VIDEO: Tribute to John Arlotta
(Duluth, GA) – The National Lacrosse League today announced that Georgia Swarm Owner and General Manager John Arlotta has been named the 2017 NLL General Manager of the Year. The award marks the second time that Arlotta has been voted NLL GM of the Year.
In 2017, Arlotta floored a team that featured 16 first-round draft picks, who went on to set a new NLL record for most goals in a single season with 266, breaking the previous record of 258 set by the Rochester Knighthawks in 2007. The young and unselfish team of high character individuals captured the Swarm’s first Champion’s Cup in franchise history, the first NLL MVP (and Champion’s Cup MVP) in Swarm history in Lyle Thompson, and six individual end-of-the-year awards. The Swarm finished the 2017 season with a 17-5 overall record.
“We have a saying in the organization that organizations win, not individuals,” Arlotta said. “This is really an organization award that represents a lot of hard work by the coaches and players who went out there and won, the trainers and strength coaches, the scouts, and the business side of the organization that’s out there doing things to support the team when they’re on the floor and off the floor. It’s really an organization award, and everybody should take a lot of pride in it and feel like they’re being recognized as well.”
Arlotta’s work to improve the Swarm defense—which gave up the second most goals in 2016 with 240—saw him concentrate on selecting big, athletic defensemen in the 2016 NLL Draft, taking Bryan Cole No. 4 overall and Connor Sellars No. 10 overall. Both saw significant playing time during the season. Leo Stouros, selected No. 17 overall, also made an impact during the games he played, particularly in the postseason after sophomore defenseman Chad Tutton’s season ended with a lower-body injury.
On the first day of free agency last August, Artlotta signed veteran goaltender Mike Poulin to a three-year contract. Poulin excelled for the Swarm in 2017, leading the league with 12 victories and finished as the runner-up for NLL Goaltender of the Year. One of Arlotta’s most praised moves came in December shortly after training camp when he picked up veteran defenseman John Ranagan, who had been released by the New England Black Wolves. Ranagan’s contagious energy on defense along with his ability to score in transition gelled perfectly on an already young and fast Georgia squad.
With an offense that scored 238 goals in 2016 and featured the NLL 2016 Rookie of the Year in Randy Staats, Arlotta did not have to do much work to improve it. But with All-Rookie honoree Jesse King out for the season, Arlotta traded for Jordan Hall from the New England Black Wolves. Described by Poulin as “the acquisition of the year,” Hall scored 80 points with the Swarm—60 of his points were assists—and received the 2017 Sportsmanship Award after the season ended.
“The body of John’s work over the last number of years has put him in the position to win this type of award,” head coach Ed Comeau said. “John had a vision, and he stuck with the vision. Our draft this year I thought was exceptional. We had three players in the top two rounds who played huge parts in the success of our team and then also being able to sign some free agents and acquire Jordan Hall in a trade, Mike Poulin and John Ranagan as free agents, all key pieces to a team. That’s what a good General Manager does. He helps the coaching staff and he helps the team by putting them in a position to be successful.”
The other nominees for GM of the Year were Jamie Dawick (Toronto) and Derek Keenan (Saskatchewan).
In addition to Arlotta’s GM of the Year win, the Swarm has won Defensive Player of the Year (Jason Noble), Teammate of the Year (Mike Poulin), the Sportsmanship Award (Jordan Hall), MVP (Lyle Thompson), and Head Coach of the Year (Ed Comeau).