He rarely receives the individual accolades some of the more high profile pure defenders in the game get tagged with, but Phil Sanderson has spent most of his eleven year career collecting some other silverware that has him close to filling up both his mitts with some pretty sought after, prestigious hardware that a majority of players never come close to over their playing lifespans.
Two Minto Cups with the Orangeville Northmen. Three Mann Cups with the Brampton Excelsiors after this year’s seven game series thriller win against the New Westminster Salmobellies. And then two pro titles with both the Toronto Rock and Buffalo Bandits.
He may not have won a defender of the year nod since his second to last season of junior ball in ‘97, a Gus McCauley winner with the Horn Heads, but Sanderson, every year, is one of the most consistent, smartest, dependable defenders in the game, a staple in both Darris Kilgour and now Troy Cordingley’s up tempo, constant pressure D that has seen the two coaches take the last two pro titles, Cordingley also winning the last two Mann Cups.
“Phil is an unbelievable leader in the room and on the floor,” said Cordingley, shortly after picking up Sanderson in a deal that saw former Rock captain Chris Driscoll sent to Buffalo. “He is a smart defender that plays the defensive system well that we will be playing this upcoming year. Most importantly, he is a proven winner who has won at every level of lacrosse that he has played in.”
Which now includes pro field ball too, Sanderson fitting into five regular season starts with the MLL champion Toronto Nationals, a gig that also helped him land a spot in Canada’s 30-man roster for 2010’s World Championships in Manchester, England. This from a ball player that hasn’t been on the national field scene since ‘96 when “Flip” suited up for Canada’s U19 team in Japan.
“I’m just a blue-collar guy,’’ said Sanderson after being selected for Canada’s pool of 30. “I go out and work hard and try to chip in offensively, too, if I can. I’m a Steady Eddy kind of guy, just go out and do my job and hopefully help the team win.”
Expect more of the same from Sanderson this winter, playing in a defensive system he’s already shown he can not only play in, but thrive in too, under Cordingley in Toronto this year.
Fact: Sanderson’s first Mann Cup win was, like this year, another epic seven game war, this time against the Victoria Shamrocks at home in Brampton. How many of those Excels remained with this past summer’s Mann winning side? There are a few, Josh Sanderson, Dan Teat, Jon Harasym, and a very young, still junior aged (OLA Jr. A MVP), Dan Dawson, who played a bit during the regular season and playoffs with the Excelsiors. On the other side of the court? Current Brampton and Toronto teammate, Blaine Manning, who had maybe his most outstanding senior season ever playing for the Shamrocks that year.
# (last year)
35 (NR) Phil Sanderson, Toronto Rock
36 (11) Ryan Cousins, Minnesota Swarm
37 (NR) Tyler Codron, Toronto Rock
38 (33) Luke Wiles, Washington Stealth
39 (47) Steve Toll, Rochester Knighthawks
40 (19) Blaine Manning, Toronto Rock
41 (37) Sean Pollock, Minnesota Swarm
42 (NR) Mike Carnegie, Calgary Roughnecks
43 (NR) Scott Stewart, Edmonton Rush
44 (NR) Kaleb Toth, Calgary Roughnecks
45 (NR) Matt Disher, Edmonton Rush
46 (23) Ryan Ward, Edmonton Rush
47 (NR) Kyle Ross, Boston Blazers
48 (NR) Matt King, Calgary Roughnecks
49 (NR) Mac Allen, Rochester Knighthawks
50 (NR) Nick Inch, Minnesota Swarm
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