It’s been a busy few days, including the passing of the MLB non-waiver trade deadline and the Argonauts playing on a Tuesday night game. As such, a lot of local sports fans may not be aware that this week saw the retirement of one of the most successful athletes to ever play in Toronto: Blaine Manning.
The Toronto Rock forward made his announcement on Wednesday, after playing 12 years in the NLL. Manning played with the Rock for his entire career, adding to a legacy that has him being called one of the games all-time greats.
The 33-year old was selected 2nd overall in the 2001 NLL draft by the Calgary Roughnecks, who promptly traded him to the Rock. The dividends were almost immediate, with Manning being named the 2002 NLL Rookie of the Year and helping his team win the NLL Championships.
Manning’s career statistics make for impressive reading. In 181 regular season games, he totalled 833 points, with 526 assists and 307 goals, which included numerous heating-missiles such as this one:
Manning was almost as impressive in the post-season, with 64 points (23 goals & 41 assists) in 18 playoff games. In total, he won four Champions Cup rings with the Rock. (2002, 2003, 2005 & 2011.)
At 6ft 1in and 205 lbs, the native of Alberta also wasn’t afraid to get involved in the physical side of the game. (Note how his opponent, Ian Hawksbee, resorts to tackling him to the floor, once he realises he isn’t going to win the fight.)
Despite the Toronto Rock being one of the more accessible teams in the city, not all fans will be familiar with what Manning is like as a person. This interview gives a good insight into his personality and sense of humour:
Undoubtedly, Manning deserves to make it into the NLL Hall of Fame sooner rather than later. Details of the Rock’s plans to honour him will be announced in the fall, following the release of the 2014 NLL regular season schedule.
If you have any tips or information about any of Toronto’s sports teams, please email me at Englishpaul@hotmail.co.uk
You can also follow us on Twitter @bluetoro_ca and like us on Facebook
- By English Paul
- August 3, 2013