There’s a tradition at summer lacrosse games where kids swarm arena floors during intermissions to play for just a few minutes on the same concrete as their older siblings, their parents or their friends. Growing up in Ladner, Logan Schuss was that kid. His dad Ed Schuss was small town famous as a Ladner Senior B Pioneer lacrosse stalwart, and it would have been impossible to not grow up loving the sport.
“The first time I could tell he was a legend was just being at Ladner Arena,” Logan says about his old man. “It was pretty rowdy – and having all the fans chanting ‘Eagle! Eagle!’ for my dad’s nickname Eddie the Eagle.”
One could assume in the 90’s and early 2000’s that Logan and his brother Carlton may have slept in bunk beds in a Ladner Arena locker room with the amount of time they spent there every summer.
“During lacrosse season there wasn’t a day that we weren’t at the arena either for a game or a practice or just watching some team play,” says Schuss. It takes a town to raise a boy. My brother and I were let loose in the arena. As long as we stayed within the arena or the lacrosse box, nothing was off-limits. We didn’t have a babysitter there. Whichever older lacrosse guy was there was looking over us.”
Being a rink-rat paid dividends for Schuss. A field lacrosse scholarship to The Ohio State University followed a stellar junior career with the Delta Islanders. He was the first overall pick in the 2013 NLL entry draft to the Swarm and was crowned the league’s Rookie of the Year after scoring a career-high 36 goals. Dealt to Vancouver during his sophomore season, he’s been one of the team’s top scoring threats ever since. Now entering prime time as a 6th year, 27 year old vet, the Warriors will be leaning heavily on the lefty this upcoming season.
“I’ve been absolutely crushing cardio and getting in shape,” said the 6-foot, 210-lb sniper. “Strength has always been my staple, but I want to get faster and I want to be more of a vocal leader this year. I want more goals too. I want lots more goals this year. I’m tired of being a passer, I’m going to be a scorer.”
Schuss scored 26 goals in 2018, the lowest total in his third full season with Vancouver. It started great with 21 goals in his first 7 games, but after missing a few games mid-season, struggled to find his rhythm and scored just 5 times in his final 9, including a 3 game goalless draught which just doesn’t happen for NLL superstars. Finding offensive consistency is crucial this upcoming season.
“That’s part of the whole mental game. My mom always says ‘Don’t grip the stick too hard. Don’t try too hard. Don’t overdo it. Let it come to you.’ She’s never played lacrosse before but she might have seen the most games ever. Momma knows best! The key is developing new opportunities to score. Everyone knows I have a hard outside shot but I want to get to the middle and get inside and start finishing those inside shots.”
Head coach Chris Gill has been hinting at running a motion offence in 2019 – where every offensive player shares an equal role, keeping defenses guessing who will be setting and up finishing.
“We have such great scoring ability and passing ability,” say Schuss. Some teams have one or two dominant players who score 50 goals. We’re looking to have 5 guys with 30 goals. I think we’ve added a lot of young quality fast players who are going to push everyone. Any change is good and hopefully we start clicking.”
As much as Logan was a Ladner lacrosse pillar as a kid, he still spends every day around town with his stick. The Warriors have two other flatlanders fighting for a roster spot this upcoming season in third-year player Evan Messenger and rookie hopeful Jon Phillips who was taken with the team’s final draft pick in September. The trio have been training together to get set for the season and Schuss truly believes fellow offensive lefty Phillips can make the team.
“Absolutely. I’ve been a big fan of Jon’s. I think we got him as a steal in this draft. He had a great college career and an unbelievable season with the Nanaimo Timberman. It’s going to be a dog fight. No one’s spot is guaranteed. It’s a different club and that’s why we’re working out so hard.”
Playing out of Rogers Arena this season is a full circle moment for a kid who had season tickets during the NLL’s first venture in downtown Vancouver.
“Just thinking about it gives me chills. I remember going into that building. It was the big time. And now to be able to play a game at Rogers Arena, on the biggest stage in Vancouver is something special. It’s why I’ve been putting in so much extra work this off season. All the guys feel the same way and we’re going to bring our A Game to make the Warriors a winning franchise.”