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New Jersey Storm defenseman Gordon Purdie was on his computer late one evening in May of 2001 when he visited the National Lacrosse League home page (nationallacrosse.com). He was immediately struck by what the headline read, "New Jersey Awarded NLL Franchise." Upon reading the full story and learning all about Storm franchise, Purdie knew that this was the place for him.
Gordon Purdie in action
"Even before the first face-off last season, I knew that New Jersey would not only be a great lacrosse area but a great playing atmosphere as well," Purdie said "I cannot begin to express how exciting it has been for me to be a part of this first-class organization."
Purdie, who hails from Melbourne, Australia, graduated from Adelphi University in Garden City, Long Island with a bachelor's degree in physical education. Following a collegiate career that encompassed two All-American awards, Purdie moved on to the professional ranks when he joined the New York Saints organization in 1990.
After playing just two games during his rookie campaign, he quickly moved his way up the Saints totem pole to become the team's top face-off man.
"It was a lot of fun playing in front of the great fans of Long Island, Purdie stated. "Some of my fondest memories of my NLL career come from my experiences with the Saints team."
Purdie who played as a member of the Saints squad for 10 consecutive seasons, still ranks as the teams all-time face-off leader with 525 wins and is among the leaders in loose balls and games played as well.
One of the highest honors for him came in 1999 when he was selected as the Commissioner's pick for the American All Star team.
"Rochester (the host-city) was an amazing experience for me," Purdie explained. "Although we lost by one goal in overtime, it was not just about the goals we scored but more importantly the fun we had."
So after a stellar career in the NLL, the league's only Australian-born player has crossed over the George Washington Bridge to join the Storm franchise. After joining the squad during the halfway point of the team's first season Purdie immediately made an impact, while helping the Storm claim victories in four of their last six contests.
The New Jersey defense finished the season ranked as the fifth-best penalty-killing unit with a 50.5 stoppage rate, while ranking first in their division in lowest total goals against.
Purdie joined Storm captain Jamie Hanford in forming one of the most dangerous face-off duos in the entire league.
"I loved playing with each one of my teammates as they were all great guys. I am grateful to the coaching staff for giving me an opportunity to be a member of the Storm and will continue to do whatever it takes to help out my team," Purdie added.
Storm Head Coach and Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame member Jim Brady stated "Gordon has brought a fire to our defense that is contagious. Teammates pickup their efforts watching the way he pours all his drive in going after the ball."
In addition to his indoor lacrosse success, Purdie has also been a member of the Australian World Field Lacrosse Teams in 1986, 1990, 1994 and 1998. In 1994 he was bestowed the honor of being named "Best Midfielder of the World Games." This summer he will represent his country in Perth, Australia for an unprecedented fifth consecutive time.
Purdie is looking forward to season number two for the New Jersey Storm.