Toronto Rock: Wikis


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Toronto Rock
Toronto Rock logo.svg
Division Eastern
Founded 1998
Home Arena Air Canada Centre
Based in Toronto, Ontario
Colors Blue, Red, Gold, Black
Head Coach Troy Cordingley
General manager Terry Sanderson
Owner Jamie Dawick
Local media TSN2
Toronto Sun
Championships 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005
Division Championships 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
Formerly Ontario Raiders

The Toronto Rock are a lacrosse team in the National Lacrosse League (NLL). They play at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario. The Rock of the late 1990s / early 2000s has been called a dynasty, having won five NLL championships in seven years. From 1999 to 2003, the Rock appeared in an NLL-record five straight championship games. In ten seasons, they have an 11-4 record in playoff games.

The Rock play their home games at the Air Canada Centre, which they currently share with both the Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL and the Toronto Raptors of the NBA.


Ontario Raiders

The franchise was originally founded as an NLL expansion team for Hamilton, Ontario to begin play in the 1998 season. They were known as the Ontario Raiders, and played their home games at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton during their first year. Former Buffalo Bandits coach Les Bartley was hired to coach the new team, and he lured former Bandit Jim Veltman to join him, becoming the Raiders' captain. The Raiders finished a respectable 6-6, barely missing the playoffs.

At the conclusion of the season the team was sold to a group of investors led by Bill Watters, then the Assistant GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL, and relocated to Toronto.[1] They were subsequently renamed the "Toronto Rock", and began play at Maple Leaf Gardens in the 1999 season.


Fight against Calgary Roughnecks

In 1999, their first year in Toronto, the Rock won their first NLL Championship, defeating the Rochester Knighthawks 13-10 in Toronto. The next year, the Rock became the first team since the 1994-95 Wings to win back-to-back championships, once again defeating the Knighthawks. That game featured Kaleb Toth's dramatic game-winning goal with a second left on the clock, in the last-ever professional sporting event held at Maple Leaf Gardens.[2]

Logo from 1999-2002

2001 saw the Rock follow the Leafs to the Air Canada Centre, where they advanced to the championship game once again. But the visiting Philadelphia Wings held the Rock to just eight goals, and won their sixth championship. The next season, the Rock recovered from the championship game loss by finishing first overall for the fourth straight year. They advanced to the championship game once again, but for the first time as the visiting team. The Rock defeated the Albany Attack in Albany 13-12. 2002 was also one of the most productive years for the Rock in terms of awards; in addition to winning the Champion's Cup, three players were honoured by the league. Blaine Manning was named Rookie of the Year, Pat Coyle was named Defensive Player of the Year, and captain Jim Veltman was given the Sportsmanship Award.

In 2003, Toronto advanced to the championship game for the fifth straight year, once again as the visitors. The game was held in Rochester, where Rock had never won a game, but they prevailed in the lowest-scoring championship game in NLL history, winning 8-6.[3]

Shortly before the 2004 season began, head coach and GM Les Bartley announced that he was fighting colon cancer, and was stepping down. Assistant coaches Ed Comeau and Derek Keenan were named interim coach and interim GM respectively. After a 2-4 start to the season, Comeau and Keenan were fired, and the Rock hired Terry Sanderson to try to turn the team around.[4] The Rock went 8-2 the rest of the season, earning a first round bye after clinching the East Division regular season crown. However, the Buffalo Bandits came to town and upset the Rock 19-10, sending the Bandits to the first NLL championship game not featuring the Rock since 1998. Jim Veltman was again honoured by the league, this time being named league MVP. This was the first year in the 10 year history of the award that it did not go to Gary Gait, Paul Gait, or John Tavares.

In 2005, the Rock defeated the Rochester Knighthawks in the East Division Final by a score of 12-10 in front of approximately 17,200 fans at the Air Canada Centre. The Rock went on to defeat the Arizona Sting with a 19-13 win in front of an NLL record crowd of 19,432, becoming NLL champions for the fifth time in seven years and solidifying their distinction as an NLL dynasty.[5] Colin Doyle was named league MVP, the second straight year that the award was won by a Rock player.

Despite the championship, the season ended on a sad note for the Rock franchise, as Les Bartley died of cancer at the age of 51 the day after the championship game. Bartley is remembered as an exceptional coach, having led the Toronto Rock to NLL Championships in 1999, 2000, 2002, and 2003.[6][7]

In 2004, the NLL Coach of the Year Award was renamed the Les Bartley Award in honour of Bartley.

In 2007, the Toronto Rock established an award also called the Les Bartley Award, given to "the Rock player that best exemplifies Les' emphasis on the importance of character and commitment to the team".[8] The first winner of this award was team captain Jim Veltman.

