Oakville, ON – It was a magnificent night for the Toronto Rock on Tuesday night at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre in Oakville, Ontario, as the National Lacrosse League honored the 2015 NLL Season Awards winners and welcomed former Rock coach and general manager Terry Sanderson to the NLL Hall of Fame as the lone inductee in the Class of 2015.
In total, 5 Rock players and staff were nominated for six league awards and on this night, the team took home three individual honors.
Terry Sanderson was named the 2015 NLL GM of the Year. Rock Owner, President and GM Jamie Dawick presented the GM of the Year Award to Terry’s son Josh. The 2015 Toronto Rock was the last team assembled by the late Terry Sanderson as he served as the team’s General Manager up until his passing in November of 2014.
Josh Sanderson was the recipient of the Pinty’s Wingman of the Year Award. This award is the culmination of a season long weekly award. Sanderson along with Shawn Evans established a new assist record with 83 helpers this season. The award is given to a player who shows playmaking prowess throughout the regular season.
The NLL’s Coach of the Year Award is named in honour of the late Les Bartley who won seven NLL titles, four with the Rock. On hand to present the Coach of the Year Award was his wife Gloria.
The Rock enjoyed a magical 2015 regular season posting their best ever win total, going 14-4 in the regular season. With those credentials, it’s no surprise that Rock head coach John Lovell was named the NLL’s coach of the year. Lovell wins the award in just his second season as head coach of the Toronto Rock and recently signed a 2-year extension.
Brodie Merrill was a nominee for the Transition Player of the Year Award, in his first season as a member of the Toronto Rock. Merrill certainly lived up to expectations, re-energizing Toronto’s transition game and also providing additional leadership in the absence of Colin Doyle throughout the bulk of the 2015 season. On this night, it was Colorado’s Joey Cupido denying Merrill his third Transition Player of the Year Award, with the Mammoth star taking home this award for the first time in his young career.
It’s no secret that Toronto has a great deal of depth at the goaltending position with Nick Rose and 2015 Goaltender of the Year nominee Brandon Miller. Both enjoyed fantastic seasons in 2015, but it was Miller who was named a finalist in this category. Winning the league award, however, was Rochester’s Matt Vinc for a league record fifth time and third in a row. The only goaltenders other than Vinc to win the award more than once are Steve Dietrich and the man who presented this award to Vinc, Rock hall of fame goaltender Bob “Whipper” Watson.
Merrill and Sanderson were also named to the NLL’s 2nd All-Pro Team.
Following the 2015 NLL Season Awards ceremony, Terry Sanderson was officially inducted into the NLL Hall of Fame.
Sanderson is a three-time NLL Champion’s Cup winner, capturing the championship in 2005 and 2011 with the Rock and in 2009 with the Calgary Roughnecks. In each instance, he had different roles. In 2005, Sanderson was the head coach and GM of the Rock while in 2011, he was the assistant coach and GM. In 2009 with the Roughnecks, he served as assistant coach. Both of his assistant coach wins were alongside longtime running mate Troy Cordingley.
‘T’ leaves behind an incredible legacy. So many of the players he coached, have moved on to be coaches and general managers in the NLL.
“He was loyal to a fault to his players,” said an emotional Rock Head Coach John Lovell who gave the induction. “He always cared for you in some way.
“He was a miserable person when we lost, and sometimes he was just as miserable when we won,” joked Lovell. “We had this trust thing and it was always good to know that someone had your back.”
Story via TorontoRock.com. Photo by Graig Abel.