Friday, October 9, 2015

The Canadian Connection

Paul and Gary Gait
# 15 Stan Cockerton, far right (and unknown individuals) 

A key to SU's lacrosse success over the years has been the coaching staff's ability to find diamonds in the rough in the most usual places. Certainly the story of how the Hall Fame Gait brothers arrived on campus is an excellent case in point. As the story goes, Coach Simmons received a tip from either a personal friend or Syracuse alum about the Gait brothers. They came from Western Canada which at the time did not have any players of note who had played at any top program or put up the kind of numbers that they did in their career at Syracuse. The Canadians of note that I knew of before the Gaits has been Stan Cockerton at NC State and Dave Huntley at Hopkins in the late 1970s (I would later learn about and play against Canadian Box Hall of Famer and national team player Kevin Alexander). U. S. coaches had not yet become convinced that box players could make the transition to the field game so Canadians went larger overlooked until the Gaits with the exception of Cockerton. How recruiting is done today at the Division I level is quite short sighted in my view because it is gambling on young sophomore and juniors in high school and overlooking seniors, post grads at prep schools, and junior college kid like me. Today Syracuse is one of the few top ranked programs that still makes room on its roster for non-traditional recruits like the Gaits, Native Americans, and junior college players like me. 

Canadian Lacrosse Legend Kevin Alexander:

The Gait’s Canadian Box Lacrosse Roots:

How Many Goals Did the Gaits Score Right-Handed?: [Watch 8 min 24 sec]

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