Dan Lomas had to watch from the practice roster as his team won an Eastern Division championship and battled in the NLL Finals last season.
The Burlington, Ontario native is a depth scorer, great loose ball tracker, and another underdog type that the revamped Vancouver Warriors have been targeting through much of NLL free agency to help bring some heart to the club.
Lomas, 25, inked a two-year contract in August. He can be another key cog in an offence that promises to be swift, energized and has all five players pose a threat at any given time. They’ll also share the bulk of the mucky off-ball pick and roll duties.
After getting into 14 games as a rookie in 2017, Lomas hung around the Rochester Knighthawks practice roster last season because he’s a classy team first guy that noticed something special was brewing even if it meant he wouldn’t be a direct part of it on game night.
“It was tough and mentally draining at times,” he says. “At the end of the day I knew that with the line-up we kept putting on the floor, we kept winning games, and it was something special to be a part of. It was something bigger than me. I wasn’t going to make it about me and look for another place to be. That is where my best friends and my brothers were. It’s tough to make it about yourself when your team is winning and moving towards a playoff spot and ultimately making it to the finals. It was an unbelievable journey and I just wanted to make sure I was doing what I needed to do in practice to make sure those guys were ready.”
“It’s just making sure I have a bunch of different facets to my game. Whatever role they want me to step into whether I’m a ball carrier guy or an off-ball guy or making room for other guys – it’s getting a little bit more multi-dimensional.”
With new signings Brody Eastwood and Jon Phillips trying to make the club, and nothing guaranteed for returning vets, the depth chart at lefty offence is wide open after Logan Schuss and that bodes well for Lomas. A second round draft pick after scoring 46 goals in his final Junior ‘A’ season with Burlington, the 5-foot-11, 190-pounder scored 15 goals in 14 games in his only full season in the NLL with Rochester, with 51 loose balls and an impressive 95 shots on goal.
“Talking to Dan Richardson [GM] I could sense his passion in wanting to turn things around here [in Vancouver],” says Lomas. “Rebrand everything completely and start from scratch. Bring guys in that have the passion to change things into a winning culture which really excited me. It’s going to awesome. It’s going to be a fresh start and it’s going to bring some new life into the room. I think I bring a bit of personality into the room too, so I think we’ll all click pretty well.”
Lomas was pushed to the Knighthawks practice roster after former league MVP Cody Jamieson returned to form after knee surgery and fellow young lefties Kyle Jackson and Eric Fannell started to flourish together.
“Talking to Warriors coach Chris Gill, he wants to run a high octane offence -a high movement offence with some young legs. We had something similar in Rochester last season and worked out pretty good for us there.”
Lomas roomed with Jamieson briefly on the road and soaked up all he could from one of the game’s greats.
“It’s unbelievable how much knowledge he has. It comes down to the smallest things; at what angle you release the ball at, where you’re shooting and what you’re doing. Honestly it’s hard to explain how much knowledge he has and how much passion he has to pass it on.”
“Something I’ve always wanted to do is live out west for a little while. I’ve got some family out here too so it’s nice,” says Lomas now living in downtown Vancouver with new Warriors teammate Owen Barker. “I’m trying to see as many mountains as I can. We’ve done Grouse a few times and that was unreal. Just trying to get out and walk around and see the area.”