Boston Cannons Defenseman Mitch Belisle Nominated as Finalist forDavid Huntley Man of the Year Award
BOSTON, MA - The David Huntley Man of the Year Award is a new Major League Lacrosse (MLL) award for 2018 that will be presented during the second annual MLL Honors award ceremony. Named in honor of David Huntley, the former MLL coach for the Atlanta Blaze, Hamilton Nationals, Toronto Nationals, and Chesapeake Bayhawks, who passed away in December 2017, the award will be presented to the lacrosse athlete who has demonstrated, "sportsmanship and professionalism that are beyond reproach" and who "makes selfless, meaningful contributions to Major League Lacrosse, the game of lacrosse, and to his community."
MLL Commissioner Alexander (Sandy) Brown said Huntley's influence on others was boundless. "Coach Huntley's impact on others extended well beyond the game of lacrosse, for he touched lives with limited or no association with our game," Brown said. "He truly embodied the spirit and passion for others that resides within our players, our game and Major League Lacrosse."
Huntley's first foray into MLL was as a Bayhawks' assistant coach from 2003 to 2005 and was part of the team that won the Steinfeld Trophy in 2005. The championship team was considered to be one of the best MLL teams ever. Huntley then coached the Toronto Nationals to the 2009 MLL Championship in his first year with the team, despite finishing with a 7-5 regular season record. During that season, Huntley's team won two, one-goal decisions over New York and Denver. The 2010 season didn't turn out well for the defending champs and Huntley stepped down prior to the 2011 season. In 2015, he was an assistant coach for Dave Cottle in Chesapeake and then joined John Tucker's staff in Atlanta for the Blaze's inaugural season. With four games left in the 2016 season, Huntley took over for Tucker. He then coached the Blaze to a 6-8 record in 2017 prior to his death.
The nine nominees for the first annual David Huntley Man of the Year Award follows in the order of team name: Scott Ratliff - Atlanta Blaze; Mitch Belisle - Boston Cannons; Kevin Crowley - Charlotte Hounds; Brian Phipps - Chesapeake Bayhawks; John Galloway - Dallas Rattlers; Josh Hawkins - Denver Outlaws; Steven Brooks - Florida Launch; Will Manny - New York Lizards; and Dominique Alexander - Ohio Machine. The David Huntley Man of the Year Award will be presented during the MLL Honors award ceremony, which will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 17 at the historic American Theater in Charleston, S.C. The ceremony will be aired on Lax Sports Network (LSN).
The man who took over for Huntley on Atlanta's sideline, Liam Banks, said Ratliff demonstrates the qualities required of a David Huntley Man of the Year Award. "Scott has been an absolute rock for the Atlanta Blaze organization both on and off the field. He is a tireless worker who commits much of his time working with younger players both on and off the field," said Banks. "He is a role model for so many young men and women in the Atlanta sports community and has had a major influence on the growth of the game in Georgia. On the field, Scott is a fearless competitor who empties the tank every time he steps on the field. He is a leader who generates an incredible amount of positive energy both on the field and in our locker room." Ratliff participated twice in MLL's Cancer Awareness program.
Boston's Mitch Belisle faced several Huntley-coached teams during his MLL career and demonstrates the character Huntley embodied. "Mitch has exemplified everything you would want in a professional athlete and man during his 12 years in Major League Lacrosse," said Cannons head coach Sean Quirk. "His play on the field speaks volumes during his career, but more importantly, what he has done through off-field involvement with charities, growing the game of lacrosse and leading by example to the next generation of lacrosse players is what is so special about Mitch." Belisle also donated the last paycheck of his MLL career to the Boston Cannons Cancer Fund.
Kevin Crowley, who played for Huntley as a member of Team Canada in the 2010 World Lacrosse Championships, just completed his eighth season in MLL, the last three with the Charlotte Hounds. "Kevin Crowley is a consummate professional. He is a leader in the locker room, a mentor to the younger players and an ambassador of the game. He loves to play the game and it's evident whenever he steps on the field. His commitment to both teach and grow the game nationally and internationally is well known," said Hounds head coach Jim Stagnitta. "It has truly been an honor to work with Kevin. He has my utmost respect as well as that of his teammates and competitors."
Chesapeake Bayhawks' nominee and goaltender Brian Phipps was a rival of Huntley's son, Kevin. Phipps played at Maryland while Kevin played for his father's alma mater, Johns Hopkins. A testament to his value of others, no Bayhawks player was more vocal after the tragic shootings in Annapolis than Phipps. He walked to the game on July 2, which was just days after the shooting, just to take in the feel of the city and the community's "Annapolis Strong" mentality. Chesapeake head coach, Dave Cottle, who also coached Phipps at Maryland, commented on the goaltender's off-field commitment. "Brian has made an extremely large contribution to the Annapolis community. As a high school coach and teacher, Brian is working with young people. He spends countless hours working with our young players and is one of the finest ambassadors our organization has ever had."
