by: Sam Laskaris

Suddsy will be back for the 2020 season.

But Derek (Suddsy) Suddons will have a different role with the Brooklin Lacrosse Club next year.

That’s because the 41-year-old will no longer be playing defence for the Major Series Lacrosse squad.

Instead, Suddons, who has played for the Brooklin franchise since 2001, has accepted an offer to step behind the bench and become an assistant coach with the club.

Suddons, who grew up and still lives in Whitby, is thrilled he will remain a part of the Brooklin organization.

“It’s always been a part of me,” Suddons said, adding he recalls as a youngster travelling to the team’s former home, the Luther Vipond Memorial Arena in Brooklin, to watch the team’s home games. “And it is meaningful that I get to continue being part of the team.” The Brooklin squad now plays its home contests at the Iroquois Park Sports Centre in Whitby.

Ideally, Suddons would have preferred to continue playing for the Brooklin squad. But he eventually agreed with the club’s head coach/general manager Brad MacArthur that the team has enough defensive depth with younger players.

MacArthur also felt the club would benefit better by having Suddons on the bench passing on valuable knowledge through the extensive experience he has. “We’re excited to have Derek join us on the staff,” MacArthur said. “Suddsy has had a long and distinguished career with our organization. We've known each other since we were teenagers, we were teammates, and we've been friends."

Assistant coach Jason Crosbie will also continue to be on the Brooklin bench.

Helping the Brooklin club behind the bench, however, will not be a new experience for Suddons. That’s because after appearing in eight matches for the team this past season, Suddons primarily spent the remainder of the 2019 campaign helping out on the bench.

“He was a very committed and loyal player who was consistently one of our top defensive players,” MacArthur said. “It’s only fitting that he makes the move behind the bench.”

Suddons, who works as a financial advisor in Oshawa, believes he’ll be available for the majority, if not all of the Brooklin contests in 2020. “I can’t see any major issues to get out to all the games,” he said. Suddons believes he has plenty to offer the Brooklin squad as a coach. “Just the experience,” he said of what he can bring to the organization. “That and having a real good pulse of the league and how it has changed.” Suddons added he doesn’t believe there will be any problems serving as a coach to many of the players he was teammates with during the 2019 season. “I don’t particularly think so,” Suddons said if it will be a problem making the transition to being a full-time coach. “There are ways to get your point across.”

Besides playing 19 seasons with the Brooklin organization, Suddons also spent 17 seasons playing professionally in the National Lacrosse League (NLL). He suited up for five different squads from 2002-18. Suddons won the NLL championship in 2005 as a member of the Toronto Rock. During his NLL days he also suited up for the Columbus Landsharks, Edmonton Rush, Buffalo Bandits and New England Black Wolves.

Though he’s content to join the Brooklin club as a coach now, Suddons said he’d also welcome the chance to join an NLL team on its bench. “I’d love to if the opportunity presented itself,” he said.