April 6, 2009

Gait Unretires, Signs with Toronto Nationals

from press release

TORONTO - Toronto Nationals Lacrosse announced today the signing of professional lacrosse player Gary Gait to the roster for the upcoming 2009 Major League Lacrosse Season beginning this May.

"Gary Gait is quite simply the best player to ever play the game and is a true ambassador for the sport of Lacrosse," said Stuart Brown, President and General Manager of Toronto Nationals Lacrosse. "By signing Gary Gait we have added one of the most respected people in the industry to our organization." Gait broke ground for Canadian lacrosse players in the NCAA when he and his brother Paul attended Syracuse University in 1987. His four year term boasted a 51-5 record, including three national titles, and two undefeated seasons in 1989 and 1990. 

Gait joined Major League Lacrosse in 2001, its premiere season, as a member of the Long Island Lizards leading the league in goals, points and hat tricks. 

For the 2002 season, Gait was traded to the Baltimore Bayhawks where he would remain until his retirement in 2005. At the helm of the team as both player and coach, Gait led the Bayhawks to the League Championship Game to win the Steinfeld Cup in both 2002 and 2005. 

In his final year, Gait was named the 2005 MLL Playoff Bud Light MVP and shared the League Bud Light MVP award with Mark Million of the Boston Cannons. 

After five seasons in the MLL, Gait played in 61 games picking up 133 ground balls and collecting 222 points from 159 goals, one two-point goal, and 62 assists. 

"Gary is a fan favorite everywhere he goes, not only because he is a talented player, but because he engages the fans and his teammates," adds Brown. "We are excited for what Gary will bring to the field every night and know he'll be a key leader in our dressing room." During his 15-year National Lacrosse League career, Gait scored 596 goals and tallied 495 assists for an astounding 1,091 career points. He retired in 2005 as the NLL's all-time leader in goals and points. After playing his final three seasons in Colorado, he became the team's head coach in 2006 leading the Mammoth to a Champion's Cup victory that year. 

In 2006, he was inducted into the NLL Hall of Fame as one of the Hall's five founding members and in October 2008 announced his return to the League as a player with the Rochester Knighthawks for the 2009 NLL season.

Gary Gait returns to professional field lacrosse after a three-season hiatus wearing the black, red and purple of Toronto Nationals Lacrosse.  

Head Coach Dave Huntley is looking forward to working with Gait this season. 

"I am glad the league and Stuart were able to make this happen as Gary's presence will be great for our league, our team and our fans" Huntley said.

Roster players will report to training camp for the Toronto Nationals early May before they hit the road for their season opener on May 15 against the Washington Bayhawks.

"We will have a lot of players that are new to the MLL on the Toronto Nationals. Gary's vast experience in the MLL as a player and a coach should help us make the transition to the MLL smoother for our new guys," Huntley added.     


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