Toronto ON – The National Lacrosse League announced today that Toronto Rock Vice President and Alternate Governor Les Bartley is the 2005 Executive of the Year. Bartley, who was the mastermind behind four championships in five seasons for the Rock, was forced to give up coaching and managing the team when he was diagnosed with colon cancer prior to last season. Though the cancer forced Bartley to step down from his duties as Head Coach and General Manager for the Rock, he found a way to stay involved. The 51-year old St. Catharines, Ontario native serves as Vice President, Alternate Governor, and as an advisor to team President and Governor Brad Watters.
Bartley also served on the National Lacrosse League’s labor committee, and was instrumental in the reaching of a new three-year collective bargaining agreement with the player’s association. “Les has significant experience as a skilled labor negotiator with the United Auto Workers. Les was instrumental in helping us reach an accord with the players’ association. The players hold him in such high regard that his presence at the table elevated the level of trust in the process.”
As the Rock will battle for their fifth league championship, Bartley’s contribution to the team, to the NLL, and to the game of lacrosse is immeasurable. Bartley served as Head Coach and General Manager of the Toronto Rock between 1999 and 2003. He posted a 51-19 regular season record and 9-1 post-season record in five seasons. He also led the team to an awe inspiring 37-5 regular season home record in the same time. Since he began his coaching career in 1991 with the Buffalo Bandits, Bartley has led his teams to eleven Championship games, winning seven League Championships. Four of those seven were with the Rock; back-to-back titles in 1999/2000 and 2002/2003.
Bartley’s continued contribution to the NLL and lacrosse has been an inspiration to many. Thousands of fans from Toronto and across North America have rallied behind him, taking up the cause to raise money for cancer research and awareness. Fans have dubbed the charity “Les’s Fund”, and have raised thousands of dollars for the fight against cancer.
Bartley’s contribution to the NLL and his success as a coach also prompted the league to honor him by naming the annual award given to the league’s top coach as the “Les Bartley Trophy” for the Head Coach of the Year.
Bartley received the highest number of votes for the Executive of the Year Award as voted on by the Governors, General Managers, and Head Coaches of the league’s ten member clubs. The voting for all annual awards took place after the conclusion of the regular season and ended before the start of the Champion’s Cup Playoffs.