CALGARY, AB — Geoff Snider has dominated the faceoff circle in the NLL for the better part of the last decade.
The Calgary Roughnecks transition player has led the league in faceoff wins every season he’s played in but two — in 2007, his rookie campaign, and 2012 when Snider was edged by younger brother Bob.
On Friday, Snider won 17 draws to add to his career total and passed Jamie Hanford to become the NLL’s all-time leader in faceoff wins with 2,108. The Calgary, AB native will celebrate his 34th birthday next week and the faceoff record is a mark he would prefer to attribute to age, rather than skill.
“I just think it shows how long I’ve been in the league,” he said Wednesday during an NLL coaches conference call. “I don’t know if it’s necessarily correlated to winning a lot of faceoffs. I’m old and I’ve been around a long time and when you get old you play in games and there’s statistics [like that] that just show up.
“It’s part of my role and I’ve just been competing and trying to help my team win.”
Helping his team win is exactly what Snider has done with the Roughnecks.
The utility forward consistently wins over 70 percent of his faceoffs, which means the Roughnecks offence receives more possessions than their opposition each game.
It’s an advantage Riggers coach Curt Malawsky doesn’t take for granted.
“Possession is everything in this game,” he said. “It’s nice to be able to get that ball 65 percent of the time and as an offence, if we’re going to be able to get [the ball] three-to-one, we’re going to be successful on most nights.”
To start his Lacrosse career, Snider helped the Burnaby Lakers of the BC Junior ‘A’ Lacrosse League collect three Minto Cup titles. Following that, he was recruited by the University of Denver to play with the Pioneers field lacrosse team in the NCAA.
It was there he started to solidify his dominance in the faceoff circle and hasn’t looked back.
“I had never faced off until I got to college and in Denver,” Snider said. “I had the opportunity to do a job that a lot of guys didn’t want to do. I went there and had a couple of successful years [at Denver] and it flowed into the WLA and ultimately the NLL.
“It’s a job that I take a lot of pride in and I enjoy doing it. It’s a job that not a lot of guys want to do and it’s a pretty competitive position.”
Snider has seen success at every level he’s played.
At Denver, he was named a third-team All-American and still holds the record for a single season groundballs in NCAA lacrosse. In 2006, Snider was the tournament MVP at the 2006 World Lacrosse Championship, where he dominated faceoffs helping the Canadian National Men’s Lacrosse team win their first World Championship win since 1978.
The Roughnecks acquired the hometown faceoff ace on Aug. 10, 2010 from the Philadelphia Wings in exchange for the Rigger’s pick in the Orlando Titans dispersal draft (8th overall).
“I think a guy like Geoff Snider’s value is second-to-none,” Malawsky said. “(Former Roughnecks general manager) Brad Bannister went out and got him for a reason, and right now we’re real happy that he’s part of our organization.
“He’s a top notch player and a top notch individual so I’m really happy for him and so is the organization.”
Snider has had to make adjustments from year-to-year to retain the heavyweight faceoff title.
Factors such as equipment enhancements and oppositional player proclivity all play a part in his preparation for each game.
“I’ll change my equipment or my cadence, whatever it may be to come into any game and it’s certainly a challenge and something different every night,” Snider said. “Different guys have different tendencies and different gear.
“You just sort of adjust where you can and compete as hard as you can.”
Those adjustments will ensure he retains the faceoff crown. Only Buffalo’s Jay Thorimbert and brother Bob, who both trail Geoff by over 500 wins, are on the horizon.
Meaning Snider’s faceoff record isn’t in jeopardy now nor should it be anytime soon.