It has been a busy day in the National Lacrosse League, with one unexpected announcement and one bit of business left over from last season.
The surprise was that John Grant Jr. announced his retirement from the Colorado Mammoth. Grant, 42, ranks as one of the greatest players in the history of lacrosse. He won two trophies as the league's Most Valuable Player, and was a nine-time All-Pro selection. He trails only ex-Buffalo Bandit John Tavares in goals (668) and points (1,446). For the Mammoth, Grant needed six-plus seasons to become the team's all-time leader in goals (235). The forward was known throughout his career as one of the best stickhandlers in the sport.
"I love my family, and I love lacrosse,” Grant said. “The game has given so much to me. It’s bittersweet to accept that my playing career is over, but I can retire knowing that I’ve given the sport and the people who support it everything I had. Thank you to the Rochester Knighthawks for drafting me, and to the Colorado Mammoth for keeping me in the game into my forties. I’m unbelievably lucky and eternally grateful for having the chance to live out my dream as a professional lacrosse player.”
The Buffalo Bandits drafted Grant in 1995 in the third round, but could not sign him to a contract.
Meanwhile, the league announced its All-Pro teams and All-Rookie team. The Georgia Swarm, the league champ, had four players on the two All-Pro teams. Ex-Bandit Jay Thorimbert of New England was a second team selection. No Buffalo players were selected.
First team: Lyle Thompson, Georgia; Mark Matthews, Saskatchewan; Corey Small, Vancouver; Jason Noble, Georgia; Dillon Ward, Colorado.
Second team: Curtis Dickson, Calgary; Kevin Crowley, New England; Shayne Jackson, Georgia; Graeme Hossack, Rochester; Thorimbert, New England; Mike Poulin, Georgia.
All-Rookie team: Tom Schreiber, Toronto; Kyle Jackson, Rochester; Josh Currier, Rochester; Latrell Hallis, Toronto; Mike Messenger, Saskatchewan; Joel Coyle, New England.