If there’s one player that proves that persistence, hard work and dedication pay off, it’s the Warriors “Comeback Kid”: Jordan McBride.
Originally drafted in 2nd round (13th overall) by the Colorado Mammoth in 2011, McBride entered the league with current NLL-talents such as Kevin Crowley, Adam Jones, Brett Hickey and his teammate on the 2019 Warriors, Justin Salt, to name a few.
In the professional ranks, he showed he could be a sharp-shooter from the get-go. In the first two minutes of his first game, McBride slashed towards the crease while creating space from the defender, collected the pass from Jamie Lincoln, deked a couple times to fool Washington Stealth Goaltender Nick Patterson and slotted the ball in the back of the net for his first goal of the season.
He was so accurate with his shot in his first three NLL games that he scored four goals on his first eight shots. By the end of the 2012 campaign, he had scored 10 goals and fed his teammates for 10 assists. His .244 shooting percentage was 8th-best in the league for players who took at least 40 shots.
He would follow up his rookie season with a 24-goal and 25-assist year in 2013. His accuracy continued to shine that season; his .224 shooting percentage was 6th-best among players who took at least 100 shots. But this wasn’t a surprise to anyone who had followed B.C. lacrosse for many years prior to McBride’s inaugural season in the NLL.
Warriors skippers Chris Gill and Rory McDade as well as Warriors GM Dan Richardson were familiar with McBride before his entrance into the NLL. Gill is a former assistant coach of the Western Lacrosse Association’s New Westminster Salmonbellies, McDade is the current head coach of the summer league club and played against McBride in the WLA and Richardson is the longtime GM of the Salmonbellies.
“He’s always been good with his hands,” said Gill. “The biggest thing that’s helped him improve over the years is his off-floor conditioning. He’s really fit and that’s going to help his game in the long run.”
McDade added more praise on McBride for his consistent success as a scorer in the WLA over the years.
“He’s done what he’s done in his career and he’s a natural goal scorer,” said McDade. “He gets a lot of opportunities and his shooting percentage is pretty high at the end of the year. If he gets a chance, say on the power play or an outside shot – more times than not – it’s going in.”
Yet, the New Westminster forward with pinpoint accuracy wasn’t able to hold his spot on the Mammoth roster in 2014. Gill, who was brought on to be an assistant coach for the Mammoth during McBride’s early career, explained the staff’s tough decision to release him from the roster.
“It’s not easy cracking lineups in this league,” said Gill. “There’s a lot of not only Canadian players but American players that you’ve got to beat out. For him at that time, he was close, but he just didn’t crack the top-four righties. Not because of anything in particular, there were just four other guys that were ready and played together a bit more.”
Unable to find a spot on another roster, McBride maintained his work ethic and skills with the Salmonbellies year after year. Since his release, he has scored at least 20 goals in each season he’s played the majority of the summer league’s games and cracked 40+ assists twice.
McBride has been happy to have the honour to play in the WLA over the years and has a lot of respect for the league and what it’s allowed him to achieve. He also credits McDade for some of his recent achievements.
“The WLA is a very competitive league that allows you to stay sharp and compete against current NLL players,” said McBride. “Rory is a very smart coach. He knows how to use his players to get the best out of them.”
Since his first WLA season in 2008, McBride has over 200 goals and over 300 assists. In five of those seasons, he had at least 20 goals while twice he had at least 30 goals goals including a career-best 34 last season, not to mention his career-best 52 assists in 2018.
Following his WLA season of personal-bests, it was no surprise that the staff of current and former Salmonbellies took a hard look at signing McBride for 2019.
“I had conversations with [McBride],” McDade said of getting McBride to try out for the Warriors. “I think he’s an excellent player, so I thought it would be a good fit for him to show us what he could do.”
Eventually earning a spot back on an NLL roster, particularly for the team in his hometown, was an incredible feeling for the local product.
“It’s awesome,” said McBride. “The whole ownership [group] from GM to coaches and management have been incredible. I am extremely excited for this opportunity to play in Vancouver.”
He took that excitement (and his improved talents) and brought them to the KeyBank Center floor last weekend. Much like his first career NLL game, he managed to score, but this time doubled his tally for two goals on six shots.
— Vancouver Warriors (@nllwarriors) December 29, 2018
“It always feels good to get the monkey off your back,” said McBride. “But, I would take a win over points any day.
McBride has felt the love and support from his family over the years and he was able to share the excitement with them when they watched him make his way back on the floor and put the ball in the back of the net.
“My family was extremely happy for me to get back into the lineup and score,” said McBride. My wife and kids have been very supportive in my busy schedule.”
As he continues to suit up for the Warriors with his family behind him, McBride will hope to not only score more goals, but hopefully win many more games with the club.
“I want to continue building my role on the team,” said McBride. I’m trying to stay consistent. All in all, it’s about winning games. I want to be a part of that in Vancouver.”
Who’s to doubt he can help the team this time around? He’s already proven he can continue to beat goaltenders with incredible efficiency. Now in his second stint in the NLL, he’ll show the world what he’s capable of.