Rory Doucette had reached the point in his career where he was the guy in charge of 20 to 30 other people. He’d already helped Adrenaline become one of the country’s leaders in lacrosse events, and the former Tufts player ascended into a VP spot at the West Coast company.
You might think that now that he and former Adrenaline co-worker/co-founder and Maryland alum Scott Hochstadt combined forces at Legends Lacrosse, Doucette would consider the little things that go into making a successful event to be tedious and monotonous.
You’d be incorrect.
“We prefer wearing many hats,” Doucette said. “Running goals from one field to another. My phone number is customer service. This was years ago for Adrenaline, and then we grew as managing 20 to 30 people. It’s one of the toughest parts and it’s also the part we like: now being the guy who’s going to get Chipotle, the guy who’s moving the cage and stringing the cage, fixing a jersey number, instead of just sitting in a chair and telling other people to do it. It’s why you love being at an event: you prefer to be hands-on and with events, you want to have an impact on kids, and it’s much more tangible when you’re hands-on than when you’re sitting at a desk and hearing about it from across the country.”
That’s a blessing and somewhat of a curse, and there’s also explaining to people what Legends is all about. It’s an events company that’s based on the West Coast, but also hosts events like Friday’s New Jersey Freak Show. Legends also fields a national team for a weekend, where players from up and down the West Coast come East to experience a different style of lacrosse. For example, the team scrimmaged Long Island power Team 91 before the weekend.
It’s an experience for the players, one that they’ll replicate later in the summer in Baltimore, but Legends doesn’t offer local club teams where it’s competing for players with other clubs. Rather, it tries to attract some of the best to compete together on a weekend where most other clubs aren’t playing.
“We have directors everywhere from British Columbia, Seattle, Portland, down to Texas, through Nevada, Colorado, Utah, Calgary, and we just to go everyone and say, ‘hey guys, we don’t want to take them from your team. We just want to give them one extra weekend, so here’s the weekend in advance. We’re going to take the top kids and go do something like this,’” Doucette said. “If we can reward the kids by giving them the exposure, the club directors want to support us more because, ‘we sent a kid to you and you took care of him,’ and we’re not trying to steal them. That’s not our business. Our business is events.”
Based off the NJ Freak Show, business is about to be booming.
A look at the day’s standouts:
Kevin Groeninger ’19, M, St. Margaret’s Episcopal (Calif.) / SoCal Express
A strong north-south dodger who’s already committed to Bryant, Groeninger showed that he’s comfortable shooting with either hand. Once he gets going downhill, he’s awfully tough to stop, especially with his impressive all-around skill set.
Henry Hasenberg ’18, A, Loyola (Calif.) / Cobras, LA Heat
Hasenberg definitely doesn’t need a GPS to find the net, because he basically lives around it. He flashed a consistent ability to finish, particularly in tight, and he pairs craftiness with good change-of-direction ability to get to the net. He had a couple of moments where he put his man in the spin cycle on his way to the net, which led to some oohs and aahs.
Harri Hetrick ’19, A, Redwood (Calif.) / Alcatraz Outlaws, Legends West
Hetrick is a raw, athletic attackman who could project to a college midfielder. He looks more comfortable and more dangerous when dodging from above the cage, where he can best use his athleticism.
Ben Luke ’19, A, O’Dea (Wash.) / Seattle Starz
The first impression Luke left on me was a bar down rip that left the crossbar singing for a while, which is always a good start. Watch him more, though, and you’ll find a guy who moves well to go along with a good lacrosse IQ and a smooth handle. The lefty has good shooting range and can burn you from a number of spots on the field.
Shane McAusland ’20, D, Loyola (Calif.) / RC Starz
McAusland is a good-sized defenseman and immediately caught the eye of a couple college coaches watching. He’s excellent on the ball, rarely taking any false steps and consistently pestering his matchup. His terrific positioning enables him to stay in attackmen’s hip pockets.
Paul Rodriguez ’18, A, Harvard Westlake (Calif.) / LA Heat
You could make a strong case for Rodriguez as the best player at the event. His shooting was on point and the Duke commit uncorked a couple of absolute bombs, plus he’s capable of beating his guy from just about everywhere. He’s equally adept at scoring from up top dodges as he is from X dodges, and if he gets switched on to a shorty, it’s over.
Logan Soelberg ’19, M, Crespi Carmelite (Calif.) / LA Heat, Legends
If Rodriguez wasn’t the best player there, it’s because Soelberg was. He showed why national champion Maryland took such a liking to him with his smooth offensive game and excellent dodging. You can’t cheat to one side too much, because Soelberg can beat you with either hand with an excellent shot on the run.
Marquez White ’20, M, Poway (Calif.) / 3d San Diego
It doesn’t ever take long for White to stand out. Some kids are just on another level athletically, and White fits the bill. He moves around effortlessly, almost gliding past defenders. He drew early slide calls, but it didn’t seem to matter. When he wasn’t finding open teammates, the Syracuse verbal flashed a great in-tight handle.
Kyle Rolley ’21, G, Plano West (Tex.) / Texas Mustangs
Lake Baker ’21, FO/M, Henderson (Nev.) / Vegas Starz
We’re trying not to talk too much about ‘21s right now, but it’s impossible not to acknowledge Rolley’s and Baker’s play. Kyle Hartzell has to feel pretty good about his goalie situation for the next four years with Rolley. Rolley made a ton of saves, particularly in the final game, thanks in large part to his athleticism and lateral movement, and he’s not afraid to get involved in the clearing game and run upfield.
I saw Baker dominate at Adrenaline’s Black Card earlier this summer, and if it’s possible, he was even better at Legends. I’m not sure if he lost a face-off at any point all day. He wins them forward, backward, to himself, to his wings, etc. You get the idea. He also did a nice job of finding the point man after inevitably giving himself a fast break.
Benjamin Bisquera ’19, M, Seton Catholic (Wash.) / Seattle Starz – Salisbury
Miles Botkiss ’20, A, Torrey Pines (Calif.) / West Coast Starz
Speed Fry ’20, M, Palos Verdes (Calif.) / LA Heat
Calder Gallagher ’20, A, Cedar Park (Ore.) / Rhino
Trae Ika ’20, A, Corner Canyon (Ut.) / Utah LC
Harrison Listen ’19, M, Harvard-Westlake (Calif.) / LA Heat
Tyler Marsh ’18, M, Palo Verde (Nev.)
Kyle McCann ’19, G, Palos Verdes (Calif.) / LA Heat