Oakville lacrosse star announces retirement after 21 seasons

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Published June 13, 2023 at 3:27 pm

Oakville native and Toronto Rock forward Dan Dawson has called it a career after 21 seasons in the National Lacrosse League. TORONTO ROCK PHOTO

With the need to spend more time with his family and his body telling him enough, Oakville native Dan Dawson has decided to call it a career after 21 outstanding seasons in the National Lacrosse League (NLL).

The three-time NLL champion and future Hall of Famer has decided to hang up his playing gear and move into a new role with the Toronto Rock as the team’s director of player development.

“My time has come to an end, and I couldn’t be more thankful for my time in this league and this game,” said the 41-year-old Dawson. “It’s my body and my family that are telling me I need to be home. I can’t perform at the level I’m accustomed to, and everyone expects from me at my age.

“Given everything that’s going on in my life, my energy and my efforts need to be redirected to the people that have supported me for over 20 years. And that’s the main reason why I’m shutting it down.”

The 41-year-old finishes a record-setting career with his 322 games played the most in NLL history. He finished fourth in all-time NLL scoring with 551 goals and his 954 career assists are also the most in league history.

His 1,505 career points are second to only John Tavares who racked up a league best 1,749 all-time points.

Dawson was the NLL’s MVP in Boston with a 104-point season in 2009 and was named the NLL Cup MVP in Rochester’s 2014 title run.

“The offseason was the first time I thought about (retiring) and then heading into this season I knew it was going to be my last and it just felt right,” added the forward.

Dawson began his NLL career in Columbus after being selected by the team in the sixth round (68th overall) in the 2001 NLL Draft. He would also take the floor with Arizona, Portland, Boston, Philadelphia, Rochester, Saskatchewan, San Diego and finally Toronto over his long career.

He won two championships in Rochester (2013, 2014) and a third title in Saskatchewan (2018).

Dawson’s enthusiasm and knowledge should help in his new role with Toronto.

“The new role is based on everything I wanted as a player throughout my career and didn’t have at my disposal and access to resources,” said Dawson, who can now work with players at Rock’s world-class facility in Oakville.

Dawson is thankful for the support he has received from his family over the years, including his wife and three boys.

“I’m so thankful that this sport has taken me around the world and given me so many valuable life lessons, but more than anything it gave me a sense of purpose,” he said. “I couldn’t imagine a Grade 6 kid from Oakville picking up a stick and then everything that it has given me. I’m forever in debt to the sport of lacrosse for that.”

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