Oakville, ON – Toronto Rock captain, and all-time team leader in every offensive category, Colin Doyle announced his retirement from the National Lacrosse League on Wednesday morning at a press conference at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre (TRAC) in Oakville, Ontario. The 39-year old Kitchener, Ontario native played 19 seasons in the NLL, 16 of them with the Rock franchise.
“My drive and being able to find something to motivate me had dwindled. My drive to compete had decreased and that was a sign to me that if I’m not driven to be the best, it’s the right time to walk away,” Doyle explained as his reasoning for retiring at this time.
The team also announced that Doyle’s number 7 will be the second number in franchise history to be retired at a game on Saturday, March 11 against the Calgary Roughnecks at Air Canada Centre. Doyle’s iconic number 7 will fittingly join Bob Watson’s number 29 in the rafters.
“I guess we’ll be roommates forever,” joked Doyle “It’s one of the greatest honours that exists in sports along with championship rings. It’s unbelievable and not something I expected at all. To be up there with Bobby is special, he’ll go down as one of my favourite players of all time and a true friend.”
Colin Doyle will be remembered as one of the all-time great players to ever pull on a jersey in the National Lacrosse League. He hopes his peers remember him fondly.
“I hope I’m remembered for being a great teammate and being someone that played their best when it mattered the most, someone that didn’t cheat any fan that spent their money to come and watch me play,” said the 7-year Rock captain.
After bursting on the scene in 1998 as a 20-year old and winning the NLL Rookie of the Year with the Ontario Raiders, Doyle moved with the franchise to Toronto when the Rock was born in 1999. Doyle’s 15 seasons in a Rock uniform had a 3-year stint in San Jose with the Stealth sandwiched in between from 2007 to 2009. His second tour of duty with the Rock was a very special time for Doyle that he will always cherish. His first season back in Toronto in 2010, the Rock went from missing the playoffs for a second consecutive season to winning the East Division and making it all the way to the Champion’s Cup final. The following year in 2011, Doyle and the Rock each captured their sixth NLL titles.
“I’m very proud of what we accomplished as a team in my second tour in Toronto,” explained Doyle. “Our accomplishments in 2010 and 2011 are definitely something that I will look back on as a one of the best times in my career.”
Rock Owner, President and GM Jamie Dawick recalls conversations with then Head Coach Troy Cordingley and GM Terry Sanderson about re-acquiring Doyle shortly after purchasing the team in 2009.
“T and Troy stressed the importance of bringing Colin back,” remembers Dawick. “They stressed the need for a captain and a leader to forge the identity of the team and I didn’t know Colin at that time personally but they couldn’t have been more right. Colin coming back to Toronto was the biggest factor in why we became relevant again right away.”
His 440 goals, 664 assists and 1104 points leave him as the all-time leader in each category in Rock franchise history. His 218 games played are also the most in team’s history. Overall, he ranks third in points with 1384, fourth in goals at 527, third in assists with 857 and his 266 games also have him third overall all-time.
Doyle has already started life after lacrosse. In July, he was hired as the Director of TRAC Athletics where he oversees the day-to-day programming at the TRAC in Oakville. He has always had a passion for growing the game and his new role will allow him to pursue that goal.
“People often say retiring from playing pro sports allows them to spend more time with their family, however I’m very thankful to this game and this league for giving me the opportunity to do something I love and in turn has actually allowed me to spend more time with my family than the average person would. I’m truly thankful to the owners, teammates and coaches that have been a part of my career.”
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