Coates surprised by trade
Dan Coates (37) was Colorado’s team captain the last four seasons. Photo by: JACK DEMPSEY.
Dan Coates never saw it coming.
The 33-year-old St. Catharines native has spent the last nine seasons with the Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League, including the last four as team captain.
So when Coates received a call from the Mammoth that he had been dealt to the Georgia Swarm, he almost couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
“I was a little caught off guard,” Coates admitted. “It was a little shocking; I didn’t ask for a trade.
“I spent nine years in Colorado and those were some of the best times of my life and playing career.”
Coates received the call on Friday, July 4, but the news wasn’t released until the following Monday.
“It didn’t hit me until the Monday when it was publicly announced, that’s when it really hit home.”
Once Coates wrapped his head around the news and received a call from the Swarm welcoming him to the team, he began to look at the deal in a different way.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m super excited to be joining the group in Georgia,” said Coates, a former member of the St. Catharines junior A Athletics. “They won in 2017. It will be good to work with them.”
The Swarm acquired Coates and the No. 6 overall selection in the 2020 NLL Entry Draft in exchange for forward Zed Williams and the No. 24 and 26 overall selections in the 2020 NLL Entry Draft.
“We are elated to get a veteran player of the stature of Dan Coates,” Swarm owner and general manager John Arlotta said. “He is an immensely talented defensive player who plays maximum minutes, including man down and face-offs. As good as he is, what our fans will quickly come to recognize is his incredible competitiveness and desire to win. His leadership and character are a perfect fit for the Swarm.”
Coates is looking forward to lending his experience to the Swarm.
“I know they have a younger group back there and I think they’re looking at me to teach the way I go about my business and the way I approach the game on and off the floor and teach the younger guys in Georgia,” he said. “They’re a talented group. I’ve always admired the way they played the game and they’re always one of the top teams.
“John has done a great job orchestrating the roster and I know we have a couple of more draft picks for the upcoming draft in the first round so I’m excited to see who we add.”
Coates, who coaches lacrosse at his alma mata, Canisius College, feels he has plenty left in the tank.
“You go through it and you feel like you’re in the game for a long time and I still feel as competitive as ever. I feel great, I still feel young out there,” he said. “People look at my age — I’m sure Colorado looked at that too — to try and get an asset for me that’s a little younger but I still have the competitive fire. That’s why I get up every day and train the way I do and watch film the way I do.
“Right now I don’t see a finish line. I still have a few more good years in me. Until my body or mind says it’s time to stop, I’m still right there in the fight.”
The NLL will hold their 2020 draft in September but the start of the season is still up in the air due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think we’re kind of waiting to hear what’s going to happen,” Coates said. “With other leagues opening up now, they’re seeing how the best way to go about it is and learn from their mistakes. I think our league has done a good job of keeping us up to date.”
Coates, who recently returned from winning a silver medal at the Professional Outdoor Lacrosse Championships in Utah, has lived in Buffalo for about a year now.
He keeps in contact with his friends and family as best he can— his father, Paul Coates, is the A’s president — while the border between Canada and the U.S. remains closed.
With the pandemic much worse in the States, he is taking all the necessary precautions.
“You just have to be smart. I’m taking care of hygiene, washing my hands, wearing a mask and I don’t put myself at risk. It’s just the world we’re living in right now. You have to be smart with how you live and who you surround yourself with.”
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