Indigenous lacrosse players typically play the box game with a level of poise, creativity and respect that sets the standard of how to live out a positive and successful NLL career. The current class of Indigenous stars in the League are impressive: we know that. Lyle Thompson. Austin Staats. Zed Williams. And we could go on and on.
We know who today’s Indigenous stars are, but what about those that paved the way for this new generation of impressive talent?
Here are some notable Indigenous names from yesteryear that you might not know. Without their successful stints in the league, the NLL we know and love wouldn’t be the same today.
Cory Bomberry Six Nations of the Grand River
From 1997-2010, Cory Bomberry was one of the most gifted Indigenous goal scorers in the NLL. He used force and precision to find the back of the net consistently throughout his career. Standing in at 5’9 and 200 pounds, one of the reasons he was so intriguing to watch was that he was so quick and good on his feet with his stocky, balanced frame. The Bomberry name is one of the most well-known in NLL history. He is related to around half a dozen other Bomberry’s that have played (or still play) in the NLL.
He finished his 14-year stint in the NLL (split between the original Rochester Knighthawks, Arizona Sting and Buffalo Bandits) with a total of 235 goals and was an NLL champion in 2008 with the Buffalo Bandits – he competed in a total of six NLL Finals. He was also a very good facilitator, posting 40+ assists in four consecutive seasons from 2001-2004 and finished his career with over 400 regular season assists. Bomberry was also a leading face-off guy during his time in the league winning nearly 50% of over 1,500 face-offs taken.
Duane Jacobs Six Nations of the Grand River
Duane Jacobs was truly one of the Indigenous pioneers in the NLL. From 1993-2003, he frequently found himself on the NLL’s All-Pro Second Team in the 90s. He was never the loudest one in the locker room or on the floor, but you could never question his passion for the game. He is still one of the few offensive Indigenous players to reach 400 points. Jacobs was an NLL champion in 1997 with the Rochester Knighthawks.
Beyond his playing career, Jacobs was an assistant coach for the Buffalo Bandits from 2004-2006 (as well as 2010), and he was the head coach of the Minnesota Swarm from 2007-2009. As the Swarm’s head coach, his team had a record of 25-23. In both 2007 and 2008, Jacobs coached the Swarm to back-to-back playoff appearances.
Rich Kilgour Tuscarora Nation
Few men have played in the NLL as long as Rich Kilgour did. From 1992-2009, Kilgour was one of the leading members of the Buffalo Bandits, making him one of the longest tenured Bandits in NLL history. Kilgour participated in seven NLL Finals and won three of them (1993, 1996 & 2008). He could do it all. As a transition player in the NLL, Kilgour took many faceoffs, scooped up a lot of loose balls and even tallied quite a few points. Kilgour was the Bandits’ captain for a dozen years and he has also spent some time as an assistant coach for the Bandits.
By the time he retired after his 18-season NLL career, Kilgour accumulated 94 goals and 223 assists for 317 points. He also picked up over 750 loose balls and won over 300 faceoffs. In fact, just like Cory Bomberry, Kilgour is one of only about a half a dozen players in NLL history that have scored over 300 points and won over 300 faceoffs in their NLL careers.
Darris Kilgour Tuscarora Nation
Darris Kilgour is the younger brother of Rich Kilgour. From 1992-2000, Kilgour played the game with a passion and flair that made his game must-watch lacrosse. He was tough and would not be stopped when he had the ball or even if he didn’t have the ball. He had amazing stick work and was very good at faking out defenders. Much like Duane Jacobs, Kilgour was named to the NLL’s All-Pro Second Team multiple times in the 90s, including in 1998, when he had a 37-goal and 30-assist year and snagged a career-high-tying 69 loose balls that season.
Almost more notable than his playing career was his incredible coaching career with the Bandits. No one has been the head coach for more Bandits games than Darris Kilgour, and he is the winningest coach in team history (total wins, not win percentage). From 2003-2013, Kilgour and the Bandits won 103 games. During that 11-season stretch, Kilgour coached the Bandits to a winning record in 10 of those years. The team’s shining achievement in that stretch is their NLL title in 2008.
Kim Squire Six Nations of the Grand River
Kim Squire, a member of the Ontario Raiders and Toronto Rock from 1998-2003, played a pivotal role during the Rock’s championship-winning dynasty in the early 2000s. In that span, he won four NLL championships. Squire was a gritty player, who found a way to always get to where he wanted to be on the floor. He and his NLL Hall of Fame teammate, Colin Doyle, had a lot of success playing together and playing off one another.
In 2001, Squire was second on the team in points during the regular season and first on the team in points during the postseason. Even more impressive that year (both in the regular season and postseason), Squire grabbed a ton of loose balls. His nearly 100 loose balls that year was one of the more impressive totals for any forward in the league. Few Indigenous players have been able to make their mark on championship winning teams like Squire did with the Rock during the early 2000s.
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