Lacrosse history is filled with a long list of players who played this game with unmatched heart and skill. These are the smooth Attackmen, the thoroughbred Midfielders, the tough as nails Defensemen, and the fearless Goalies who revolutionized their positions. With traditional sticks and bulky gloves they paved the way for how the game is now played. Today’s lacrosse players may have never seen some of these tremendous players in action. It is our goal to honor them by giving them the spotlight they deserve. These are the Legends of the sport of lacrosse.
PART ONE: DEFENSEMEN
These guys were difference makers on the defensive end of the field and all had the ability to change the outcome of the game. Their athleticism, competitiveness, knowledge, work ethic, toughness, and defensive skills carried them to the top of the game. We have mad respect for these legendary defensemen!
These are the Defensemen who we see as the Legends of their position.
Ryan Curtis was a player that demanded your respect. You knew if you were going to draw a match up against #6 that you better bring your lunch pail to work and be ready for a long and challenging day at the office. Tough, mean, athletic, and absolutely came ready to play in every game. A 2x First Team All-American, Defenseman of the Year, National Champion, 5x Major League Lacrosse All-Star, MLL Defensive Player of the Year, and a Team USA member in 2006. Powell Lacrosse would like to salute Ryan for his play on the defensive end of the field. He continues to be a great ambassador and coach for our amazing sport!
John Gagliardi was a threat on both sides of the field with his crushing checks and his ability to score in transition. Gagliardi wreaked havoc on opposing players while at Johns Hopkins before going on to have a great career in both the NLL and MLL. He played in the 2000 MLL Summer Showcase and would go on to play for the Long Island Lizards from 2001-2009. A 2x All-American, 2x MLL Champion, 7x MLL All-Star, All-World Defenseman for Team USA, and an all around tough as nails player. He loved pushing the ball on fast breaks and had the skills to beat you from the 2pt line or inside with a fancy finish.
Shawn Nadelen was one of the best defenders in pro lacrosse for almost a decade. He became a dominant defenseman at Johns Hopkins after converting from playing short stick. His athleticism allowed him to continue to switch between playing d-mid and long pole in the pros as he went on to win 3 MLL Championships with the Bayhawks while also having a great NLL career. He had ACL surgery less than 6 months before the 2010 World Games and battled his way back to help Team USA win the Gold. He would also win the 2010 MLL Championship a month later. An All-American, MLL-All Star, 2x Team USA member, a great leader, amazing teammate, and a true warrior of the sport, it’s no surprise that he is now one of the best coaches in the college game at Towson.
Jamie Hanford was an all around force on the field and was assigned to defend the opponent’s best player. He never came off the field taking face-offs, playing defense, picking up GB’s, and had the skill to push the ball in transition. He played the game with a flair – he wasn’t cocky, but rather convinced that every time he stepped on the field he was going to use 100% of his elite skills to have a major impact on the game. “Man Cub” dictated the pace of play by always bringing it to the ball carrier. The Swiss Army knife could beat you at the face-off X, strip you, knock you down, and take it coast-to-coast. Powell Lacrosse would like to salute the Darien, Connecticut product, Loyola Greyhound, and long time professional player in both Major League Lacrosse and the National Lacrosse League. Mad respect to you #5!
Kyle Sweeney is one of the greatest Long Stick Midfielders ever. Sweeney dominated at Georgetown and made the transition to pro lacrosse right away with his versatile skill set. He could shutdown a team’s best middie and then outscore them. He terrorized offensive players with his takeaway checks and vacuumed up every ground ball in sight. He felt as comfortable behind the net as an attackman and shot the lights out in transition. Sweeney is a 3x All-American, 4x MLL Champion, 7x MLL All-Star, 2x Team USA Member (2010 World Champion), and played 307 career pro lacrosse games between the MLL & NLL. He was a mentor to a generation of LSMs including fellow Hoya legend Brodie Merrill. A one of a kind player and person, we have so much respect for #7.
Pat McCabe is always on the short list when you ask someone to name the top defensemen of all time. He had an incredible career; 4x All-Amercian, Defensemen of the Year, 3x National Champion, 3x Team USA member and a member of the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Pat had uncanny awareness, was an unreal ground baller, silky smooth, a winner, a leader and made the defense position look sexy. He is one of the most respected players in our sport. You can’t find a more humble super star in our game.
Hailing from the Onondaga Nation in Upstate, NY, Marshall Abrams was dominant on the defensive end of the field. A High School All-American, 3x NCAA All-American, Defensemen of the Year, National Champion and 2x member of the Iroquois National Team. The 2000 Syracuse Lacrosse captain was physical, tough, athletic, fast, smart, great with his stick (handling the rock, taking the ball away, picking up gb’s) and overall fundamentally sound. #43 was a great teammate, always played the game fair, had fun competing, and you could always understand how passionate he was about the sport. As a boy growing up on the Onondaga Nation, he could see the dome that he would later grow up to star in.
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