DENVER – Denver Outlaws defenseman Lee Zink, a 11-year MLL veteran and two-time MLL Defensive Player of the Year, has informed the club of his intention to retire, it was announced on Tuesday.
“No one has done more to bring home the Steinfeld trophy to Denver then Lee has—nobody deserves to hold that trophy high above their head more in celebration. He is the ultimate defenseman, the ultimate teammate and as good a human being as you will ever meet,” said Outlaws General Manager
“I attempted to walk away after the 2011 season after a lingering injury. Tony Seaman convinced me to return and renewed my focus and commitment with the goal of securing the Outlaws first championship,” said Zink.
“I have had an amazing career from my high school days at Darien High School, my college days at the University of Maryland, my two years with the Baltimore Bayhawks and the last nine years with the Outlaws. To cap it off with a championship with the Outlaws has been a dream.”
Zink, the longest-tenured Denver Outlaw, appeared in 110 regular-season games for Denver—the most in team history—and finishes his career with 129 total career regular-season games, good for sixth in MLL history.
“It means so much being able to represent this city. The fan base has been so supportive and I’m so proud to share the MLL Championship with them. We truly have the best fans in the MLL,” said Zink.
"Having coached lacrosse for many years, I have had the good fortune to work with many outstanding and talented people. That said, I really believe that Lee Zink stands tall among the very best to play the game and is one of finest individuals to ever wear an MLL jersey. While I am happy for Lee as he moves on to other exciting things in his life, he will be greatly missed by the Denver Outlaws and the entire MLL,” said Head Coach
The Connecticut native was drafted by the Baltimore Bayhawks in the first round (5
th overall) of the 2004 Collegiate Draft out of the University of Maryland and came to Denver via trade from Baltimore in exchange for a second-round (13
th overall) selection in the 2006 Collegiate Draft and a second-round (12
th overall) selection in the 2006 Supplemental Draft.
“We knew we had acquired a great defenseman, but we had no idea how much he would mean to this organization,” said Denver Outlaws President
"It will be tough for all of us to look out there in 2015 and not see No. 29 out there in an Outlaws jersey, but the Outlaws, the MLL, and the fans are all better off for the time Lee spent on the field.”
Zink played in 15 postseason games, and won his first MLL Championship in 2005 with Baltimore. The two-time MLL Defensive Player of the Year (2012, 2013) became only the 11
th player in MLL history to earn the same award in consecutive seasons after holding his one-on-one matchups to just 10 points and 10 assists in 2013.
“Lee is the ultimate professional—always prepared, takes care of his body, is as fit as anyone in the MLL, understands the game, communicates well on the field and is as good a role model as you can find in professional sports,” added Seaman.
The 11-year MLL veteran is a seven-time All-Star and won a silver medal with Team USA this summer at the 2014 FIL World Lacrosse Championships in Denver.
Zink was named to the MLL 10-Year Anniversary Team in 2010 in recognition of being one of the greatest players of the decade at his position. He was one of 40 finalists selected by a diverse group of experts who had been involved with the league since its inception, and then voted by MLL fans onto the final roster through a vote on the league’s website.
The All-American out of the University of Maryland was one of 15 finalists for the Tewaaraton Trophy as a senior, and won the Schmeisser Memorial Cup as the nation’s top defenseman. He played in 60 games (42 starts) as a Terrapin and collected 138 ground balls.