Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Oakville Rock name Phil Sanderson and Blaine Manning coaches

by Stephen Stamp

Major  Series Lacrosse’s Oakville Rock continue to build a resemblance to the Toronto Rock, out of whose training facility they will be playing their home games when the team begins the 2013 after transferring from Ajax. Terry Sanderson, who is the General Manager of both teams, has told IL Indoor that he has added Phil Sanderson as Oakville’s Head Coach and Blaine Manning as an assistant. Phil Sanderson retired from the Toronto Rock this year and Manning is still a forward with the team, which clinched the National Lacrosse League’s East Division with a win over Rochester yesterday.

Terry Sanderson said that while his main focus is still earning another NLL title at the moment, he is working on developing what he says will be an exciting young Oakville team with some players keen to show they deserve to be playing at the game’s highest level.

One position where they are set with a now established NLL starter is in goal. Tye Belanger has the best goals against average and third-best save percentage in the pro league after starting five straight games for the Colorado Mammoth and leading them back into the hunt for an NLL West Division playoff spot.

Oakville also has Connor Danko, whom it selected in this year’s MSL junior draft. Danko is about to head into the playoffs with the Niagara Lock Monsters, for whom he has performed brilliantly since rising from third string to starter partway through the season. Danko is a strong contender for both Rookie of the Year and Goalie of the Year in CLax.

The Rock open their first season in Oakville with a home date against defending league finalist Six Nations Chiefs on May 27 at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre.