Welcome back to NLL.com’s weekly feature, Where Are They Now? Every week we will be catching up with former NLL players to hear what they are up to. As always, if there is a former player you’d like to hear from, send us a tweet @NLL.
This week’s feature is on Dan Stroup, 50, former forward with the Baltimore Thunder (1995), Ontario/Toronto Raiders (1998-2002), Vancouver Ravens (2003-2004), Colorado Mammoth (2005-2006), Edmonton Rush (2007-2008) and Portland LumberJax (2009).
Stroup won four championships in his NLL career, three with the Rock in 1999, 2000 and 2002 and one with Colorado in 2006. He won the NLL Finals MVP (formerly called the Champions Cup) in 2000, with five goals in the Rock’s 14-13 win over Rochester in the Finals.
Stroup is 10th all-time on the Rock goals scored list with 119, and his 22 playoff goals with the Rock ranks 5th in franchise history.
Stroup also won the NLL Cup as an assistant coach with the Washington Stealth in 2010. On September 9th, 2010, Stroup was inducted alongside Rich Kilgour and John Tucker into the National Lacrosse League Hall of Fame.
NLL.com: What are you up to these days?
Stroup: I live in Port Coquitlam, which is 25 minutes outside of Vancouver. I’m an assistant chief with the Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services. I’ve been a firefighter for 28 years and have been an assistant chief for 2.5 years. I’m also married to my high school sweetheart, Rita, for 28 years and have three daughters, Danita, Brianna and Daniella, all of whom either played or will be playing college lacrosse at Northwestern University. Danita just graduated, Brianna is a sophomore and Daniella plays for Team BC Women’s Field Lacrosse and will be a freshman at NU in September.
NLL.com: What does being an assistant chief with the Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services entail?
Stroup: I’m an on duty assistant chief, which means I manage 20 fire houses and 150 firefighters per day. My job is really rewarding because our firefighters are highly trained and very professional and they make coming to work easy. They make my job very rewarding.
NLL.com: How are you still involved in lacrosse?
Stroup: I was involved in the NLL until last year as the assistant coach of the Washington/Vancouver Stealth and then as co-head coach in Colorado for four years. Now, I’m taking a year off, but I do coach my daughters with team BC field lacrosse. It’s a high school girls team. We have four travel programs and we go to recruiting tournaments and showcase the girls. We have 80 girls and four teams and we travel to a couple of tournaments per year for showcases. We’ve been able to get college scholarships for 60 girls in the last eight years.
I’m also the head coach of both the Poco Saints Jr. A boys team and the Poco Saints U19 field lacrosse team.
NLL.com: What is your most fond memory of playing in the NLL?
Stroup: Some of my best memories were playing in many championships over my career and playing with and against some of the best players in the world over the years. If I had to pick one, though, I’d say the two championships in Maple Leaf Gardens, particularly the 2000 championship where we scored with one second left to win the NLL Cup.
NLL.com: Do you still keep in touch with any of your teammates and if so, which one (s)?
Stroup: I have a lot of teammates I keep in touch with. I work with Chris Gill, Bruce Murray, and Ian Hawksbee and I still keep in touch with Colin Doyle, Pat Coyle, Sean Williams, Rich Caton and Russ Heard. I also keep in touch with my former GM in Colorado and the current Seals general manager, Steve Govett.
NLL.com: You were with the Rock before they were in Toronto, when they were in Ontario for one season in 1998. The Rock then made the finals five straight years and won four NLL Cups. What was that like, being on an expansion team one year and the next thing you know you guys are a dynasty?
Stroup: We came out strong right from the beginning. We lost our first few games then we put it together and missed out on the playoffs by a tiebreaker in that first year. We had amazing teammates and we knew we had something special. Once we put everything together, we went on to win the next 4-5 years.
NLL.com: When you look back at your titles – and you have four of them – which one stands out the most to you in your memories?
Stroup: I think playing in Maple Leaf Gardens was amazing. Both the 1999 and the 2000 NLL Cup games were sold out. Those were special. Winning in 2002 in Albany was special as well. (The championship) in 2006 was great because we were underdogs. If I had to pick one, though, I’d say the 2000 championship.
NLL.com: You were inducted into the NLL Hall Of Fame, you won four NLL Cups and you are a Toronto Rock legend. Which one of those has the most meaning for you?
Stroup: I don’t think there would be a Hall of Fame without the championships. Those were special teams. My years in Toronto were amazing and special, but I wouldn’t be there without the championships and my teammates.
NLL.com: Everyone likes to say the era they played in was the best era to play. What would you say was better about playing in your era – the 2000’s – compared to now?
Stroup: I don’t know if it was better but it was the beginning. The paychecks were a lot lower. We knew we were part of something special and we were playing in filled arenas. We were playing for the love of the game, not for a paycheck. I love how the game has evolved and how it’s very professional now. Back in the day, we’d stay on GM’s couches to save money. Again, now the league is professional and my last seven years as a coach were amazing. The league has come a long way and it’s pretty special right now.
NLL.com: Which stadium did you play in for the first time where you had to take a step back and say, “Wow, I’m playing in X arena?”
Stroup: I’d have to say Maple Leaf Gardens, but the Spectrum was amazing too. The crowd was great in both places. If I had to pick one, I’d say Maple Leaf Gardens.
The Toronto Rock and San Diego Seals tip off this weekend’s games tomorrow night at 7:30 pm EST. Watch this weekend’s games on B/R Live and follow the NLL on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Follow Stroup on Twitter.