September 29, 2008

Sept. 29, 2008

An excerpt of this article appears in the "NLL Rundown" in October's Lacrosse Magazine, a US Lacrosse publication available exclusively to members. Join today to start your monthly subscription.

by Tom Borrelli, Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online

Pro sports fans in Boston know exactly what an infusion of talent can mean to a franchise.

Tom Brady did it for football's Patriots, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen for basketball's Celtics, and David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez for baseball's Red Sox.

Daryl Veltman, who comes from a winning pedigree himself, is hoping to be one of the guys who quickly leads the expansion Boston Blazers to the top of the mountain in the National Lacrosse League.

"I love it here. It's definitely a sports city and I can't wait to get out here and start playing," said Veltman, who was the first overall selection in the NLL draft, held at Boston TD Banknorth Garden. "It's a city with a lot of sports history, so hopefully lacrosse can find a good home here as well."

Veltman, a 6-foot, 180-pounder who was a star attackman at Hobart College, is the nephew of recently retired Jim Veltman, who won eight Champion's Cups, three with the Buffalo Bandits and five with the Toronto Rock - and John Veltman, who played the 2003 NLL season with the Ottawa Rebel.

"I have really good memories of watching [Jim] as a kid," said Daryl. "My dad had season tickets with the Rock and I got to see him play a lot. He's played a big part in both my lacrosse career and in my brother's."

Daryl will join his older brother Peter, a five-year NLL veteran who played for the San Jose Stealth last season, and seven-year veteran Dan Dawson in the Boston lineup. Dawson, like Peter Veltman acquired by Boston in the dispersal draft of former Arizona Sting players, has helped his team reach the Champion's Cup final three times in the past four seasons and averaged 88.5 points during that stretch. So certainly the Boston offense should be a step ahead of the game.

"[Dawson] makes those playing with him even better and I'm excited to have the chance to play with him," said Daryl Veltman, who will be 23 when the Blazers open Jan. 10 at New York. "It's a good opportunity to step right in and hopefully get the playing time I want. In a way, it's a real good place to be because people won't be expecting all that much out of us. But I think we'll be able to compete with the teams in this league and we have a chance to prove them all wrong."

Veltman was a prolific scorer playing box lacrosse while growing up in Southern Ontario, tallying 377 points in 106 career junior games. He moved to Coquitlam, British Columbia, about three years ago and was named an honorable mention All-American and a first-team All-ECAC with Hobart last spring after scoring 26 goals with 11 assists and 23 ground balls. He ranked 15th among Division I players with 2.36 goals per game and 21st with 3.36 points per contest.

In his career as a Statesman, he recorded 109 goals, 53 assists and 162 points while leading the team in goals in all of his four years on the Geneva, N.Y., campus. He tallied 28 goals, 22 assists and 50 points in 2005, when he was tabbed the ECAC Rookie of the Year and became the first Hobart freshman to lead the team in scoring in 34 years.

The night before the draft, he had two goals, five assists and scooped eight loose balls in the prospect game.

"It felt pretty comfortable," said Veltman. "There are a lot of great players here. Using the practice all day, I was able to get used to a lot of the players. So I just went out and had a good time."

He and the sports fans of New England hope many more follow as an NLL player.
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