David Brock is a 6-foot-4 veteran defender who was signed to a two-year contract last August by the New England Black Wolves.
Brock spent the past five seasons with the Buffalo Bandits, helping that team reach the Champions Cup final two seasons ago. He is expected to significantly improve New England’s defense and transition in 2017-18. A respected and accomplished veteran who has appeared in 105 games over seven National Lacrosse League seasons, the 31-year-old Brock was a key free agent acquisition for New England.
Brock is a native of Burlington, Canada who played his college lacrosse at Albany.
Recently, he took a few minutes to talk about his excitement at joining the Black Wolves.
How has training camp gone with this mix of veterans and younger kids who were brought in to improve some areas from last season?
“My take, being a new guy, I certainly like what I see. There’s a lot of good, talented, young, athletic players who we picked up in the draft, a lot of which don’t have a lot of box experience, but have played at the highest level with Division 1 Lacrosse. There are some very good athletes and very good players and coach (Glenn) Clark is going to have a lot of tough choices to make.”
What does it take to be successful in a nine-team league where everybody’s so close and the margins between the teams are so small?
“I think it takes having a tight-knit team. The teams that I’ve been on that have been successful, it’s been like a brotherhood. It’s been like a family, and everyone’s gotten along and it’s just been a really good locker room. I feel that when the locker room is good, you’ll want to play for each other. You’ll want to win for each other and you’re willing to go the extra mile for each other. I also believe that in a part-time league like this, it’s really important to do a little work on your own. Most teams have one practice a week, but that’s not enough. If you don’t have your stick in your hands on your own time, and if you’re not hitting the gym on your own time, then you’re going to be a step behind. I think if you have a team that can commit to doing the work on their own, it’s going to pay dividends in the long run.”
What was your impression of the Black Wolves as an opponent over the last couple of years?
“I never liked going to play at New England because they have played so well at home, and I knew we were in for a real tough game at Mohegan Sun Arena. I don’t know what it is, whether it was the crowd or the energy of the building or the environment. Going to Mohegan Sun, I knew we were in for some trouble. As for the team, I knew they were a big, strong, athletic defense. I play defense, so we don’t see a lot of each other – lacrosse defenders don’t see a lot of defenders – and I didn’t mind that when we were playing New England because I didn’t want to run down there and take whacks from Brett Manney, Bill O’Brien and guys like that. Offensively, they obviously have the best player in the world, Shawn Evans – or I should say that we have the best player in the world, Shawn Evans. They have an athletic left side with guys like Kevin Buchanan, and then on the other side with Kevin Crowley and Kyle Buchanan. It’s just a good offense with a nice mix of size and speed with guys willing to get to the dirty areas and pay the price.”
What is it like playing for coach Glenn Clark?
“It’s funny because I used to go watch coach (Glenn) Clark play for the Toronto Rock when I was a kid. To be honest, coach wasn’t one of the standout, flashy guys, but he was my favorite player – him and (former Black Wolves assistant coach) Jim Veltman, ironically, who’s not with us this year. They were two of my favorite players. I just loved what they did on the floor. They are a couple guys who I think I actually have a similar game to, which is probably why I looked up to them. I knew coach was a very intense guy and he didn’t mind mixing it up and he could contribute offensively. He was one of my favorite players and now as a coach, it’s exciting to play for him because he’s a guy I’ve always looked up to watching him play, and to get the opportunity to play for him and learn some things from him, he might be able to give me some insight into that role and ways that I can be more useful. I’m definitely excited to play for him. I don’t know him too well yet, but I’ve seen some interviews and am really excited to work with him in the future here.”
It seems like a key to staying fresh as an athlete is always being willing to pick up something new as you move along through your career.
“Absolutely. I think that every time you step on the floor you should learn something new, and I attribute having such a long career to being open-minded and learning new things as I go along. As the body ages and I slow down a bit, you kind of have to rely on the mental side of the game.”
What is one thing off the field that fans might find interesting about you?
“One thing off the field, but still lacrosse-related, is that I consider myself to be a great team guy. I try my best to get along with everybody on the team. I’m not a clique-y guy who’s going to stick to two or three friends on the team. I’m going to find time for everybody and try to be a positive leader on and off the floor.”
You’re involved with the Players’ Union, right?
“I am. I was Buffalo’s player rep for about four years, and obviously coming over in free agency, Kyle Buchanan is New England’s rep. I had a good relationship with the PLPA so they asked me to stay on and act as Kyle’s assistant and still be a member of the union and still be a player rep. That’s something I really enjoy. I’d like to get as involved in the game as possible and maybe one day when the playing days are done, join a front office somewhere and just try and stay involved in lacrosse, particularly the NLL.”
What makes Mohegan Sun such a difficult place to play?
“You know what, I think it’s that DJ. He’s always so on point and they get that howler’s song going. They get the momentum on their side and you fall behind a couple goals. It’s just a great environment and it’s really fan friendly. I found that if we gave the Black Wolves an inch, they would take a mile and then would get the crowd support behind them. It would cause a snowball effect and you can’t always climb out of that hole and I think you can credit that to the atmosphere. It’s a new venue. It’s not the biggest venue, but as an opposing player, I didn’t like coming there because I knew it’s a tough place to play.”
Did you receive any flak from any of your Bandit teammates after joining the opposition?
“Yeah, I did. I’m still really close with a few of those guys and I was there for a while. A few of them gave me a hard time because we’ve had a pretty good rivalry with New England the last couple of years. They chirp you by saying, ‘Oh, New England got worse with you,’ just because they’re are sad to see me go and sad to see me end up on a division rival like that. So yeah, I took some heat from those guys for sure.”