Dallas goaltender, John Galloway, also is the head lacrosse coach at Jacksonville (FL) University. He is known to be an incredible leader and role model not only for the Rattlers and Dolphins but for the league and the sport of lacrosse as well. "Guys want to play with him and be around him. He is the epitome of professionalism, sportsmanship, commitment to his teammates, our country and the greater good. Anyone who knows John Galloway knows that he is the very best of what lacrosse represents. I can provide countless examples during the past decade where John has displayed the utmost sportsmanship, professionalism, leadership and selflessness. He is the best," said Rattlers head coach Bill Warder.
Midfielder Josh Hawkins has dedicated his efforts to the Denver community since his acquisition from Boston in Oct. 2017. "Josh represents the very best qualities of a MLL athlete. Highly skilled and a tremendous competitor, he leads the Denver Outlaws on the field and in the locker room. More importantly, he devotes countless hours to community service efforts, representing the Outlaws and MLL in schools, hospitals and community centers. In a league full of outstanding young men, Josh stands tall among the MLL's very best," said Outlaws head coach BJ O'Hara. Hawkins helped a group of 16 kids, ranging in age from 7-12, with their homework and then arranged an impromptu soccer match. A scheduled one-hour visit at the Denver Rescue Mission turned into three. Visits to Children's Hospital Colorado and fundraising alongside other celebrities at Adam's Camp, a non-profit that provides support to children and young adults with special needs, helped raise $70,000.
Steven Brooks is a veteran midfielder who was acquired by the Launch in July 2014. He has made a positive impact since his arrival in Boca Raton. "Steven is a first-class professional in all aspects. He is one of the older players in the league but he still brings a youthful energy every day," said Launch head coach Tom Mariano. "He wants his teammates, the organization and MLL to succeed before his own personal achievements. At this point in his career, he is truly playing for his teammates and the Florida Launch. He plays the game the right way and is one of the best ambassadors to represent the MLL." Brooks never misses an opportunity to make a fan's day and is phenomenal with fan engagement.
Will Manny, the six-year veteran attackman for the New York Lizards and the 2018 MLL All-Star Game MVP, once served as an assistant manager at Bank of America in Boston before recognizing that lacrosse was his true passion. He served as a graduate assistant at Wagner College for two seasons before joining the new program at the University of Utah with Ohio's Marcus Holman and Atlanta's Adam Ghitelman. Manny is a leader, according to Lizards head coach Joe Spallina. "I believe Will Manny epitomizes everything this award should represent. He is an incredible ambassador for the sport but more importantly is a tremendous teammate who takes the time to connect with every person on the team from trainers to practice squad players to starters," said Spallina. "He is someone who brings an unparalleled work ethic and sincerity to the sport that is not commonplace! His play speaks for itself - but the teammate and person he is - towers over his incredible talent. Will Manny is what this award is all about."
Dominique Alexander has played 77 games for the Ohio Machine since graduating from Ohio State but off the field his infectious personality and wit keeps his teammates, coaches, students, and players smiling. When he's not playing for the Machine, he is teaching school and coaching lacrosse at Olentangy Berlin H.S. in Delaware, Ohio. The Machine staff says he is known for his honesty and trustworthiness. "Niq" embodies what this game is all about. He comes ready to play every time he puts the uniform on, but more importantly, he keeps it in perspective that it is a game, just that a game," said Machine head coach Bear Davis. "He truly does love to compete at all times, whether it's at practice, in the locker room, and of course, in a game. He makes every better around him all the time."
About Major League Lacrosse Major League Lacrosse (MLL), the premier professional outdoor lacrosse league, was founded by Jake Steinfeld and is headquartered in Boston. MLL has led the sport of lacrosse into the mainstream of competitive team sports since 2001. The league is made up of nine teams: The Atlanta Blaze, Boston Cannons, Charlotte Hounds, Chesapeake Bayhawks, Dallas Rattlers, Denver Outlaws, Florida Launch, New York Lizards, and Ohio Machine.
- Scott Ratliff, Atlanta Blaze
- Mitch Belisle, Boston Cannons
- Kevin Crowley, Charlotte Hounds
- Brian Phipps, Chesapeake Bayhawks
- John Galloway, Dallas Rattlers
- Josh Hawkins, Denver Outlaws
Steven Brooks, Florida Launch
- Will Manny, New York Lizards
- Dominique Alexander, Ohio Machine
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Major League Lacrosse Stories from August 9, 2018
- Kevin Rice and Christian Cuccinello Among Finalists for 2018 MLL Awards - Atlanta Blaze
- MLL Unveils David Huntley Man of the Year Award - MLL
- Boston Cannons Defenseman Mitch Belisle Nominated as Finalist forDavid Huntley Man of the Year Award - Boston Cannons
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