ILIndoor Top 40: Sandy Chapman #31

After 11 NLL seasons, Sandy Chapman, right, of the Toronto Rock continues to be a defensive stalwart. (Photo: Toronto Rock)
After 11 NLL seasons, Sandy Chapman, right, of the Toronto Rock continues to be a defensive stalwart. (Photo: Toronto Rock)

He’s not supposed to be doing this stuff, is he? Sandy Chapman is 11 seasons into his National Lacrosse League career and he just keeps getting better and better. Thing is, he was pretty good to begin with. And for as much as he’s excelled in the back end for the Toronto Rock, Chapman has even added a new element to his game: faceoffs. He didn’t take any his first 8 NLL seasons but has been at the dot 80 times over the last 2 seasons, including 31 last winter. He won just 35% but it’s more than that. It’s an example of the team spirit that fuels this veteran, and his willingness to do whatever it takes to help his team win.

So maybe he’s not going to be mistaken for any of the Snider boys when it comes to faceoffs. But when it comes to his specialty, defense, there’s no doubt that Chapman remains among the elite. Last winter’s team-leading 83 loose balls is just 1 indicator of the hustle and grit he provides, the 11 forced turnovers was among the team leaders, and his 11 points (2 goals, 9 assists) is simply an offensive bonus.

But as we know, stats for defenders are hard to come by. Which is why the most impressive part of Chapman’s game isn’t so much the stats as it’s how much time he’s on the floor. When you’re one of the team’s best at what you do, you want to be available for service and Chapman is just that, spending just 10 minutes in the box in 16 regular season games. It’s a career trend for Chapman, who in his 11 seasons has accumulated 20 or more PIMs in just 3 seasons. In addition, he hasn’t missed a game in the regular season since 2007, playing in every game the last 5 seasons.

It’s the same deal for summer ball, where Chapman helps form the solid corps of defense for which the Brampton Excelsiors are known. He played just 9 games this summer as the Excelsiors struggled a bit and for the first time since 1995, the Excels were not part of the MSL finals. It all depends on who you ask as to why Brampton failed to advance, but we’d bet a ham sandwich no one would be pointing a finger at Chapman.

Yeah, it’s a team game and sometimes your team is good, great or bad. But at the individual level, Chapman has displayed a steady game with solid fundamentals, an almost gentlemanly aggression and tactics that get the job done.

Fact: In 11 MSL seasons with Brampton, the Excelsiors have and Chapman have been a playoff team every year. And in 11 NLL seasons, his teams have missed the playoffs just once, in 2008.
Bonus fact: Chapman was a solid scoring option for Junior A Brampton, notching a combined 161 points in 5 seasons.

Top 40 (last year’s rank in parenthesis)

No. 40: Jeff Gilbert (not ranked)
No. 39: Kevin Crowley (nr)
No. 38: Kevin Ross (nr)
No. 37: Adam Jones (nr)
No. 36: Jordan MacIntosh (nr)
No. 35: Paul Rabil (30)
No. 34: Tyler Richards (17)
No. 33: Scott Ranger (nr)
No. 32: Chris White (20)

Chavez is an avid lacrosse player in Rochester and a journalist for the Democrat and Chronicle as well as a longtime Inside Lacrosse contributor. Email him at bob.chavez@nllinsider.com or go to RochesterSports.com.

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