Dawson and Hall Named to Canada’s World Roster

NEWS RELEASE from Canadian Men’s Indoor Lacrosse Team


Dan Dawson and Jordan Hall have been named to Canada’s roster for the 2011 world indoor lacrosse championship.

“Dan is, pound for pound, the strongest offensive player in the sport,” assistant general manager Dr. Don Hedges of New Westminster, B.C., said in making the Team Canada announcement Monday. “He’s a clutch performer who is known for his shot and who is underrated as a passer.

“Jordan’s strengths are speed, athleticism and how well he sees the floor. He’s a good decision maker and team player. ”

Dawson and Hall join the previously selected John Grant Jr., Colin Doyle and Brodie Merrill to spearhead the quest for a third straight global title May 21-18 in Prague.

“Dawson and Hall will mesh very well with the others,” says Hedges. “Doyle can be counted on to score, set picks and find the open man with a pinpoint pass, Grant, who is a wizard with his `sick’ stick skills, is full of heart and Merrill is arguably the most effective defender in the world.

“All five are strong, natural leaders and consummate team players.”

Dawson, 28, of Oakville, Ont., is captain of the National Lacrosse League’s Boston Blazers and was the NLL’s most valuable player in 2009. In 139 regular-season NLL games, he has 290 goals and 388 assists for 678 points _ 5.5 per game. He’s come a long way since being a sixth-round entry draft pick, 68th overall, by the Columbus Landsharks in 2001 out of the Jr. A Brampton Excelsiors of the Ontario Lacrosse Association.

“I didn’t start playing lacrosse until I was 11,” he explains when asked to trace his lacrosse background. “I developed late.”

Columbus didn’t know what it had and, thinking back on it, the six-foot-two rightie is thankful.

“It was a great learning experience,” he says. “It gave me the opportunity to learn the game and to understand what it took to succeed at a high level. I only scored three goals my first year but that’s because I mostly played defence. I learned when I got beat by a ball carrier what moves were needed to get around a defenceman and I made use of that when I got a chance to play offence in my second NLL season.”

He was on his way.

“Work ethic and commitment to the game,” he offers when asked how he became an all-pro pick. “I wasn’t satisfied just to be drafted and make a team. I wanted to improve myself and be in the lineup every night.

“I set higher goals every season and I started working with sport-specific trainers. Another thing was never putting my stick down. To play at a high level and to stay there, you need an extreme work ethic in the weight room, an understanding of the game, and a feel for your stick. There’s an equation that equals success for a lacrosse player. And I also had great coaches. You need coaches who believe in you. Bob Hamley was a guy who allowed me to be an offensive player and saw something in me that I didn’t even see in myself. He kind of forced me to be the player I am today. I owe a lot of my success to Bob Hamley.”

Dawson’s first three NLL teams, Columbus, Arizona and Portland, moved or folded and he intends to cut that string in Boston where he’s helping the Blazers become contenders. He’ll concentrate on that task from his Jan. 8 season opener until the May playoffs and then switch his thoughts to the trip to the Czech Republic to wear Canada’s colours. Dawson, Grant, Doyle and Merrill were in Canada’s lineup when it edged the Iroquois Nationals 15-14 in overtime in the last world indoor final in 2007 in Halifax.

“The last world indoor tournament showed how well-rounded the lacrosse world is now,” Dawson says. “Look at the U.S. team and their roster for Prague. That is a very scary team with the talent they have and the Iroquois, of course, have a load of talent. The 2007 final could have gone either way. They have so many great shooters and we know they’ll put together another great team. Australia and England will be good, too.

“If we stay stagnant everybody is not only going to catch up with us but pass us. It’s wonderful that the Canadian Lacrosse Association is continuing to grow the game and that we have a great management group to carry this forward.”

Besides his winter-spring NLL exploits, Dawson has helped teams in Brampton and Victoria win the CLA’s senior amateur championship during his summers. He also was on Canada’s team that won silver at the 2010 world field lacrosse tournament in Manchester, England.

Hall also played on that team, as did Grant and Merrill.

Hall, 26, of Surrey, B.C., was the No. 1 pick in the 2007 NLL draft out of the University of Delaware and in just three years has forged a reputation as one of the best transition players in the sport. He broke into the pro league with the New York Titans who became the Orlando Titans only to fold last summer and he was grabbed by the Rochester Knighthawks in the ensuing dispersal draft. In 47 regular-season NLL games, he has 65 goals and 159 assists for 224 points _ 4.7 per game.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity to play in Rochester,” he says. “They have a great fan base, solid support. Everybody in the city knows who you are. That’s a change from what I’ve been used to. I’m happy to be playing in a city where fans support lacrosse and are knowledgeable about the sport.”

This will be Hall’s first world indoor tournament.

“I’m honoured to represent Canada,” he says. “I’ve done it in field and, for a guy who grew up playing box lacrosse, I’m happy to get the chance to do it indoors, especially with the other guys who’ll be on this team who are all super-talented. Except for NLL all-star games, I’ve never played indoors with those guys. I’m not exactly sure yet what my role will be but just to play with Junior and Doyle off the left side and maybe transitioning with Brodie, and Dawson is such a super talent, it’ll be an experience to remember.”

Canada’s head coach in Prague will be Ed Comeau, who was Hall’s NLL coach the last two years.

“ Eddie is a great coach,” Hall says. “He’s really relaxed and really smart. Anytime you go up against a team, you know what to expect because he’s very thorough.”

Hall plays for the New Westminster Salmonbellies of the Western Lacrosse Association in the NLL offseason.

“He’s a first-class player,” says ‘Bellies president-GM Dan Richardson. “As good as he is on the playing surface, he’s a  better man off the floor. Our organization and our community are very, very proud of his accomplishments within our club as well as his endeavors on our country’s national teams. He exemplifies professionalism, competitiveness and a willingness to pay the price to win.”

Dawson and Hall are two of the sport’s class acts, adds Hedges, and were obvious picks to represent Canada.

Team Canada executive director Dean French and GM Johnny Mouradian will be announcing more players in the coming weeks. The final roster will be filled with players who have expressed a desire to play for Canada and who’ll showcase their talents during the NLL season.

Neil Stevens is Team Canada media contact at loose47@live.com

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