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Rock completes hiring of lacrosse operations staff

TORONTO – The Toronto Rock completed its hiring of lacrosse operations staff on May 23 with the announcement of Mike Kloepfer as the new Director of Lacrosse Operations and Matt Sawyer and Greg Van Sickle as assistant coaches. The trio joins head coach Glenn Clark for the 2007 season.

Kloepfer, 44, is currently the President and General Manager of the Barrie Lakeshores of Major Series Lacrosse. He is also the president of the Barrie Tornado Jr. B lacrosse club and an executive with the Barrie South Simcoe Minor Lacrosse Association.

“It is my privilege to join the Toronto Rock,” said Kloepfer. “I look forward to being part of this great organization as we build towards another NLL Champion’s Cup.”

Clark is confident in Kloepfer’s ability to build the Rock back into a champion.

“He’s a very smart man, and he sees things in a business perspective for both the short and long term,” Clark said. “He’s a good complement to our organization.”

Kloepfer, who is also a partner with the Couchiching Terriers OHA Jr. A hockey club, was born in Jackson’s Point, Ont. Over the past decade, he has been a driving force behind the growth of lacrosse in the Simcoe Region and specifically the City of Barrie. He lives in Gilford, Ont., with his wife Cathy, who is the president of Barrie South Simcoe Minor Lacrosse Association, and has two sons Cory and Brett.

Van Sickle joins Rock, Sawyer to remain on board
Greg Van Sickle and Matt Sawyer will join Glenn Clark as assistant coaches on the Rock bench for the 2007 season.

Sawyer will continue to run the offence, a position he has held since 2004. Van Sickle will run the defensive gate and assist Clark with coaching the Rock’s defense.

“I am both honoured and excited to be joining the coaching staff of the Toronto Rock, and I’d like to thank Brad Watters and Glenn Clark for the opportunity,” Van Sickle said. “This organization, and the city that supports it, expects championships, and rightly so. I have no doubt that the management team, Coach Clark, his staff and this exceptionally talented group of players can meet those expectations.”

Clark said he is optimistic that new bench leadership will give the Rock an opportunity to win another championship.

“Greg’s got a great athletic mind and a unique perspective on the game,” Clark said. “And he’s a bit of a Devil’s Advocate, he’ll force us to think in different ways and challenge us to be the best.”

Van Sickle carries more than 20 years of lacrosse experience including pro time with the Brantford Warriors and Ontario Raiders. He also won a Mann Cup with the Brooklin Redmen in 1990 and a Minto Cup with the Whitby Warriors in 1985. He lives in Pickering with his wife of 11 years, Shelley Van Sickle, and their daughter Sydney, , and son Finlay, 5.

Van Sickle is a senior manager in the PricewaterhouseCooper’s Research and Development tax credit practice.

Meanwhile, Rock fans will see another familiar face back behind the bench with Sawyer, who will continue to manage the Rock’s offence. Sawyer said he is thrilled to be back in 2007.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to come back with Glenn and Greg in 2007,” Sawyer said. “This is a great organization and we hope to bring back another championship for our fans. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Clark is happy to have Sawyer leading a talent-laded offence.

“He brings a lot of new offensive strategies with him and he is in tune with the players,” Clark said. “We’re happy Matt is on board for 2007.”

The 32-year-old Sawyer is currently the head coach of the Orangeville Jr. A Northmen and is widely respected in the lacrosse community for both his coaching and recruiting talent. He was added to the coaching staff to jump-start the Rock’s offense in June, 2004, and has been coaching lacrosse since 1997. Prior to his tenure with the Rock, Sawyer served as an Assistant Coach under Terry Sanderson previously in both Montreal and Ottawa.

Sawyer currently resides in Orangeville with his fiancee April and daughter Talia.

Toronto Rock