DENVER – Lacrosse legend Gary Gait today announced his decision not to play in Major League Lacrosse, the summer league where he has spent several seasons as both a player and coach.
Gait has decided not to participate in the MLL this season in order to assist the National Lacrosse League in the exploration of an NLL outdoor league to begin play in 2007.
“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to work with the NLL, the premier professional lacrosse league in the world,” Gait said, adding he will play in the NLL’s outdoor league when it begins play.
Gait will also play for Team Canada in this summer’s 2006 Warrior World Lacrossse Championships in London, Ont.
“I’ve had a great run with MLL and I’m leaving at the top of my game,” Gait said. “It’s time for me to focus on the future of lacrosse – teaching young players and continuing to develop the sport in creative and unique ways.”
Last season Gait led MLL’s Baltimore Bayhawks to a championship as both player and coach and was named the league’s most valuable player.
Gait will continue to coach the NLL’s Colorado Mammoth and will spearhead efforts to develop a previously announced summer league for the NLL. He will also continue to serve as president of NDP Lacrosse, a development program for high school players that encourages tournament play and college preparation.
“I believe the NDP Lacrosse model and the expansion of the NLL are where my efforts can make a difference in growing this sport in North America,” Gait said.
Gait, a native of Victoria, B.C., played in MLL for five years, one with the Long Island Lizards and four as player-coach of the Bayhawks. A three-time MLL championship winner, Gait ranks fifth in total career points (222), fourth in total goals (159) and is tied for first place with most overtime goals and points.
Gait won several box lacrosse championships in British Columbia including Minto Cups with the Esquimalt Legion and Mann Cups with the Victoria Shamrocks.
Gait was inducted into the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2005 and entered the National Lacrosse League Hall of Fame as a charter member earlier this year.