the New York Riptide.
“We’ve been missing the fans so it will be nice to get back in front of them,” said Schreiber. “It’s been a bummer. The fans mean the world to us. To not be in front of them has been tough.”
Schreiber has enjoyed a great relationship with the fan base in Ontario and is affectionately called “Captain America”, a nickname that originated in his rookie season by one of the Toronto Rock broadcasters.
He has this great relationship with the fans in Canada despite the fact that he broke their hearts a few years ago.
Schreiber certainly etched his place in American lacrosse history when he scored the game-winning goal as time expired to give the United States a 9-8 win over Canada at the 2018 World Championships in Israel.
Schreiber is an American playing in a league that is comprised mostly of Canadian and Iroquois players and he is certainly one of the best players in the NLL. He understands why he has the nickname, but it’s not something that he dwells on.
“I’ve never really loved it,” said Schreiber. “I’ve just kind of been a little uncomfortable with it. I was a young New York Saints fan and there were American guys doing their thing out there back then and there’s been a steady flow of them ever since. I look to those guys as guys who set the foundation and frankly motivated me a couple of years ago when this opportunity came about. If those guys hadn’t done it, I wouldn’t have jumped in with two feet.”
Schreiber has been a professional lacrosse player for eight years, but the sport, box or field, has never been as healthy or popular as it is right now. The National Lacrosse League welcomed its 14th franchise this season with Panther City Lacrosse Club and next season the league will grow to 15 teams with a new franchise in Las Vegas. Throw in new national television deals with ESPN+ in the United States and TSN in Canada and the National Lacrosse League is thriving like it never has before.
“It’s very exciting,” said Schreiber. “I don’t know if there’s ever been a better time to be a professional lacrosse player. Despite the hurdles with the pandemic, it does seem like there’s been some significant progress in terms of growth and the TV deal. I feel very lucky to be playing at this point and hopefully we’re just getting started.”
And with the growth of lacrosse comes the growth of the sport’s apparel and equipment industry with many successful companies that battle to have the best players in the world endorsing their products. Schreiber began a relationship with Epoch Lacrosse about a year ago and it’s a partnership that has helped both Schreiber continue to grow the sport doing what they do best.
“They allow me to focus on being an athlete and bring me in for conversations as to how to help make the gear better,” said Schreiber. “Without that support, I’m not able to give 100% of my efforts into lacrosse. It’s been amazing. I’m so excited to be a part of their growth as a company. It’s been a home run on my end and I couldn’t be happier.”
Well, Schreiber’s level of happiness will reach a new level in a few weeks when he does something that he’s never done before and that is play an NLL game just a few minutes away from where he grew up on Long Island.
Schreiber cut his teeth playing lacrosse in his hometown of East Meadow which is just a stone’s throw away from the Nassau Coliseum, the current home of the New York Riptide and the venue that was the home for the New York Saints of the MILL/NLL from 1989 to 2003. Schreiber was a huge Saints fans and went to many in games including one night when his youth team played a game on the field at halftime.
On February 26th, Schreiber will be playing in an NLL game in that historic venue as a visiting player when the Rock take on the Riptide.
“I’m looking forward to it,” said Schreiber. “I was excited when New York got a team. It was kind of nostalgic back to those Saints days and I’m from right in East Meadow. Growing up and passing the Coliseum just about every day and I’ve been to a million (New York) Islanders (hockey) games and Saints games and all that stuff. To be able to play there will be pretty special.”
There’s no question that Schreiber will hear a lot of cheers from family and friends that night but that’s been the case throughout his career. They travelled to see him play at Princeton and they would also come to Hofstra University to see him play for the Ohio Machine of Major League Lacrosse when they visited the New York Lizards. Schreiber’s family and friends returned to Hofstra last summer to see him play for the Archers of the Premier Lacrosse League and they’ve also travelled to Philadelphia a number of times to see him play for the Rock against the Wings.
Now they’ll get to see him play at “The Barn” right in his backyard.
“I think it’s like four minutes from my parents’ house,” said Schreiber. “I think it will be really cool. Anytime the family can get together for this sort of thing and seeing them in the stands is pretty special. It will be really fun and a really special experience for me to kind of be out on that floor and being part of that game rather than being up in the stands.”
And that brings us back to a very young fan that could very well see her daddy play in person for the first time.
“It might be Lilly’s first game,” said Schreiber. “We’ll see. She’s been watching on the broadcasts and she’s gotten on there a few times so she’s already starting to build her celebrity (status). We have to keep her humble.”
His resume speaks for itself.
“Captain America” (although he probably would have preferred if I left that out!)
Life is good for Tom Schreiber.