Terry Owen Sanderson
Born: August 22, 1952 (Windsor, Nova Scotia)
Died: November 27, 2014 (Orlando, Florida)
Member: Orangeville (Ont.) Sports Hall of Fame (2005)
Terry Sanderson never played organized sports while growing up in the Maritimes and only ever learned of lacrosse after his family moved to Orangeville, Ont., a hotbed of Canada’s official summer sport. Over decades, Sanderson became a legendary figure in the sport as the patriarch whose sons, nephews, cousins and brother made the family surname synonymous with lacrosse in Ontario.
Sanderson first picked up a lacrosse stick at age 18. After just two years of junior competition, he turned professional with the Syracuse (N.Y.) Stingers of the fledgling National Lacrosse League in 1974. The franchise transferred to Quebec City for the 1975 season, during which Sanderson scored 32 goals in 46 games. The Caribous finished in the fourth place with a record under .500 but won the league championship in six games over the Montreal Quebecois.
The league folded before the 1976 season and Sanderson returned to his home province where he played and for major and senior-B teams in Fergus, Brampton, Owen Sound and Orangeville. He spent the 1977 season with the Victoria Shamrocks of the Western Lacrosse Association.
The 5-foot-8, 185-pounder was known for his pugnacious style and was a frequent visitor to the penalty box. He won the Squires Brothers Trophy as top senior-B goal scorer with 52 goals in 22 games for Orangeville in 1981. He won three senior-B titles with the Orangeville Dufferins Northmen in 1981, ’82 and ’84. He played his final game in 1989 at age 37.
Sanderson was an associate coach with the Brampton (Ont.) Excelsiors when the team won the Mann Cup national championship in 1998.
In 2000, Sanderson became head coach of the Albany (N.Y.) Attack, a pro team in a circuit also named the National Lacrosse League. After two seasons, he left to become caoch of the expansion Montreal Express, which folded after one season. He then replaced his brother Lindsay as head coach of the Ottawa Rebels, who folded after the season.
Sanderson became general manager of the Toronto Rock, bringing in as players his son Josh and nephew Phil. His son set a single-season record for assists as the Rock won the Champion’s Cup in 2005.
The general manager was fired after the Rock went 8-8 the following season. He was hired as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Wings by his brother Lindsay, who was head coach and general manager. After they were both fired, Sanderson became defensive coach with the Calgary Roughnecks. His son Josh joined the team and Calgary won the Champion’s Cup in 2009.
Sanderson was back with the Rock as general manager when the team, including nephew Phil on the roster, won the Champion’s Cup in 2011.
Sanderson took ill on a family vacation in November before taking a leave of absence as general manager of the Rock on Nov. 13. He died two weeks later.
Away from the arena, he was the owner of Sanderson Source for Sports, a well-known sporting goods store in Orangeville.