While Josh Sanderson looks like a wizard working his magic on assists and goals with the Toronto Rock, he’s actually a simple guy whose life consists of three things: his family, his job and lacrosse. The three are interwoven, as Josh plays on a team coached by his father (Terry Sanderson) and works with his family during the week as well.
The Toronto-area native fulfilled a career goal last season, as he won his first NLL championship. “Last year was great to say the least,” said Sanderson. “A good group of guys on this team, and winning made everything turn out perfect.”
After playing with San Jose in 2004, Josh came to the Rock in the blockbuster trade of the off-season. Despite having the credentials to be a leader, he was coming to a team that was already deep in guys that could set the tone. “I just had to come and play, the team just had so many veteran leaders already. I just had to concentrate on coming and playing,” said Sanderson. “I truly believe (Rock team captain) Jim Veltman is the best captain in the league.”
Sanderson is considered by many as the best set-up man in the game. Sanderson set an all-time single season assists record with 71 helpers in 2005, breaking his own mark of 68 set in 2002.
After eight seasons in the NLL Sanderson is seventh on the all-time leaders list with 326 career assists. The 28-year-old has racked up 500 points (174g, 326 a) in 97 regular season games and has also proved to be a clutch performer in the playoffs tallying 32 points (14g, 18a) in just five postseason games played. Last season with the Rock, the Orangeville-native eclipsed the 100-point mark for the second time in his career totaling 102 points on 31 goals and 71 assists.
En route to his first ever championship last season, Sanderson scored 11 points (5g, 6a) in the 2005 playoffs including seven in the 2005 Championship Game (3g, 4a). Sanderson comments on taking the floor with Rock players for the first time during the team’s training camp last season.
“I expected the team to have a lot of confidence, be really prepared, and I was not disappointed,” he said. “Everyone knew the task at hand.” While Sanderson, Colin Doyle and Blaine Manning put up the big numbers last season, Josh is quick to mention the other forwards coming out of the front door.
“We had to work as a five man unit”, said Sanderson. “Guys like Rusty Kruger, Matt Shearer and Aaron Wilson should get more credit. Shearer can shoot from outside Wilson has a better inside shot. Sometimes it’s even a guy like Timmy O’Brien setting a pick for somebody to make it all work.”
Away from lacrosse, Josh and wife Lindsay have a son (Cameron, 18 months) and are expecting their second child in February. The family lives in Orangeville, a suburb of Toronto.
Sanderson is never truly away from lacrosse. In addition to playing for his father (Rock head coach Terry Sanderson), Josh is one of the family members who works for Terry at Source for Sports, a sporting goods store in Orangeville. Between Terry, Josh and Phil Sanderson (Josh’s cousin, plays for Toronto as well), lacrosse is always a hot topic at the store, among family and customers alike.
Now entering his ninth pro season and seventh as an every game player, Sanderson has seemingly found it all. He plays for his hometown team and is fresh off his first career championship.
“We want to do it again in 2006,” stated Sanderson.