Hey all, hope all is well in the Yard! First off, let me say how excited I am to know that the NFL is back again! It would have been a very long fall without Sunday football, let me tell you that.
In my world, things are moving along steadily. We just finished up camp season and it was the best one yet. Camps in Waterloo, Orangeville and Oakville were the best we’ve had in years. The turnouts were top notch, as was the instruction as many of the Rock greats were there to help out the youngsters. One thing that made the camp unique this year was the addition of a “trick shot” competition that will wrap up online (at www.torontorock.com) at the end of August. This was new this year and the finalists certainly earned their spot by dropping some of the neatest stuff we’ve seen in years. Family, friends and fans can vote online to crown this summer’s champ. My personal favorite is the Flying Leprechaun from the Waterloo camp. This one had creativity, flare and great tricks! Best of luck to all the competitors.
As far as playing goes, we (Six Nations Chiefs) just wrapped up our first round in the playoffs against the KW Kodiaks. We beat them 3-1 in a very hard fought series. Many didn’t give them a chance, but they really made us work and we are hoping to carry that momentum into our clash in the second round with Peterborough. They are the favorites to win the Mann Cup again this year, but I like what our team is doing right now and if we want to be the best, we are going to have to beat the best at some point! Let’s go Chiefs!
It was an interesting end to the regular season to say the least. I have been answering a ton of questions as to why on earth I scored on my own net in our regular season finally against Brampton. Well, to answer the pundits….We needed to win that game by four goals to move up to second spot in the standings. That would have given us a bye, some rest and likely a different opponent in the second round. We valued all that stuff pretty high, and when it was apparent we were simply going to win the game by 2, it was suggested we score on ourselves and take the game into a full ten minute overtime to see if we can win by four. In the end, it didn’t work, but we did feel good about our game and have had a good playoff thus far. Like I said before, onward to Peterborough. It was however, one of the strangest games I have ever been apart of. I am sure if I was watching without knowing the full extend of the standings, I would have had some questions myself!
There have also been some pretty significant moves during the Rock’s off-season. Anyone who knows Terry Sanderson, the Rock’s GM, knows he is not one to stand pat! He is always trying ways to better his teams, and even after a championship this year will be no different. In his first big move, he got Dan Carey from the Colorado Mammoth in exchange for a few picks, Creighton Reid and Matt McLeod. It hurts loosing Cleody and Reider, but to get something you have to give something in the wonderful world of sports! In this case, did we ever get something! Dan has the potential to be a big time scorer for us this season. He is coming off some injury plagued seasons, but in my opinion is one of the smoothest shooters in the game. He has great game moxy and has won at many levels. Let me be the first to welcome another great part of the Toronto Rock. He will elevate the game of the other lefties, LeBlanc, Pascas and myself no doubt about it!
In the other move, Terry shipped Kyle Ross to Washington for goaltender Matt Roik. Again, very sad to see Rosco go. He was a big part of our championship and he is going to be missed. A great teammate. In return, we get another piece of what seems to be our goaltending situation. Matt is a great goalie who also has winning pedigree. I believe he has won a Minto, a Mann and an NLL title. Due to the great play of Tyler Richards in Washington, I suppose it was time for him to find a new home. I welcome his play to our team. He is a fierce competitor and a great stopper. He will help fill the void left by Whipper in the upcoming season.
Speaking of Whipper, how nice was it to see him become a first ballot Hall of Famer? I know he never played for accolades, but now that his career is over, I am sure we can spend a night and reminisce about all he has accomplished as the Greatest Goalie the NLL has ever seen. He will be missed this year, but the Hall of Fame will be a great way to send him off. Well earned Whip! What an honor to see him elected the year after watching my other very good friend, Dan Stroup get inducted. Well done boys!
Anyway, it seems as though even on off-season for an NLL’er is filled with lacrosse. I guess that is the way it should be. I am off to Peterborough for our first of our seven game series. I expect one hell of a series. If you are in Ontario and want to see some fine lacrosse action, Six Nations, Peterborough, Brampton and Brooklin will have lots going on. As will Orangeville and Whitby which is shaping up to be a great Jr. A final as well.
All the best to all the lacrosse fans out there, we’ll catch up again soon.