The National Lacrosse League has announced the six finalists on the ballot for the league’s Hall of Fame Class of 2012. The ballot consists of five retired players and for the first time, a team.
Three players have ties to the Rock franchise in Pat Coyle, Steve Dietrich and Chris Driscoll. Curt Malawksy and Regy Thorpe round out the players on the ballot. The team is the 1993 Buffalo Bandits, who are the only team in league history to go undefeated through a regular season and playoffs. A brief summary of each candidate’s accomplishments is listed below. Ballots are cast by the teams, current member of the NLL Hall of Fame and senior members of the league’s covering media.
Driscoll won a pair of championships in Toronto and is one of only three captains in Rock franchise history along with Jim Veltman and Colin Doyle. Dietrich finished his NLL playing career with the Rock in 2010 and quickly found a job with the club as an assistant coach after his playing days came to an end. Coyle was one of the best defenders of all-time and a leader of the Rock defensive corps as one of the anchors of the first four Champion’s Cup titles won by the franchise.
Voters may select up to three of the six nominees on the ballot. To win induction into the Hall of Fame, nominees must first be selected on a minimum of 75 percent of the ballots cast. Of those receiving the necessary votes, the top two vote-getters win induction into the Hall of Fame. In 2011, Bob Watson was the only nominee who won induction into the Hall of Fame, having been selected on 86 percent of the ballots. The winner(s) will be announced next week.
The nominees were selected by the league’s Hall of Fame Committee. The committee considered all of the indivduals that were suggested by fans over the past month via the league’s facebook page (facebook.com/National.Lacrosse.League).
Nominees for NLL Hall of Fame, Class of 2012:
A defenseman, Coyle played twelve seasons in the league (1994 Detroit; 1998-2004 Ontario/Toronto; 2005-2008 Colorado) and won five championships (Toronto 1999, 2000, 2002 & 2003; Colorado 2006) in the six championship games in which he played. His teams made it to the playoffs in 11 of his 12 seasons. He played in 156 career regular season games, picking up 940 loose balls and tallied 133 points (28 goals, 105 assists). He won the league’s Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2002, the first year in which the award was given.
Dietrich played 18 seasons in the league (1992 Baltimore; 1994 Detroit; 1995-2001 Rochester, 2002-2007 Buffalo, 2008 Calgary, 2009 Edmonton, 2009-2010 Toronto). Played in two championship games, and was named Championship Game MVP in 1997 in a 15-12 win over Buffalo. In 2006 he won the League MVP Award and had one of the best statistical individual seasons for a goaltender in league history, posting a save percentage of .808 and a goals against average of 9.97, leading Buffalo to the Championship Game. He made 5,531 career saves while playing more than 8,300 minutes of career playing time. Had a career won-loss record of 60-47.
Played in 234 regular season games over a 19-year career (1993-1994 Detroit; 1995-1999 Rochester; 1999-2002 Buffalo, 2002-2003 New York, 2003-2009 Toronto; 2010 Buffalo/Rochester; 2011 Rochester). Scored 240 goals & 378 assists for 618 points. Reached the playoffs in 12 of those seasons and played in the Championship Game four times, winning three Championships (Rochester 1997, Toronto 2003 & 2005). Won league’s Sportsmanship Award in 2003, and was Second Team All-Pro in 1996.
Played 159 regular season games over 12 seasons (1998-2003 Rochester; 2004 Vancouver; 2005-2006 San Jose; 2006-2007 Arizona; 2008-2009 Calgary). Scored 260 goals and 277 assists, finishing with 537 total points. Made the playoffs in nine seasons, reaching the Championship Game five times, winning one Championship in 2009 with Calgary. Now retired from his playing career, Malawsky serves as the Calgary Roughnecks’ Assistant Coach/Offense Coordinator.
A defenseman, Thorpe played 193 regular season games & 24 playoff games over a 15-year career (1995-2009), all with the Rochester Knighthawks. His team’s reached the Championship Game six times, winning twice (1997 & 2007) and made the playoffs in 14 of his 15 seasons. In 193 career regular season games, he picked up 966 loose balls and tallied 76 points (5 goals, 71 assists). He served as team captain during the championship 2007 season.
The 1993 Buffalo Bandits
The 1993 Buffalo Bandits are the first team to be nominated for the NLL Hall of Fame. The ’93 Bandits are the first and only team in league history to go through the regular season and playoffs undefeated. The Bandits went 8-0 in the regular season, outscoring its opponents 143-108. The team went 2-0 in the playoffs, including a Championship Game 13-12 win over a Philadelphia Wings team that came into the Championship with a season record of 8-1.
The 1993 team’s roster & staff included five future NLL Hall of Famers and individuals who continue to have an impact on the NLL to this day. The team was coached by the late Les Bartley, who won his second of seven championships as a head coach that season. The legendary coach guided the Rock to four championships in Toronto. Bartley was inducted posthumously into the NLL Hall of Fame as part of the Hall’s Inaugural Class in 2006.
Three of the team’s players are now in the Hall of Fame: Darris Kilgour, Rich Kilgour & Jim Veltman. John Tavares, the league’s all-time leading scorer, was on the ’93 Bandits team and was MVP of the Championship Game. More than half (5 out of 9) of the league’s current head coaches were part of the ’93 Bandits team: Rock Head Coach Troy Cordingley, Bob Hamley, Derek Keenan & Darris Kilgour played on the team. Johnny Mouradian was the team’s General Manager, and is now a member of the NLL Hall of Fame.