Saturday, September 10, 2016

Mann Cup 2016: Dawson climbing the career points ladder

Dan Dawson scoring one of his 44 career Mann Cup goals. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
Dan Dawson doesn't like to talk about it, but he's climbing the list of all-time Mann Cup scorers. Friday night, he shot up two places to sit seventh in the storied history of the Canadian national senior championship.

Dawson's 8-point performance leapfrogged him past Josh Sanderson (36 goals, 77 assists, 113 points in 28 games) and Bill Wilson (83/32/115 in 33 games). In his 36th Mann Cup contest, Dawson had 3 goals and 5 assists to push his totals to 44, 72 and 116. Dawson also, with his sixth point of Friday's game, reached the one thousand point plateau for his senior career including regular season, playoffs and Mann Cup games.

When you ask Dawson about it, he will answer your question politely and interestingly, but will shift the focus to the team almost immediately. He is truly humble and uncomfortable talking too much about his own accomplishments.

Those accomplishments just keep on coming, though, with more dead ahead in this year's series. Gary Gait (69/51/120 in 28 games) and Scott Evans (66/55/121 in 36 games) are locked in Dawson's sights. He could pass them both as soon as Saturday night's Game 2 of the 2016 Mann Cup. The length of the series—if Game 1's 15-8 Six Nations Chiefs win was a fair indication of how good each team is, a sweep is almost certain, but expect the Maple Ridge Burrards to be much more competitive as the series goes on—will be a major factor in whether Dawson has a good chance to catch Colin Doyle (61/76/137 in 41 games) for fourth place.

That would leave only absolute all-timers Geordie Dean (67/94/161), John Grant Jr. (76/98/174) and John Tavares (92/111/203) ahead of him.

And while it may seem like Dawson has been around forever because he's been playing at such a consistently high level for so long, he's only 34 years old. Considering that he keeps himself in great shape, there's no reason he couldn't keep playing long enough to have the potential to put himself in the stratosphere when it comes to Mann Cup scoring. After this year's series, he will likely be just one more Mann Cup away from having a real chancd to move to second place.

Dawson's physical gifts—his 6'6” height and enormous strength—are significant assets, but his lacrosse IQ and dedication to the game are just as important to his success. Those latter traits should allow him to continue to produce for several more years if he chooses to keep playing. For those of us who love watching quietly thrilling, intelligent lacrosse, let's hope he makes that choice.