The Kloepfer era

From 1999 to 2005, the Rock finished either first overall or first in their division every year, winning five championships. The next few years, however, would bring the franchise back down to Earth. The Rock struggled during the early part of the 2006 season; however, their record balanced out to 8-8 at season's end. They made the playoffs, only to be defeated by the first place Knighthawks at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester by a score of 16-8. Head coach and GM Terry Sanderson was fired after the season,[9] and was replaced by new Director of Lacrosse Operations Mike Kloepfer and new head coach Glenn Clark.[10] Clark had played eight seasons with the Rock and had just finished an All-Star season as a member of the Philadelphia Wings, but retired from playing to take the head coaching job with his old club.

Logo from 2003-2005

Kloepfer made his mark on the team quickly, trading perennial All-Star, former Rookie of the Year and league MVP Colin Doyle to the San Jose Stealth along with Darren Halls and a draft pick for first overall draft pick Ryan Benesch, Kevin Fines, Chad Thompson and two draft picks.[11] Benesch had a very good rookie year, scoring 33 goals and winning the Rookie of the Year award,[12] but the Rock under rookie coach Clark struggled to a worst-ever 6-10 record, barely making the playoffs. They lost the division semifinal against Rochester, who would go on to win their first championship since 1997.

Toronto's struggles continued in 2008, as the Rock lost their last five games of the season. They finished below .500 for the second straight year, and for the first time since their move to Toronto in 1999, the Rock finished out of the playoffs. Despite the losing season, goaltender Bob Watson was named Goaltender of the Year. 2008 also featured the final season of the only captain the Rock franchise had ever had, Jim Veltman. Veltman retired after fifteen seasons in the NLL, winning seven championships (two with the Bandits and five with the Rock). Chris Driscoll was named the new Rock captain.[13]

After starting the 2009 season with a 1-2 record, the Rock relieved Clark and assistant coach Veltman and Terry Bullen of their coaching duties, and hired former Chicago and Colorado coach Jamie Batley as the new Rock head coach. Clark and Bullen were fired, and Veltman was retained in an advisory position.[14] The coaching change was not enough to propel the Rock back into the playoffs, however. They finished last in the East and out of the playoffs for the second straight year. Director of Lacrosse Operations Mike Kloepfer resigned shortly after the season ended.[15]


On June 10, 2009, the Rock announced that former GM and coach Terry Sanderson had been brought back as the new GM.[16] Jamie Batley was also told by the Rock that he would not be returning as head coach,[17]. At the end of the month, the league announced that the Rock had been sold to Oakville-based businessman James Dawick. Two weeks later, former Calgary Roughnecks head coach Troy Cordingley was named as the new coach,[18], giving the Rock an entirely new staff from ownership on down.

Sanderson wasted no time in the rebuilding efforts, most notably re-acquiring Colin Doyle from Washington in exchange for Lewis Ratcliff, Tyler Codron and Joel Dalgarno.[19] He also traded Luke Wiles to Washington and Bill McGlone to Philadelphia, and re-acquiring former Rock defender Sandy Chapman from Rochester.[20] He then traded team captain Chris Driscoll to the Buffalo Bandits for another former Rock defender Phil Sanderson[21], and acquired Mike Hominuck from Edmonton[22] and Pat McCready from Buffalo,[23] both for draft picks.

Awards and honours

Year Player Award
1999 Colin Doyle Champion's Cup MVP
2000 Dan Stroup Champion's Cup MVP
2001 Bob Watson Goaltender of the Year
2002 Blaine Manning Rookie of the Year
Pat Coyle Defensive Player of the Year
Jim Veltman Sportsmanship Award
Colin Doyle Champion's Cup MVP
2003 Chris Driscoll Sportsmanship Award
Bob Watson Champion's Cup MVP
2004 Jim Veltman Most Valuable Player
2005 Colin Doyle Most Valuable Player
Les Bartley Executive of the Year
Colin Doyle Champion's Cup MVP
2007 Ryan Benesch Rookie of the Year[24]
2008 Bob Watson Goaltender of the Year[25]


Toronto Rock roster
Active (23-man) roster Inactive roster Coaches


Practice Squad
  •  1 Canada Joel Weber
  • 20 Canada Mike MacLeod
  • 47 Canada Geoff McNulty
Head Coach
  • Troy Cordingley

Assistant Coaches

  • Terry Sanderson
  • John Lovell
  • Matt Sawyer

  • * Suspended list
  • (C) Captain
  • (A) Alternate captain

Roster updated 2009-12-24
NLL Transactions

All-time record

Season Division W L Finish Home Road GF GA coach Playoffs
1999   9 3 1st 6-0 3-3 157 139 Les Bartley Won Championship
2000   9 3 1st 5-1 4-2 162 130 Les Bartley Won Championship
2001   11 3 1st 6-1 5-2 168 125 Les Bartley Lost Championship
2002 Northern 11 5 1st 8-0 3-5 223 176 Les Bartley Won Championship
2003 Northern 11 5 1st 6-2 5-3 195 164 Les Bartley Won Championship
2004 Eastern 10 6 1st 5-3 5-3 202 176 Ed Comeau (interim),
Terry Sanderson
Lost in division finals
2005 Eastern 12 4 1st 6-2 6-2 227 190 Terry Sanderson Won Championship
2006 Eastern 8 8 3rd 5-3 3-5 182 179 Terry Sanderson Lost in division semifinals
2007 Eastern 6 10 4th 3-5 3-5 187 183 Glenn Clark Lost in division semifinals
2008 Eastern 7 9 6th 4-5 3-4 172 174 Glenn Clark Missed playoffs
2009 Eastern 6 10 6th 3-5 3-5 194 218 Glenn Clark
Jamie Batley
Missed playoffs
Total 11 seasons 100 66   57-27 43-39 2,069 1,854    
Playoff Totals   11 4   9-3 2-1 175 161    

