7/7/12 4:28 PM
(July 7, 2012)… The Hamilton Nationals and Boston Cannons will honor former Team Canada goalie Chris Sanderson tonight before the teams face off in a Major League Lacrosse game. The 7:00 p.m. game at Ron Joyce Stadium at McMaster University will be broadcast on ESPN3. The game will air locally on Sunday, July 15th at 7:00 p.m.
The teams will wear No. 17 Sanderson T-shirts before the game based on Chris's three loves: Canada, lacrosse and most importantly, his family. These special edition shirts will be signed by the wearing player and will be auctioned off. The teams will announce auction details in the coming days. The proceeds will go to the Chris Sanderson Memorial Trust. The teams will also observe a moment of silence, and wear special helmet stickers, in his honor. Chris’ brother Dustin will take part in the ceremonial faceoff between, appropriately, two No. 17s: Brodie Merrill of Hamilton and Kyle Sweeney of Boston. Sweeney is changing his jersey number from 77 to 17 for the rest of the season in honor of Sanderson.
"Chris took me under his wing from a young age and had a huge influence on my lacrosse career," said Merrill. “I wear the No. 17 as a tribute to Chris, Dustin, and the Sanderson family."
Chris passed away early Thursday morning after a lengthy battle with brain cancer. Sanderson is survived by his wife, Brogann and their two young daughters, Stevie and Clementine. Chris Sanderson played in the National Lacrosse League and in Major League Lacrosse. In 2001, he won an NLL title with the Philadelphia Wings. The 38-year-old also played briefly in Major League Lacrosse with the Toronto Nationals in 2010, but his impact on the game was immeasurable. He was a lacrosse giant in the field game, starring for the University of Virginia from 1995-98 and leading the Cavaliers to two NCAA Final Fours. He was also a national icon, playing for Team Canada in four consecutive World Lacrosse Championships beginning in 1998, being named Goaltender of the Tournament three times. Merrill played in front of Sanderson in two of those World Championships in 2006 and 2010. In 2006, Sanderson led Canada to a gold medal victory over the favored United States to give the Canadians their first World Championship in 28 years.
Scouting the Nationals: Hamilton sits in sixth place with a 2-5 record, and bring a two game losing streak into the second half of the season. The Nationals are two-and-half games out of the fourth and final playoff spot with seven games to play. Joe Walters leads the team with 21 points (10+1+10) in four games. Stephen Keogh took over the Nationals’ goal-scoring lead with 13 and ranks second for Hamilton with 17 points in four games. Keogh has career highs in goals, assists and points. Matt Dolente is third in the MLL in ground balls (48) and fourth in faceoff wins (113). Brodie Merrill is fourth in the MLL with 44 ground balls.
Cannons Notes: Boston has dropped two of its last three games to fall to 5-3 in a third-place tie. The Cannons are led by Paul Rabil, who leads the team with 25 assists and 46 points. Rabil leads the point race by 15 and will take a run at John Grant Jr.’s MLL record of 71 set in 2007. Ryan Boyle is tied for fifth with 27 points (8+19) in eight games. Goalie Jordan Burke leads the MLL in goals-against average (9.57) and save percentage (578), and is third in saves (104). His five wins are also tied for the league lead. Chris Eck enters the game first in the MLL with 134 faceoff wins and is second with 59 ground balls.
Next Game: Hamilton will return to action with back-to-back games against the expansion Ohio Machine on Friday, July 13th and Saturday, July 14th. The Friday game marks the inaugural meeting between the two teams, and will start at 7:30 p.m. at McMaster University. The team will then travel to Columbus to battle the Machine at 7:00 p.m. Saturday night. Both games will be carried live on ESPN3.