Rock brings star Doyle back

RYAN WOLSTAT, TORONTO SUN

, Last Updated: 4:08 AM ET

Colin Doyle is back in Toronto and though the franchise he rejoins is completely different and far less dominant than the one he left nearly three years ago, he couldn't be happier.

Doyle was reacquired, along with a conditional second-round pick, in a deal with the Washington Stealth.

Doyle, arguably the National Lacrosse League's top player over the past decade, led the loop with 111 points (four off the single-season mark) last year and, thus, didn't come cheaply.

The Rock surrendered former 50-goal scorer Lewis Ratcliff, who never quite fit in after being acquired for Josh Sanderson, Tyler Codron -- voted the league's top hitter but likely out for much of the season with an injury -- and Joel Dalgarno, picked seventh overall by the Rock in the 2009 entry draft.

Still, the price was right for a completely revamped franchise that won five championships with Doyle, going 81-37 with him, but a sickly 19-29 in the years since his departure.

"It's going to be a great, exciting challenge to rebuild this thing and put us back on the map where we belong," Doyle said yesterday.

"Thanks to everybody who made this happen."

The everybody Doyle was referring to were new Rock owner Jamie Dawick, new head coach Troy Cordingley and Terry Sanderson, back for his second stint as general manager of the organization.

Sanderson, whose 2006 firing as coach/GM set in motion the events that ended with Doyle being shipped to the formerly San Jose Stealth, said the club had been trying to make the trade for a while.

"It's a great opportunity to bring back one of the mainstays from past Rock years," Sanderson said. "(Doyle's) a huge upgrade to our left side."

Doyle will likely succeed the departed Chris Driscoll as Rock captain.

Doyle, a former league MVP, also was its rookie of the year in 1998 while with the Hamilton Ontario Raiders.

MVP HONOURS

He joined the franchise when it left for Toronto the next season and was a crucial part of the team winning five championships in eight years, earning title game MVP honours three times.

The organization fell on hard times after it shipped out Doyle. Speculation has long hovered that Doyle was moved because he criticized the firing of Sanderson and the hirings of ex-teammate Glenn Clark, as head coach, and director of lacrosse operations Mike Kloepfer.

While the Rock floundered, Doyle led the Stealth to three playoff appearances.

RYAN.WOLSTAT@SUNMEDIA.CA


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