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Chris Sanderson passes away after long battle with Brain Cancer

06/28/2012, 9:26am EDT
By NLL.com

Lacrosse world mourns the loss of one of its own

Chris Sanderson passed away on Thursday after a lengthy battle wih brain cancer at the age of 38.

The Philadelphia Wings have announced that Chris Sanderson, a former National Lacrosse League player & coach who was loved by many both inside and outside the world of lacrosse, passed away on Thursday morning following a courageous four-year battle against cancer at the age of 38.

Sanderson was diagnosed with a grade IV glioma, malignant brain tumor, Glioblastoma Multiforme in December 2008. He fought the disease with determination and a positive attitude that inspired many.

The Orangeville, Ontario native played four seasons in the league (1999, 2001 – 2003), for Baltimore, New Jersey and Philadelphia.  He posted a career won-lost record of 11-10 and won a championship in 2001 with the Philadelphia Wings as the backup goaltender to Dallas Eliuk. Sanderson made 701 career saves in 1,169 minutes of game action. 

Prior to playing in the NLL, Sanderson played NCAA lacrosse at University of Virginia, where his teams reached the postseason in all four of his seasons on the team. 

Following his NLL playing career, Sanderson was hired as an assistant coach of the Wings in September of 2004 and served in that position through the 2011 season.

"Chris Sanderson's spirit and courage in the face of adversity will be an everlasting memory and tribute to him", said NLL Commissioner George Daniel. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the Sanderson family."

“This is a very sad day for all Wings fans, Wings players, coaches, management and ownership,” said Wings Co-Owner and President Michael French. “Chris' leadership, spirit and sense of humor were just some of his wonderful traits he possessed. As a fellow Canadian I am eternally grateful for all he did for our national team and our sport. On behalf of the Wings we pass on our deepest condolences to Brogan and Chris' two beautiful daughters and all of his extended family. May he rest in peace.”

Some of his greatest playing accomplishments came in field lacrosse as the goaltender for Team Canada. In 2010, Sanderson competed in his fourth consecutive Lacrosse World Championships in Manchester, England (1998, 2002, 2006 & 2010).  As the goalie for Team Canada, he helped lead the team to three silver medals and the gold medal in 2006, and was selected as the Best Goalie in the World for three times.

Sanderson is survived in his immediate family by his wife, Brogann, and two daughters, Stevie and Clementine.

Neil Stevens of The Canadian Press wrote a story on Thursday, a tribute to Sanderson and his life as a champion both on and off the field.  Read the story by clicking here.

Also see the story from the Orangeville Banner, Sanderson's hometown newspaper.

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