|John Grant Jr will not be playing for Peterborough this summer. |
(Photo: Tim Prothero)
John Grant Jr. has made one of the toughest decisions of his lacrosse life and will not be playing with the Century 21 Lakers as he steps away for an excellent opportunity in his new home of Denver, Colorado.
‘Junior’ as he has become known to so many in Peterborough is one of the best box and field lacrosse players in the world. He has been playing lacrosse for a Lakers’ team in his native Peterborough since
he was five years old but the 40 year old has accepted a full time coaching position at a local private high school, Valor Christian High School, where he will be in charge of the lacrosse program.
“I’m devastated that I won’t be playing for the Lakers this season. I’ve stayed in touch through my Dad and the internet and the changes in the executive and coaching staff have been incredible. I have
nothing but respect for all of these people. I’ve won a championship with that coaching staff in the NLL and several with Tracey and grew up on Hamilton Street with Paul Day so I would have really liked to have been part of that team. But I had to look at the long term and what was best for my family. They have sacrificed a lot for me and this is too good of an opportunity. Denver is our home now. My wife Raygen has started her real estate career and our daughter (five-year- old Gabby) is going into kingergarten. I really am devastated not to be a Laker, I know they will do well.”
Lakers president Ted Higgins has known John all of his life and realizes how valuable he has been for the Lakers and how difficult the decision must have been. “The Lakers organization is so proud of John and all that he has made of his lacrosse career. We thank him for his considerable and valuable
services throughout his wonderful career as a Laker,” said Higgins. “He and Tracey Kelusky were the backbone of our rebuilding years ago. He’s one of the best players to ever put on a Lakers’ uniform.”
Grant has given plenty of his time to the Lakers even while living in Denver making flights back and forth to help the team. In fact the traveling has been very difficult. He has been going back and forth
from Denver for five years and before that another five years driving from Rochester to play for his hometown team which was not only hard on him but also his family. But he says he wouldn’t have done it for any other city. “Getting to play and visit each summer in the ‘boro’ was the best. I love that place.”
Grant will continue to play professional field lacrosse for the Denver Outlaws who are in mid season and the NLL box lacrosse team Colorado Mammoth in January.
"John Grant has been synonymous with the Lakers organization since he was a child and grew into one of the world's superstars of lacrosse,” said Lakers’ GM Paul Day who coached him in Rochester for the NLL and on Team Canada.
“He's a Peterborough boy who made us all proud and helped the Lakers to so many Mann Cup victories. Nobody can replace him, but we certainly understand this move for his family and future. I was lucky enough to coach him. I watched a lot of great players in Peterborough and in my opinion he was the best. I know there would be a lot of debate about that, but he could do it all and did it all. From flying across North America to compete for the Lakers, playing in two Leagues every summer and taking a brutal beating; he gave it all and he doesn't owe the Lakers or Peterborough anything, that’s for sure.”
“I am disappointed he won't be playing for us, however, the chance to start a career coaching and living and playing in Denver is the best for himself and his family.”
Grant who wore #24 has held numerous records in the NLL and MSL. He starred for Peterborough’s junior teams from 1990 to 1995 joining the senior Lakers full time in 1996 accumulating an incredible 422 goals, 438 assists for 869 points in only 179 regular season games. In 1996 he was the Ontario Lacrosse Association’s rookie of the year and four years later was its MVP. He won five Mann Cups while with Peterborough and was named MVP in two of those series.
In 169 playoff games for his home team he scored 337 goals and 388 assists for 725 points and is considered one of the best players to ever perform for the Lakers. He has become a human highlight reel for sports networks and his YouTube trick shots have been a hit for the
last few years.
The Lakers hope to hold a John Grant Jr. night during this year’s regular season.