Sanderson vindicated

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:58 AM ET

Terry Sanderson has answered his critics.

After tearing apart the Toronto Rock with a stunning blockbuster trade in the off-season, the second-year general manager/coach reaped the rewards of his gutsy move yesterday at the Air Canada Centre.

Sanderson and his son Josh, who was added in that big deal with the San Jose Stealth, both won their first NLL championship yesterday as the Rock beat the Arizona Sting 19-13.

"Terry earned this and he deserved it," Rock forward Colin Doyle said.

"A lot people counted us out when he did what he did to this team. I think (yesterday) was a big (screw) you on his part. I said he better be smiling about this one until November."

After his team lost 19-10 against the Buffalo Bandits in a semi-final last year, Terry Sanderson traded goalie Anthony Cosmo, transition threat Steve Toll and Darryl Gibson to the Stealth for Josh, defender Phil Sanderson (Terry's nephew) and forward Rusty Kruger.

Adding family members leaves a coach open to questions of nepotism, but Josh recorded an NLL-record 71 assists this season and Phil was steady on defence.

And Josh had a big game yesterday with three goals and four assists.

"When he brought me over here, the pressure was on," Josh Sanderson said. "I didn't want to let anybody down. If things don't go well, you're going to be under scrutiny."

Fortunately, things went very well.

"I was questioned big-time about (the trade)," Terry Sanderson said. "We have very passionate fans here and they were upset because we got rid of some fan favourites. My job was to get Toronto back on top. I felt that's the move that had to be made and it worked out."

Terry Sanderson, who entered Toronto with an NLL record of 23-35, is 22-7 with the Rock. He has won two Mann Cups and three Minto Cups, but those Canadian senior and junior titles take a back seat to yesterday's triumph.

"This is without a doubt my biggest win ever," he said. "You've got over 19,000 people in here, as well as being on NBC and The Score. You just never expect that.

"Not in my wildest dreams."


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