Toronto – Toronto Rock assistant coach Matt Sawyer has accepted the position of head coach with the Boston Blazers effective today.
As compensation, the Rock receive a total of three 2nd round entry draft selections from Boston. The first two will fall in the 2011 draft. One being Boston’s own pick and the other being a pick Boston acquired from Minnesota. The third draft pick is Boston’s 2nd round pick in 2012.
The Boston job became available last week when the Blazers fired Tom Ryan who had been the only head coach in the franchise’s two-season existence.
Losing a piece of the coaching staff at this point in the season is never easy, but the move to a division rival can make things even more difficult.
“There’s only 10 head coaching jobs in this league and we would never stand in anyone’s way,” expressed Rock President and Owner Jamie Dawick. “Matt was a valuable asset to this franchise and was a big part of our four man staff. He did a lot behind the scenes and I never undervalued his contributions. It’s bittersweet to see him go.”
Sawyer joined the Rock prior to the 2010 season along with GM Terry Sanderson, head coach Troy Cordingley and fellow assistant coach John Lovell.
This wasn’t Sawyer’s first go around with the Rock as he was the offensive coach with the 2005 Toronto Rock club that won the Champion’s Cup.
Sawyer had also previously served as an assistant coach with Ottawa and Montreal as well as being a scout with the Philadelphia.
“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity I had in Toronto, and would like to thank Terry (Sanderson) and Jamie (Dawick) for their support with exploring this opportunity,” said Sawyer.
“It was difficult to leave Toronto, everyone there has been so good to me and my family,” Sawyer explained. “There’s a lot of good people in the organization from the top on down.”
Rock GM Terry Sanderson says the club is currently undecided on whether or not they will add another assistant coach.
“It’s never a good time, but after talking to Jamie (Dawick), we didn’t want to stand in the way of this opportunity,” said Rock GM Terry Sanderson. “It’s not our first choice, but Matt has been very loyal to us, so we stepped aside in order for him to pursue this position.”
The Rock GM and Sawyer have worked together with several different lacrosse clubs over the years, which put a unique spin on things.
“I’m very pleased from the standpoint of our friendship and loyalties to each other that Matt is getting this opportunity,” Sanderson said. “However, facing Boston just got a lot more difficult.”
Toronto and Boston will meet on Friday, January 21st at Air Canada Centre for the first of two regular season meetings between the two East Division foes. The return matchup in Boston will take place February 5th.
For tickets or more information log on to www.torontorock.com or call 416-596-3075.