Toronto – Former Toronto Rock veteran player and captain, Jim Veltman has been announced as one of the two candidates to be inducted into the National Lacrosse League Hall of Fame for 2009.
The Class of 2009 will be the fourth group to be welcomed in to the Hall of Fame. In 2006, five charter members were inducted: Les Bartley, Russ Cline, Chris Fritz, Gary Gait and Paul Gait. The Class of 2007 included three inductees: Mike French, Darris Kilgour and Tom Marechek. In 2008, the Hall of Fame inducted Johnny Mouradian, Sal Locascio and Tony Resch. The Hall also recognized the late Tom Borrelli for his contributions to the game as a member of the media in 2007 and Canadian Press writer Neil Stevens was acknowledged for his contributions as a member of the media in 2008.
In order for a player to be eligible for consideration for the NLL Hall of Fame, the candidate must be retired from playing professional indoor lacrosse and shall be considered based on the individual’s record, ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team and sport.
Veltman, a Brampton native began his NLL career in 1992 for the Buffalo Bandits where he won three NLL Championships. After a year sabbatical spent in Uganda, Veltman returned to the game to play with the 1998 league expansion team the Ontario Raiders based out of Hamilton. A year later the team would relocate to Toronto and become the Toronto Rock. Veltman was named captain of the Rock and would remain the only captain of the team until his retirement ten years later in 2008. At the helm, Veltman led Toronto to the playoffs for nine consecutive years, capturing the Champion`s Cup five times.
In his 16-year NLL career, Jim Veltman played in 194 regular season games, banking 650 points from 157 goals and 493 assists. Nicknamed “Scoop“, the 12-time NLL All-Pro is the league`s all-time looseballs leader scooping up 2417 in his career.
In 2002, Veltman was the first-ever recipient of the NLL Sportsmanship Award, an award that recognizes the combination of character and performance by a player in the league. He was honoured again in 2004, winning the NLL Most Valuable Player Award. Voted on by the league`s coaches, general managers, and executive, the MVP Award is given to a player who is considered to have contributed most to his team`s success.
Veltman played in his last and 194th NLL career game on April 27th 2008, a game deemed as a Jim Veltman Tribute that included special presentations, tribute videos and special guests in Jim’s honour. As part of the afternoon celebration, the team wore a collection of commemorative Jim Veltman jerseys reflecting each of the ten years he played with the Rock during the pre-game warm up.
“I want to be remembered as a guy who was honest in his play and really did leave it all out on the floor,” said Veltman during an interview with the late Tom Borrelli last April. “Not just to the home fans but to fans all over the league. I want them to know I gave my heart and soul to the game to make it better, to make it something we can all be proud of,” he added.
Alongside Veltman, Dallas Eliuk of the Portland Lumberjax will also be inducted into the NLL Hall of Fame for 2009. Currently an assistant coach for the Lumberjax, Eliuk played 18 seasons as a goaltender in the NLL. Spending the first 15 years of his career as the goalie for the Philadelphia Wings until being traded to the Lumberjax for his final three seasons, Eliuk is known as one of the best goalies to ever play the game. Eliuk won four championships with the Wings, was named to the All-Pro team nine times, and retires as the league’s all-time leader in saves.
Veltman and Eliuk will be honoured during the Hall of Fame induction ceremony as part of the NLL All-Star Weekend festivities in Denver Colorado on March 7th 2009.