Teat’s ‘Warriors’ set to grow fandom on Long Island
There’s no denying that Long Island is one of the great hotbeds for lacrosse in North America. You would be hard-pressed to drive down any block or street in any community on Long Island without seeing a lacrosse net in front of a house, kids having a catch with lacrosse sticks or even just one kid firing a lacrosse ball against a wall. The sport has deep roots on Long Island but as popular as the sport is in this area, there are still communities that haven’t been exposed to the game of lacrosse.
And that’s where “Teat’s Warriors” comes in.
New York Riptide forward Jeff Teat has joined forces with the team and with Warrior Lacrosse to form “Teat’s Warriors”, a community-based initiative that provides Riptide tickets to underprivileged communities on Long Island.
“I think it’s an awesome thing that we’re doing,” said Teat, the 2022 National Lacrosse League Rookie of the Year.
“Lacrosse, as is, is not necessarily a widely viewed sport and I think just the general views that we can get towards the game and playing the right way is awesome and even going a step further with the “Warriors” getting people that may not be able to see a lacrosse game even if they are able to…so I think reaching all points is something pretty special and something that not everybody gets the chance and the same opportunity to.”
Teat has been able to meet his “Warriors” and their families after each Riptide home game so far this season and that will continue this Saturday January 28th when the Riptide plays host to the Buffalo Bandits at Nassau Coliseum (7:30pm ET ESPN+/TSN+).
“We are honored to partner with Warrior and our own Jeff Teat to help bring children closer to the great game of lacrosse at Nassau Coliseum,” said Rich Lisk, President and General Manager of the Riptide. “Our organization is committed to the community and always doing our part in growing the game on Long Island and throughout the area.”
It’s one thing to be able to experience what it’s like to see a professional lacrosse game in person, but the kids and families are also able to meet one of the brightest young stars in the sport.
And Teat is having fun meeting new fans.
“It’s been awesome,” said Teat. “The idea of getting them out and watching a game and having a good time with their families is the most important thing. Win or lose, I think putting a smile on their faces is the most important thing.”
“Warrior is proud to sponsor ‘Teat’s Warriors’ section for New York Riptide home games,” said Gabe O’ Neil, Warrior Brand Marketing Manager. “Young athletes and fans deserve to experience lacrosse played at the highest level and we, along with Jeff, are happy to make that a bit more special.”
The “Teat’s Warriors” partnership also includes Teat conducting a series of stick stringing clinics for children at multiple Lacrosse Unlimited locations on Long Island. The first one was a on January 14th at the Sayville location.
And it sure sounds like it was a smashing success.
“It was fun,” said Teat. “The gist of it is maybe showing them my stick or a couple of tricks but I think the cool part about it is just interacting with them, getting to know them a little bit outside of lacrosse and vice-versa getting them to know me as well. I’m looking forward to the next one.”
And the next one will be Sunday January 29th at 11am ET at the Lacrosse Unlimited in Huntington.
Teat is coming off of a brilliant performance this past Saturday night with seven goals and five assists as the Riptide picked up their first win of the season with a 16-10 victory over the FireWolves at MVP Arena.
“I think we were playing really unselfish,” said Teat after the game on the telecast. “All those guys want to do in there is come out with a win. It doesn’t matter who scores or anything like that. They do a lot without getting any recognition and I love those guys.”
While Teat and the Riptide continue to grow the game of lacrosse on Long Island, the team went through a turbulent 0-4 start to the season and that resulted in some changes including General Manager Jim Veltman being relieved of his duties and Team President Rich Lisk assuming the GM responsibilities.
There have also been some changes to the roster including a pair of trades with Panther City. Forward Jake Fox was traded in exchange for defenseman Chad Cummings while forward Callum Crawford was shipped to Panther City for three players including Long Island native Petey Lasalla as well as three draft picks. The Riptide has also signed free agent forward Brett Hickey. And late last week, the Riptide sent defenseman Leo Storous to Albany in exchange in exchange for defenseman Curtis Conley and a third-round pick in the 2025 Entry Draft.
For the Riptide, it was a chance to hit the reset button.
“Unfortunately, the first four games haven’t quite gone our way and I don’t think we’ve been playing anywhere near our best nor a full sixty minutes,” said Teat. “I think slowly putting that together maybe taking a step back and relying on some of the fundamentals is really important to reset and maybe start from scratch.”
And now after that win in Albany, Teat and the Riptide, are, as Ace Frehley would say, “Back in the New York Groove”.
“Every game is tough in this league,” said Teat after Saturday’s win. “Just building slowly off of that confidence one game at a time step by step, I think it will go a long way in the long run.”
As the Riptide try to find that winning formula, the franchise, along with Jeff Teat and Warrior Lacrosse continue to grow the game through grassroots initiatives like “Teat’s Warriors”. As the sport continues to grow in mainstream popularity, many lacrosse fans turn to social media to their information and content. Whether it’s Teat’s meet and greets with his guests, the clinics or just game highlights and interviews, the content portion of the partnership is vital to growing all aspects of the sport.
“I think lacrosse in general needs social media to its advantage,” said Teat. “I think taking this a step further with the Warriors getting the word out there and reaching some families even if it’s just one through a social media outlet to a family that maybe wouldn’t see it through a regular day that is something that can definitely be reached.”
With all due respect to the late great pro wrestling star Jim Hellwig, Jeff Teat is proving to be an “Ultimate Warrior” with his “little warriors” growing in numbers and along for the ride!