fbpx

Buffalo wins Game 2 15-13 to clinch Back-to-Back Titles; Byrne is Finals MVP

×
Scores / Schedule
Stories/Op-Ed

Warriors’ Turnaround is Fueled By Four Main Pillars

Sacrifice, resilience, trust and belief. These are the four foundational pillars of the Curt Malawsky system.

When the Vancouver Warriors signed Malawsky to a multi-year deal to become their head coach and general manager last summer, they did so knowing that he was going to come in and change the culture of the organization. Sixteen games into his first season in charge of the team, Malawsky has already begun to prove that his methods and ideology can bear fruit.

Within the first few months of joining the Warriors, Malawsky was not shy about overhauling the roster and bringing in the type of guys that he wanted playing for him.

While it is common for a new staff to make a bevy of changes, Malawsky had the benefit of the doubt while making these moves. Not only was he named last seasons Coach of the Year, in 2019, he led the Calgary Roughnecks to an NLL title – that was a team he helped construct alongside Roughnecks’ GM Mike Board. As it stands at this moment, Malawsky has 97 head coaching wins. He is the seventh-most winningest coach in NLL history. Malawsky was also a successful player and was part of the 2009 Roughnecks championship team.

As a player and a coach, Malawsky has proven he knows how to win. He is now showing his new team, his hometown team, how to put themselves in the best position to garner similar success.

Considering that there is a revamped coaching staff – Malawsky brought in Bob McMahon (Assistant General Manager & Assistant Offensive Coach), Rob Williams (Assistant Defensive Coach), Tyler Richards (Player Development Coach), and Grant Coghill (Video Coach) – it was expected that it would take time for their philosophy and style to be learned by their new players.

Malawsky knew that the Warriors project would not be a quick fix, but over the last month, things have gone better than many expected. After starting the season with a 2-8 record, the Warriors have now won four games in a row and five of their last six to move to 7-9. The coach stated that everyone is now starting to get on the same page.

I think its everybody kind of just understanding each other, understanding the expectations, and guys putting the work in – I think its a combination of a lot of things,” Malawsky said. It takes time to turn a program around, so youre slowly working at it. It’s understanding how the coaches think and understanding how the players think, making sure were all on the same page and battling for a common goal.”

As much praise as Malawsky gets for the teams impressive turnaround, he refuses to take all the credit. Malawsky (who has previously said that he believes the leagues end-of-season coaching award should be called the Coaching Staff of the Year Award instead of the Coach of the Year Award) knows that his good fortune has come from the men on the bench beside him as much as it has been earned by himself and his players.

I dont think you can quantify what Bobby [Coach McMahon] has done for me personally as a coach, father and person – its unquantifiable,” Malawsky said. “His intelligence, poise, commitment, dedication and hard work are unrivaled. The infinite wisdom that he has, week in and week out, conversation after conversation, its unquantifiable.

Robby Williams [Coach Williams] in my opinion, might just be the hardest-working coach in the NLL. He spends hours and hours on video trying to improve the team. Hes such a players coach.

This is the Warriors’ first win streak of four games since 2010, and if they beat the New York Riptide in Vancouver in Week 20, it will be the first time the Warriors have a home winning record since 2017.

The team has also hit record attendance numbers this season. Back on their March 1st game against the Buffalo Bandits, the Warriors set a record crowd of 10,355 attendees. Warriors’ faithful broke that record this past weekend against the Halifax Thunderbirds, with 10,561 fans attending that game.

For players like Keegan Bal, who has been with this franchise since 2016 (as the Vancouver Stealth), its an incredible feeling to see so many fans coming out and filling the seats at Rogers Arena because that wasnt always the case.

Lacrosse is starting to catch on in Vancouver – thats always a good thing,” Bal said. To play in front of the fanbase that continually comes out and supports us. Even when we were losing, they still came out and supported us, so its nice to win in front of them.”

Vancouver Warriors v Las Vegas Desert Dogs 03-30-2024

The Warriors have played selfless, hard-nosed team ball all year, and they are continuing to improve in every facet game after game. It hasnt just been the savvy, proven veterans like captain Brett Mydske, Matt Beers or Ryan Dilks who are laying it all on the line for their brothers in battle every shift, were seeing the young guns, such as rookies Owen Grant and Brayden Laity, laying down the hammer and stepping in front of shots to prevent goals.

Bal is on fire offensively of late – over the teams last six games, hes scored 27 goals – and he deserves tremendous praise for what hes accomplished, but what about the guys that are setting strong picks to help him get open? Or the selflessness his teammates exhibit when they know to feed the hot hand instead of trying to boost their own numbers? The Warriors have shown us that they are a team that plays best when they play for each other, not just with each other.

This was one of the lessons that Malawsky wanted to instill in his players. This game is bigger than any one person on that roster. They are a team through and through. Win together. Lose together. The fact that there has been plenty of winning of late is a moving turn of events for the Coquitlam, B.C. native. This is his home. So, for him to bring hope and belief to a city near and dear to his heart, is special.

We wanted to create a team that the fans, and the city, and the province could get behind,” Malawsky said. Its 100% a testament to the players on the floor committing to the process, committing to each other, committing to the fan base, committing to the organization – its part of our culture.”

Were humbled by all of the support the community has given us, and the province has given us. Were just trying to go to work and show that an honest effort is having honest results. Its early in the process, but we appreciate all of the support.”

The Warriors’ journey continues this weekend against the Riptide. They must win to remain in contention for one of the last remaining playoff spots. If they can keep doing what theyve been doing over their last six games, they believe they can get the job done.

Its definitely different than any other situation Ive been a part of,” Bal said. [Malawskys] preparation is special – second-to-none for sure. It gives us a lot of confidence knowing that our staff is going to make the right adjustments and decisions on game-planning and play-calling. It allows you to just go out there and play, and not think of anything else and just do your job.”

NLL