SAINT PAUL, Minn. - The National Lacrosse League (NLL) today announced that John Arlotta of the Minnesota Swarm has won the league’s General Manager of the Year award for the 2012 season.
“I’m honored to be recognized by my peers with this award and I want to thank them not only for this recognition, but also for what I’ve learned from them in my time in the league,” said John Arlotta, who is also the Swarm’s Owner and President. “I’ve been fortunate to learn from a lot of talented owners and general managers, including people like Marty O’Neill and Steve Govett. Steve did an amazing job in his turnaround of the Mammoth this year, and I want to congratulate him and also thank him for his guidance whenever I asked over the last four years.”
Under Arlotta’s leadership, the Swarm took a fresh approach to their team in 2012. Following an 8-8 record and a first round playoff loss in 2011, the Swarm traded away several veteran players and orchestrated a dramatic overhaul of its roster, infusing the team with youth via the Entry Draft, trades and free agent signings. While many predicted Minnesota would struggle with this approach, the Swarm went 9-7 and entered the playoffs on a four-game winning streak.
Arlotta went on to add, “This is really an organizational award. The award was won by the Minnesota Swarm, not by me. Without everybody in the organization doing their job and playing their role, this wouldn't have happened. It starts with Andy [Arlotta] who has taken complete control of the business side so that I could spend my time on the team. Very importantly, I want to thank the coaches and scouts for buying into trying something new and different. Joe Sullivan in particular did an amazing job as both the head coach and the associate general manager. Finally, I want to thank the players who embraced change and believed from the beginning that this team could win. Without their incredible performance this year, none of this would have been possible. This is truly their team and their award.”
The Swarm’s top five picks from the 2011 NLL Entry Draft – T Jordan MacIntosh (fourth overall), G Evan Kirk (sixth overall), F Corbyn Tao (12th overall), F Jay Card (19th overall) and T David Earl (27th overall) – all played key roles this season. Minnesota had a league-high 12 rookies see floor time in 2012, including draftees F Pat Smith (31st overall), F Josh Gillam (2010, 18th overall), and free agents: G Tyler Carlson, D Nik Bilic, F Joel Henry, D Dan Ball, and D Michael Brascia.
The Swarm was the only team in the NLL to feature two rookie goaltenders in Kirk and Carlson this season. Kirk led the league in both GAA (9.81) and SV% (.807), and Carlson finished fourth in GAA (12.04).
In the offseason, Arlotta traded for D Jeff Gilbert who finished second in the NLL in forced turnovers (26) and added more talent on defense with the selections of D Greg Downing and D Mitch Belisle in the dispersal draft. In total, Minnesota featured 16 new faces this season.
Arlotta also made the difficult decision to make an in-season change of head coaches. After a 3-3 start, Arlotta promoted Joe Sullivan to head coach. The moved sparked the young team to a 6-4 finish and the first playoff win in franchise history this past weekend against Colorado. The Swarm has also reached the West Division Finals for the first time ever, and will play for the chance to go to their first championship game in the eight-year history of the franchise when they host the Edmonton Rush on Saturday at 8:30pm Central (live on CBS Sports Network). Minnesota tied a team record six home wins in 2012.
Steve Govett of the Colorado Mammoth was runner-up and Mike Board of the Calgary Roughnecks finished third in the General Manager of the Year voting. The announcements of 2012 NLL Season Awards continues Wednesday with the Les Bartley Award for Coach of the Year. The awards are voted on by the league's board of governors, general managers and head coaches.