The “Loud House,” better known as Pepsi Center, can be a confidence booster, or an intimidation factor depending on who you ask.
Often times it’s both for a player making his NLL debut, even if the Denver crowd is on your side.
Colorado’s Jordan Gilles learned that first hand on New Year’s Day, especially when the sixth-round draft choice scored a critical fourth-quarter goal for the Mammoth en route to a 16-15 win.
“It’s great. I think it’s one of the best organizations I could be in,” Gilles said, grinning from ear to ear postgame. “Happy to be here and happy to get the first [game] under my belt.”
In addition to scoring on his very first shift in the league, Gilles tallied seven loose balls and a caused turnover among the likes of captain Dan Coates, Joey Cupido, Robert Hope and Creighton Reid, to name a few.
Gilles was selected 52nd overall in the 2015 NLL Draft, and signed a two-year deal prior to training camp, where the 21-year-old impressed coaches and veterans alike.
“I had a couple goals during training camp, and that sure boosted the confidence,” he added. “But all these guys are the best in the league and I’m happy to be here.”
His confidence certainly accelerated after getting word he made the final roster.
“I got the call right before an exam. I couldn’t sit still during that one, that was the best news.”
The Richmond, BC native is a product of the Delta Islanders Jr. A team in Canada. He was traded to Delta following two championship seasons with the Coquitlam Adanacs. In 2015, Gilles was awarded the British Columbia Jr. A Lacrosse League’s Keith McEachren Trophy, given to the league’s Most Sportsmanlike Player.
Mammoth President & General Manager Steve Govett credited speed as one of Gilles’ top attributes, as he joins fellow 2015 NLL Draft selection Bryce Sweeting on the roster for Colorado’s defense.
The defensive front of Colorado will have their hands full Saturday, January 9 as they faceoff against the Rochester Knighthawks in the teams’ first road game of 2016. They will be matched against the likes of Dan Dawson, Jordan Hall and Joe Walters with Cody Jamieson working his way back from an Achilles injury suffered last playoffs.
The two teams met in a home-and-home series last year, where the hosting team won in both affairs. Rochester topped Colorado 14-5 at Blue Cross Arena, with the Mammoth getting revenge the following week in a 11-10 nail biter at Pepsi Center.
By Nick Salen (@MammothBeat) for NLL.com.