Steve Dietrich (left) & Troy Cordingley after unveiling Dietrich's Hall of Fame Plaque. Photo Credit: Graig Abel
On Tuesday night, Steve Dietrich became the 16th member of the National Lacrosse League Hall of Fame. The retired goaltender and now General Manager of the Buffalo Bandits was the lone inductee for the Class of 2012. The ceremony took place at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto.
Troy Cordingley, head coach of the Toronto Rock, told a packed house at the 2012 NLL Hall of Fame Induction ceremony about the first time he ever met Steve Dietrich before a game.
“I walked into the locker room, and here he was, laying on the ground, towel over his head and talking to himself”, recalled Cordingley. “I thought to myself, ‘Great, we’ve got a goalie who talks to himself. It’s gonna be a long night.”
NLL opponents facing the man his teammates called “Chugger” ended up having many long nights for 18 seasons. On Tuesday in Toronto, Dietrich was finally given his due with his induction as one of the best goalies to ever play the game. Former players and coaches were in attendance and also appeared in a tribute reel, such as Bandits head coach Darris Kilgour and former teammate Pat McCready, who praised Dietrich’s technique, preparation and determination. McCready added “He was always a guy who gave you a chance to win…when he was on, you wouldn’t believe how hard it was to get a shot past him.”
Steve Dietrich’s resume speaks for itself: His 18 seasons in the NLL, 2 time NLL Goalie of the Year, 4 time All Pro Goalie resume is impressive enough on its own. Factor in his legendary performance in the 1997 Championship Game with the Rochester Knighthawks, stopping 54 shots en route to an upset of the Buffalo Bandits, his ensuing MVP award for that Championship game, and becoming the first goaltender in the history of the NLL to be named MVP of a season in 2006, and Steve Dietrich’s legacy in the Hall of Fame is cemented.
As Dietrich took the podium on Tuesday night to a standing ovation, he thanked the coaches and players who believed in him and inspired him, his daughter Paige and wife Dawn. Finally, he thanked his two biggest supporters: His father and late mother. Dietrich ended by saying that his father, affectionately known by fans as “Mr. Chugger”, was “a tremendous father, role model, mentor and my best friend. If I could be half the man he is, I would consider myself extremely blessed.”