(July 5, 2012)… The Hamilton Nationals and Boston Cannons will honor Chris Sanderson on Saturday, July 7th before the teams face off in a Major League Lacrosse game at McMaster University.
The teams will wear No. 17 Sanderson T-shirts, which include a commemorative logo created by Boston Cannons Equipment Manager Michael J. Fox. The design was 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. On Saturday, the Nationals will also observe a moment of silence in his honor.
“The passing of Chris Sanderson was felt all throughout the lacrosse community. The Cannons are humbled to be involved in honoring Chris prior to Saturday’s game. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with his family and we hope this small gesture will help in their difficult time,” said Boston Cannons General Manager Kevin Barney.
The former Team Canadian goalie passed away early Thursday morning after a lengthy battle with brain cancer. Sanderson was diagnosed with a grade IV malignant tumor called glioblastoma multiforme in December 2008. 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.
“Everyone at Major League Lacrosse is saddened by the passing of Chris Sanderson,” said MLL Commissioner David Gross. “His friends and family are in our thoughts and prayers.”
Sanderson, an Orangeville native, had a profound impact on the life and career of Hamilton defenseman Brodie Merrill. Growing up in the lacrosse hotbed, Merrill played with Sanderson and his brothers.
"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, (his brother) Dustin, and the Sanderson family."
Sanderson 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. His success at the collegiate and international level led to the explosion of field lacrosse across Canada.
“When you look at the recent growth of field lacrosse in Canada, Chris was a major catalyst,” said Merrill.
Sanderson was inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2009 and gave a heroic performance one year later in the World Championships. Merrill and Team Canada will always remember the last tournament where Sanderson stood in between the pipes for his country. He helped the Canadians to a silver medal, but success over those two weeks could not be measured in metal of any color. It was a monumental accomplishment for Sanderson to just be there, as he took a break from treatment for brain cancer to play for Canada again.
“What Chris Sanderson had to overcome physically and mentally to play one more time for his teammates and for Canada is something I will never forget,” said Dean French, the team's executive director, to Neil Stevens of The Canadian Press.