Playoff results

Season Game Visiting Home
1999 Semifinals Philadelphia 2 Toronto 13
Championship Rochester 10 Toronto 13
2000 Semifinals Philadelphia 10 Toronto 14
Championships Rochester 13 Toronto 14
2001 Semifinals Washington 9 Toronto 10
Championship Philadelphia 9 Toronto 8
2002 Semifinals Washington 11 Toronto 12
Championship Toronto 13 Albany 12
2003 Semifinals Colorado 11 Toronto 15
Championship Toronto 8 Rochester 6
2004 Division Finals Buffalo 19 Toronto 10
2005 Division Finals Rochester 10 Toronto 12
Championship Arizona 13 Toronto 19
2006 Division Semifinals Toronto 8 Rochester 16
2007 Division Semifinals Toronto 6 Rochester 10

Head coaching history

# Name Term Regular Season Playoffs
 1  Les Bartley 19992003 70 51 19 .729 10 9 1 .900
2 Ed Comeau 2004 6 2 4 .333
3 Terry Sanderson 20042006 42 28 14 .667 4 2 2 .500
4 Glenn Clark 20072009 31 12 19 .387 1 0 1 .000
5 Terry Bullen † 2008 4 2 2 .500
6 Jamie Batley 2009 13 5 8 .385 0 0 0

Bullen served as head coach during Clark's suspension.


  1. ^ Fuller, Dave (September 15, 1998). "Watters' group brings lacrosse to the Gardens". The Outsider's Guide to the NLL. Retrieved 2009-01-20. 
  2. ^ Koreen, Mike (May 6, 2000). "Rock win title on last-second shot by Toth". The Outsider's Guide to the NLL. Retrieved 2009-01-20. 
  3. ^ Philly, R.A. (May 3, 2003). "Rock wins fourth title in 8-6 defense-athon". The Outsider's Guide to the NLL. Retrieved 2009-01-20. 
  4. ^ "Rock appoint Sanderson as coach & GM". February 17, 2004. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  5. ^ "Toronto wins Edge NLL Championship game, 19-13". May 14, 2005. Retrieved 2009-01-20. 
  6. ^ Philly, R.A. (May 15, 2005). "Les Bartley, 51, loses battle with cancer". The Outsider's Guide to the NLL. Retrieved 2009-01-20. 
  7. ^ "Remembering Les". May 16, 2005. Retrieved 2009-01-20. 
  8. ^ "Rock Establish Award in Bartley's Honor". March 29, 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-14. 
  9. ^ "Rock Search for New Head Coach". May 9, 2006. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  10. ^ "Rock Completes Coaching & Operations Staff". May 23, 2006. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  11. ^ "Colossal Trade as Season Nears". December 27, 2006. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  12. ^ "Benesch Named Rookie of the Year". May 8, 2007. Retrieved 2009-01-20. 
  13. ^ "Rock announce Chris Driscoll as new captain". Toronto Rock web site. November 6, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-20. 
  14. ^ "Toronto Rock hire new coaching staff". January 20, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-20. 
  15. ^ "Breaking News: Toronto Rock Director of Lacrosse Operations Mike Kloepfer resigns". NLL Insider. April 29, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-29. 
  16. ^ "Sanderson Leaves Roughnecks To Become GM Of Rock". TSN. June 10, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-11. 
  17. ^ Davies, Mike (June 11, 2009). "Batley won't be back with the Rock". Peterborough Examiner. Retrieved 2009-06-11. 
  18. ^ "Rock Name Cordingley Head Coach". July 14, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Busy Day on Trading Front". July 7, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  21. ^ "Rock and Bandits Swap Driscoll, Sanderson". July 31, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  22. ^ "Hominuck Heads to Toronto". July 27, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  23. ^ "McCready Heading to Rock For Draft Picks". August 4, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  24. ^ "Benesch Named Rookie of the Year". May 8, 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-08. 
  25. ^ "Watson Named US Navy Goalie of the Year". May 7, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 

See also

External links

Preceded by
Philadelphia Wings
National Lacrosse League Champions
Succeeded by
Philadelphia Wings
Preceded by
Philadelphia Wings
National Lacrosse League Champions
Succeeded by
Calgary Roughnecks
Preceded by
Calgary Roughnecks
National Lacrosse League Champions
Succeeded by
Colorado Mammoth


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