With the National Lacrosse League’s announcement that the Hall of Fame would be returning, I decided to throw my ballot into the ring to discuss who I think should get their call to the NLL Hall of Fame.
In part one of this three-part series, I discussed the accolades of three former finalists that make strong cases for induction. For part two of the series, I take a look at three players who will appear on the ballot for the first time and make the case for why they should be locks to make this upcoming NLL Hall of Fame class.
John Grant, Jr.
In the debate of greatest lacrosse player of all time, many bring up the idea that the GOAT should have been one of the best in both the box and field game. Junior checks both of the boxes.
His career statistics speak for themselves. If you gave the NLL record book of current non-hall-of-famers to someone who had never played lacrosse a day in their life and said “pick the best player,” they probably would select John Grant Jr. solely off his name being near the top of every category.
He’s second all-time in a career goals (668) and third in career assists (778). He’s in the top five for both goals and assists per game. Junior also held the record for most points in a game (15) until Mark Steenhuis topped it in 2009 (I’ll get to him in part three of the series).
Drafted first overall in 1999, Junior only played for two franchises during his career: the Rochester Knighthawks (10 seasons) and Colorado Mammoth (seven seasons). His sole championship came in 2007 with the Knighthawks, which saw him bring home playoff MVP honors to go along with his season MVP.
To make sure his Colorado fans didn’t feel left out, he recorded his most points in a season with the Mammoth in 2012 with 116, followed by his second MVP trophy.
The guy played well into his 40s and and still
had has it. He’s unequivocally a first-ballot guy. If you’re reading this, I don’t think you need any convincing. We’ll be seeing his name called when the NLL Hall of Fame committee announces the next class of inductees.
If you gave that same lacrosse novice a second choice to select another Hall of Famer, Colin Doyle would most likely be their guy. Heck, if you also told them his championship totals, they may have picked him first!
To put it succinctly, Doyle is a winner. He won at every stage of his career. He was apart of all six championships that the Toronto Rock have won, including five straight NLL Finals appearances between 1999 and 2003 (as a Wings fan, I wont bring up 2001).
He even helped the Stealth get to the playoffs every year in his short three-season stint in San Jose. During his 19 years in the league, the Rock only had four losing seasons. Three of them were during Doyle’s years with the Stealth.
During that early 2000s run, Doyle was named playoff MVP three times and added a season MVP to boot in 2005. That run by Toronto was the most dominant we’ve seen by a team in league history, and Doyle was a major reason why.
From a statistical stand point, the 1998 NLL Rookie of the Year ranks fourth all-time in career goals (527) and assists (857). He has the total resume, the career everyone hopes to have. He certainly gets in when the next class is announced.
It seems as if teams are always on the eternal search for players that are able to show consistency AND longevity between the pipes. For nearly two decades, any team that Anthony Cosmo suited up for got just that.
The 17-year veteran not only holds the record for most career saves (6,785), but also broke the marks for saves in a season (752) and saves per game in a season (41.78) in 2014 while with the Buffalo Bandits.
Cosmo called it a career after the 2017, only a season after taking the Bandits to the NLL Finals, losing to the back-to-back champion Saskatchewan Rush. Despite hanging up the pads, the 2007 Goaltender of the Year didn’t venture far from the arena, becoming the Bandits goalie coach following retirement.
While Cosmo did not win a championship as a starter (won 2002 and 2003 NLL championships as the back-up to hall of famer Bob Watson in Toronto), his statistics speak for themselves. If you hold the record for most saves in this illustrious league, you deserve the nod.