Welcome back to NLL.com’s weekly feature, Where Are They Now? Every week we will be catching up with former NLL players to hear what they are up to. As always, if there is a former player you’d like to hear from, send us a tweet @NLL.
This week’s feature is on Rich Catton, 47, former defenseman with the Buffalo Bandits (2000-2001), Vancouver Ravens (2002-2004), Calgary Roughnecks (2005) and Colorado Mammoth (2006-2009).
Hailing from New Westminster, British Columbia, Catton played for the Jr. and Sr. A New Westminster Salmonbellies, Sr. A Vancouver Burrards, Sr. A Victoria Shamrocks and the Sr. A Coquitlam Adanacs before joining the NLL.
Catton was on the 2006 Mammoth team that won the Champion’s Cup. He finished his NLL career with 11 goals and 58 assists and missed only three games during the last five seasons of his career.
NLL.com: What are you up to these days?
Catton: I’m a Sergeant with the British Columbia Sheriff Department and I’m the head coach for the New Westminster Salmonbellies Jr. A team.
NLL.com: What team did you grow up rooting for?
Catton: I grew up rooting for the Salmonbellies actually. I also grew up in New Westminster so it’s pretty cool (to coach them now).
NLL.com: What inspired you to get involved in the police department?
Catton: My mother and her husband are both from the law enforcement community.
NLL.com: Do you still play lacrosse?
Catton: I play masters lacrosse (an adult league), mostly in tournaments a few times a year.
I’m too busy coaching to play more than that.
NLL.com: What is your most fond memory of playing in the NLL?
Catton: Winning the Champions Cup with Colorado in 2006 is my favorite memory of playing in the NLL. It was a weird year for me because I won the Mann Cup as well in the Canadian Lacrosse League. (Once we finally won), it was such a relief for me. I felt a calmness and quietness when the game was over and then right after, you go into celebration mode.
NLL.com: You missed only three regular season games in your last five years in the league. What was your key to staying healthy?
Catton: I did a lot of training off the floor to keep myself ready to go. I had no problem playing banged up. The training staff in Colorado was next to none in keeping us healthy. They were top notch.
We had fitness routines that our trainer gave us, but by the time my career was winding down I had my own routine. It’s a short week so you have to recover fast. For the most part it was one high intensity workout a week and in between, some cardio and light workouts.
NLL.com: Everyone from the 2006 Mammoth team talks about how close that team was. Where do you think the chemistry of that team came from?
Catton: That was my first year on the team, but there were guys there who were already in place who were fantastic. They made us all feel welcome. They all understood we had a core group of guys and we had something special going on. The entire dressing room knew everyone had a job to do.
We were longshots to win that year, but we just jelled at the right time. We had great goaltending with Gee Nash and Pat Coyle led the defense. We were all friends and we still all talk to each other today.
NLL.com: What were your emotions like when you finally decided to hang up the cleats and retire?
Catton: It’s weird because I was lucky enough to play into my mid-30’s, but I had a family life to get back to. It was time to start taking care of that. You have a sense of its time (to retire). Your family makes sacrifices throughout your playing career and I thought it was time to hang it up and let the younger guys take over. It wears on you and your family over the years.
NLL.com: Favorite artist? (Singer or painter!)
Catton: Def Leppard and U2. I used to love listening to them before games. My favorite album is Joshua Tree (by U2).
NLL.com: Who are three people from any time in history that you’d love to have dinner with?
Catton: I’ll talk about people that inspired me.
1) Stan Stewardson was a coach of mine with the Salmonbellies and the Burrards who really inspired me.
2) My Mom.
3) As for leaders, Michael Jordan. He was fantastic to watch and was a clutch guy. The intensity he brought to the table was pretty special.