This past Saturday inside the packed Anvil Centre in New Westminster British Colombia, Colorado Mammoth head coach, Pat Coyle, officially received yet another honor for his stellar playing career. This time he earned an induction into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
Prior to this, Pat had been named a Western Lacrosse Association All-star 7 times, racked up 5 WLA Top Defensive Player honors, won 3 Mann Cups (2 with the Senior A Brampton Excelsiors and 1 with the Coquitlam Adanacs) and received the WLA’s Bill Ellison Trophy winner as a playoff series MVP, and that was just in WLA. In the National Lacrosse League he added 5 championships to his name (4 with the Toronto Rock and 1 with the Colorado Mammoth) and was named the 2002 Defensive Player of the Year.
After retiring from the NLL at the end of the 2008 season, Coyle began collecting more accolades. In 2013 he was inducted his hometown hall of fame in Orangeville, Ontario. The next year he was the first defenseman to be enshrined into the NLL Hall of Fame. This past summer he became part of the Coquitlam Sports Wall of Fame and was inducted into the Coquitlam Senior Adanacs “Ring of Honor”.
En route to earning so many awards and honors, he gained respect, admiration and friendships even as he pummeled countless players as a ruthless, no-nonsense defenseman. Many of the other inductees were quick to mention Coyle as someone they either wished the had had as a teammate or someone who they knew would be a near-impossible man to get by (at least without getting knocked about).
“I don’t think there’s any higher praise” The Mammoth Coach said of his fellow inductees words. “It’s nice to be acknowledged by fans, but it’s not the same as being acknowledged by peers. I think when your peers acknowledge you, that’s the real good stuff.” During his speech he made note to express how special it was to not only be in the exclusive Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame fraternity but more broadly in the fraternity of lacrosse players.
His former teammate and current general manager of the Mammoth, Dan Carey, was another peer to shower praise on his friend for receiving this honor. “I know what he invests in the game of lacrosse. He’s a guy that loves the sport and is passionate about it.” Carey said, “He’s a very competitive person who is a lot of fun to be around but not too fun to play against when you’re on the floor with him.”
Coyle shot the praise back around throughout most of his speech explaining that while it was special to now be in the hall with his contemporaries such as his assistant coaches Dan Stroup and Chris Gill who both played with Coyle for the Toronto Rock and the Mammoth -not to mention Paul and Gary Gait who were teammates his on the Mammoth- that is was a tremendous honor to be in the hall with so many men that made him love the game of lacrosse.
Coyle gave special thanks to his family, his wife, two boys, his brother, mother and father. He explained that his mother was his biggest support and stated that it was his father who gave him his, “fiery side”.
In an early game in his career, Coyle was slashed and stayed on the ground in noticeable pain. After the match, his father explained to him, “You never do that. You only stay on the floor if your leg’s in the corner and you’re at center.” He said to a loud roar of laughter in the ballroom then continued, “But without his drive, he really pushed me to be excellent, so I owe my dad a lot.” Surly many of Coyle’s opponents can attest that after facing the dogged defender in a contest that they felt like they had pieces of their body all over the floor.
Coyle’s drive to succeed has shown itself as he has been a coach of the Mammoth over the last four years. Last year he, along with Gill and Stroup, pushed Colorado into the second round of the NLL playoffs for the first time since the team’s Champion’s Cup in 2006. They are currently working towards their goal of the next Champions Cup as training camp and scrimmages heat up.
In less then a month, head coach Coyle will showcase the Mammoth’s 2018 squad when they take to the box for their first regular season game in Vancouver, B.C. on December 8th; only this time he’ll be doing it under his newest alias, Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame inductee Pat Coyle.