Today, we call him "coach", but in his impressive career, Pat Coyle has been called a lot of things, including 7-time Western Lacrosse Association All-star, 5-time WLA Top Defensive Player, 3-time Mann Cup winner, and WLA's Bill Ellison Trophy winner as a playoff series MVP.
In the National Lacrosse League, Pat Coyle played for 11 seasons, first for the Toronto Rock and then for the Colorado Mammoth, winning a total of five NLL championship titles (four for the Rock and one for the Mammoth) as a defenseman.
Coach Coyle's career became even more admirable after his retirement from the NLL in 2008. He was named to the Mammoth’s All-Decade Team in 2012. Then, in 2014, Coyle became the first defenseman in league history to win induction into the NLL Hall of Fame. Finally, in February 2017, the Mammoth named Pat Coyle head coach.
Yesterday evening, after a Mammoth training camp scrimmage in Vancouver against the Calgary Roughnecks, Pat Coyle stepped out to receive another honor: Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame 2017 Inductee.
Before the festivities, we got a chance to sit down with Coach Coyle to ask what this honor means to him.
Coach Coyle, What stands out the most in your memory when you think about your 11 seasons in the NLL?
My friendships that I formed with my teammates. As much as I loved to play in front of big crowds and compete at such a high level, it would have been empty if I didn't have my teammates and coaches beside me.
You won five Championship titles in the NLL. Which was the most memorable?
That is almost like saying which is your favorite child; almost impossible to give an answer to because they all meant so much. However, the first title that we won in Toronto at Maple Leaf Gardens was pretty special after growing up watching the Leafs play there. The last title with Colorado was really special as well. It came near the end of my career with a team that wasn't expected to go very far and we surprised at lot of people.
You are being inducted into the Hall of Fame as a player, but you are also a coach. What does it feel like to be a Hall of Fame inductee from both perspective?
The nice thing about going into the Hall of Fame is that it has reminded me of my playing career. I sort of see myself as a coach now and have for a little while. As a coach, I really try not to compare myself as the player I was to the players I coach. So, because of that, I haven't thought of myself as a player for a while. This induction has allowed me to look back on a career that I feel so lucky to have had, and to feel like I've left my mark in the lacrosse community.
Mammoth General Manager, Dan Carey, was also present at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony last night. Carey said,
"To be inducted into the hall of fame is something to be proud of. Pat had a tremendous career and is truly deserving of his nomination. l am grateful to have played along side him in a Mammoth uniform."