Hall of FameNLL Awards & Hall of FameStories/Op-Ed
HALL OF FAME PLAYERS IMITATED BY NEXT GENERATION OF SUPERSTARS
September 15, 2023By: Jon Rapoport
The 2023 Hall of Fame class includes a trio of legends that have contributed to the growth and success of the National Lacrosse League in innumerable ways.
John Grant Jr. and Colin Doyle remain two of the most prolific offensive players in league history, while Steve Toll stands out for his defensive toughness and trailblazing approach to the transitional aspects of defense.
While the careers of all three men mainly spanned the first two decades of the 21st century, there is absolutely no doubt that the aforementioned icons would serve as dominant figures in the 2020’s version of the NLL. With this in mind, NLL.com thought it would be illuminating to compare these recent greats of the game to the similar-styled torchbearers of the current era.
48-year-old John Grant Jr. played 17 seasons for the Rochester Knighthawks and Colorado Mammoth after being selected first overall in the 1999 draft. The Peterborough, Ontario native and University of Delaware alum sits second all-time in goals (668) and sixth in assists (778). The 2007 MVP/NLL champ is remembered for his speed and creativity around the net, leading the league in goals on four occasions.
Below is a look at a classic Grant Jr. behind-the-back goal. Who could ever forget watching this live?
This level of trickery and resourcefulness bears a resemblance to the repertoires of current NLL magicians Curtis Dickson and Joe Resetarits, both of whom have a knack for dodging around defenders, or diving through the crease when necessary.
Here’s Dickson’s best Grant Jr. through-the-legs impression:
And here’s Resetarits with the classic Grant Jr. overhand:
Colin Doyle played 16 seasons, mostly for the Toronto Rock. He was the Rookie of the Year in 1998 and built an enviable career as a fan favorite. The now 45-year-old Kitchener, Ontario product won an incredible six championships for his home-province franchise, finishing in the top five all-time in goals, assists and total points. The 2005 NLL MVP was well known for his combined ability to find the back of the net via a wide of range of offensive moves and a highly powerful shot.
Below are a series of clips showcasing Doyle’s multi-dimensional arsenal.
His capacity to light the lamp by any means necessary takes on the appearance of 2023 stars Lyle Thompson and Josh Byrne, both players that like to fly high over the crease and throw the occasional backhand goal.
Here’s Lyle Thompson leaping over the crease:
And here’s Josh Byrne absolutely taking over a game:
Steve Toll earned five NLL championship rings during tenures in Toronto and Rochester. The son of St. Catharines, Ontario is considered one of the greatest defenders in NLL history, while being a pioneer in recognizing the value of a transition player, as he was the first-ever recipient of the Transition Player of the Year Award. The 49-year-old presently imparts his wealth of defensive wisdom to Panther City Lacrosse Club players, serving as the club’s defensive coordinator.
When Toll was announced as a Hall of Fame inductee, the Toronto Rock put together this glimpse of Toll successfully turning great defense into productive offense.
Notice how this compares to the likes of Zach Currier and Challen Rogers, winners of the last four NLL Transition Player of the Year awards.
The Calgary Roughnecks put together a similar highlight video of Currier. Like Toll, he’s got wheels.
And this is perhaps Rogers’ most memorable goal so far:
Congratulations to Grant Jr., Doyle and Toll, and to the other guys mentioned in this article: we’re keeping our eyes on you!
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