ILIndoor Top 50: Sid Smith #42

Championships seem to follow defender Sid Smith wherever he goes. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)
Championships seem to follow defender Sid Smith wherever he goes. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)

The numbers don’t pile up for Sid Smith, and that’s about what you’d expect for an old-school shut down defender in the National Lacrosse League. But then again, it depends on what kind of numbers you’re talking about. Loose balls? Nah. Forced turnovers? Nope. Faceoffs? Here and there. Goals and assists? Not really. But if you wanna talk rings and you wanna talk championships, Sid Smith is your man. And it’s not so much about the titles he’s won, it’s more a reflection of what Smith and his defense bring to any team for which he is playing. Because if there’s an ultimate gauge for success in any sports, it’s championships. And make no mistake about it, Smith is a defender that brings a punishing and physical style, a style that’s added up to no less than 7 — yes, 7 — championships at all levels over the last 8 years. And that’s why Smith is cracking ILIndoor’s list of Top 50 players.

Back up to 2006, and Smith is an NCJAA champ at Onondaga CC. In 2007, he led Six Nations to a Minto Cup. In 2008 and 2009, he was an NCAA champ with Syracuse. He took a break from winning titles in 2010 and 2011, and had to settle for being the No. 1 overall draft pick for the NLL in 2009.

The 2012 NLL season saw him back on top with the Knighthawks, as did the 2013 season. And for good measure, he added a Mann Cup title with Six Nations in September. It was the Chiefs’ first Mann Cup win since 1996.

So yeah, there’s a trend here. And that trend is that wherever Smith is playing, teams win. He’s not a flashy defender, but he’s reminding Knighthawks fans a lot of another fella who played a similar style, Regy Thorpe. Smith patrols his end with precision, knowing when the lay the lumber that sends a message, and when to bring the body to lower the boom. Voted captain of the Knighthawks wasn’t by accident. Smith is a defender and a leader, a man who speaks softly but carries a big stick.

ILIndoor’s take

“Known for his aggressive, punishing approach to playing defence, Smith is the kind of guy who just makes it unpleasant to be trying to get to the middle of the floor on offence. Nothing flashy, but a solid defender who makes opponents pay a high price.” – Stephen Stamp

“Chances are you don’t recognize Sid Smith on the floor when you watch the K-Hawks or Six Nations Chiefs play a game. Sid is known for his great body position, stick checks and game smarts. Like Powless, he has been a part of 3 championships in the last 2 years. Add to that his Minto and NCAA success and you see Smith has been in the mix for a pile of success. I attended the NCAA Final Four championship game in 2009 in Boston. I saw Smith create two turnovers by Cornell that ended up being possessions that led to huge goals for Syracusem including the winner. Sid brings the elements you need on defense to win big games.” – Marty O’Neill

“Some defenders bring a sandpaper approach to get under your skin. Smith brings an anvil for a stick and lets that do the talking. And yeah, it speaks volumes. He’s not the quickest guy on the floor but he doesn’t have to be. He anticipates well and brings nasty checks to the hands, qualities that make him one of the most feared defenders in the game today.” – Bob Chavez

Top 50

No. 50: Aaron Bold
No. 49: Brad Self
No. 48: Jesse Gamble
No. 47: Rory Smith
No. 46: Kiel Matisz
No. 45: Lewis Ratcliff
No. 44: Johnny Powless
No. 42: Tyler Hass

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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