Toronto – Once on the same side of the equation as both players and coaches, Rock Head Coach Troy Cordingley and Bandits Head Coach Darris Kilgour will be nose to nose on Saturday night when Toronto and Buffalo match up in the East Division Final.
They are recognized as two of the most intense coaches in the National Lacrosse League and their approach to the game on the bench is the same as when they were players. Together as teammates, Cordingley and Kilgour sipped from the Champion’s Cup in 1993 and 1996 as members of the Buffalo Bandits.
“He was the hardest worker I ever played with,” recalled Kilgour. “I had tremendous respect for him as a player and I have even more respect for him as a coach.”
When it comes to coaching, Cordingley stood at Kilgour’s side for five years with the Bandits. That run came to an end when the current Rock bench boss left the Bandits to take the Head Coach position with the Calgary Roughnecks prior to the 2008 season.
In 2008, Kilgour won his first title as a Head Coach in the NLL while Cordingley was getting his first taste as the man in charge with the Roughnecks. Kilgour had to wait eight seasons (6 with Buffalo after 2 with Washington) for his first championship behind the bench. Cordingley accomplished the feat in just his second season as a Head Coach in the league and also captured NLL Coach of the Year honours in 2009 with Calgary.
“Darris taught me a lot when we played together,” said Cordingley. “I always saw him as a guy that would lead teams and be successful.”
Now that Cordingley is heading up the Rock bench staff, he gets to see a lot more of the Bandits and his old teammate Kilgour. Head to head all-time, Kilgour holds the regular season edge with 5 wins to Cordingley’s 3. However, in the playoffs, Cordingley is 1-0 after his Rock downed Kilgour’s Bandits in the 2010 East Division Semi-Final.
As the game approaches, Kilgour mentioned his team is healthy going into this weekend. Cordingley said the only injury the Rock are keeping an eye on is rookie forward Aaron Pascas who rolled his ankle in Sunday’s win over Rochester. The Rock Head Coach said Pascas has been receiving treatment all week and is probable for Saturday’s game in Buffalo.
Saturday’s East Division Final will be broadcast live on TSN2 at 7:30pm from HSBC Arena in Buffalo, NY. For fans interested in attending the game, the Toronto Rock have organized a bus trip to Buffalo. For more information on the bus trip, log on to www.torontorock.com.