The National Lacrosse League has announced three finalists for the 2015 NLL General Manager of the Year Award. The Buffalo Bandits’ Steve Dietrich, Toronto Rock’s Terry Sanderson and Rochester Knighthawks’ Curt Styres were the top three vote recipients for their roles as general managers with their respective teams.
Dietrich helped manage Buffalo to the playoffs with an 11-7 record, fourth-best in the league, which included a 7-2 mark at home and 5-0 record against the West Division. The Bandits scored the second-most goals (236) in the NLL, allowed the fourth-fewest (208) and had three players in the top seven of NLL scoring. The Kitchener, Ont. native finished his third season as Buffalo’s general manager after two years as an assistant coach with the Toronto Rock. The NLL Hall of Fame goaltender (Class of 2012) played 18 years in the league from 1992-2010, won league MVP in 2006 as the first and only goalie to win the award, and was a two-time Goaltender of the Year award winner (2005-2006).
Sanderson laid the foundation for Toronto’s first-place 14-4 finish in 2015. The lacrosse legend, who passed away suddenly this past November, built the Rock team that went 7-2 at home and away, scored the third-most goals (230) and allowed the third-fewest (185). The East Division champions had three players in the league’s top 15 for scoring, both goalies in the top four of goals against average, and eventually advanced to the Champion’s Cup Finals. Sanderson first served as an NLL head coach in 2000 and began coaching the Rock in 2004, where he won the Champion’s Cup in 2005. The Orangeville, Ont. native worked as an assistant for three years before reuniting with the Rock in 2009 as Toronto’s GM and assistant coach. His return was highlighted by a championship win in 2011. Sanderson played in the original NLL for Syracuse (1974) and Quebec (1975).
“It was important to us that T was our representative for this award because he built this team and I just finished the year off. The right guy is on the ballot,” explained Rock Owner President & GM Jamie Dawick. “I think T did a heck of a job addressing the team’s needs in the off-season and that was definitely reflected in our record and in the success we had as a team this season. I think he deserves the recognition and it would be a great tribute for him to win.”
Styres directed Rochester to a 12-6 record this season, third-best in the NLL, as the team’s owner and general manager. The Knighthawks went 7-2 at home and allowed a league-low 173 goals en route to a second-place finish in the East Division. With a balanced offense featuring just two players in the league’s top 25 of scoring, the Knighthawks boasted one of the NLL’s top defenses. A Mohawk member from Six Nations, Ont., Styres began operating the Knighthawks in 2008. Styres won both the General Manager of the Year and Executive of the Year award in 2011 ahead of Rochester’s historic run of three-straight Champion’s Cup titles from 2012-2014.
The 2015 NLL Season Awards are determined by a vote of the league’s Board of Governors, General Managers and Head Coaches at the end of the regular season. The winners will be announced at the NLL Season Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 29 in Toronto, Ont.
Schedule of finalist announcement for the remaining NLL Season Awards:
Wednesday, June 24: Rookie of the Year award finalists
Thursday, June 25: Most Valuable Player award finalists
Monday, June 29: Teammate of the Year award finalists
Tuesday, June 30: Pinty’s Wingman of the Year award finalists
Monday, July 6: Media Person of the Year (The Tom Borrelli Award) winner
Tuesday, September 29: 2015 NLL Season Awards Ceremony