The National Lacrosse League has announced the six finalists for the NLL Hall of Fame Class of 2011.
The list includes 2011 championship game Most Valuable Player Bob Watson, who will be joining Pat Coyle and Steve Dietrich as first time nominees on the ballot, while Troy Cordingley, Ted Dowling and Curt Malawsky are returning nominees.
Watson played 15 seasons in the NLL, where he won six championships with the Rock. He had a 16-4 playoff record and was named the championship game MVP twice (2003 and '11). He holds the most championships of any goaltender in league history after his 46-save performance against the Washington Stealth in this past year’s title game, his last contest before retiring.
Cordingley, Watson’s coach for the last two years, joins his goaltender on the ballot as a returning nominee. Cordingley played nine seasons in the NLL, scoring 128 goals and 184 assists (312 points) during the regular season.
He added 33 points (15 goals and 18 assists) in the playoffs. He became the head coach of the Calgary Roughnecks in 2008, and one year later he won his first NLL title from behind the bench (he won two as a player). Cordingley has a 40-24 record as a coach after leading the Rock to the championship last season.
Coyle will be looking to become the first defenseman elected into the NLL Hall of Fame after playing 12 seasons and winning five championships, four with Toronto and one with Colorado. He played 156 games, picked up 940 loose balls and spent 375 minutes in the penalty box. Coyle had 28 goals and 105 assists to his time in the National Lacrosse League.
Dietrich spent most of his 18 seasons as a goaltender in western New York, playing for the Rochester Knighthawks (1995-2001) and the Buffalo Bandits (2002-07). He was the 1997 championship game MVP and was the league MVP in 2006, when he posted an .808 save percentage and a 9.97 goals against average. Dietrich played over 8,300 minutes in net and made 5,531 career saves.
Dowling spent 14 seasons on 10 different NLL clubs and is ninth all time in goals scored with 335. He also has 262 assists in 148 regular season games as well. Dowling’s teams went to the playoffs in 10 of his 14 years, with him winning titles in 1996 with Buffalo and 2004 with Calgary.
Malawksy scored 260 goals and added 277 assists (537 points) in his 12 years in the league. He also appeared in 20 postseason contests, where he scored 31 goals and picked up 29 assists for 60 points. Malawsky retired in style after he won his first title in 2009 with the Calgary Roughnecks. He is currently an assistant coach with the Roughnecks.
The nominees were selected by the league’s Hall of Fame Committee after suggestions were given by fans after the conclusion of the 2011 season in May. Voting is currently underway and an announcement of the NLL’s sixth ever Hall of Fame class is expected to be made on July 25.
Rich Kilgour, Dan Stroup and John Tucker were the three people inducted into the NLL’s 2010 Hall of Fame class.