|2005 NLL season|
|League||National Lacrosse League|
|Duration||January 1, 2005 – May 14, 2005|
|Number of games||16|
|Number of teams||10|
|TV partner(s)||NBC and America One (United States)|
The Score (Canada)
|Season MVP||Colin Doyle (Toronto Rock)|
|Top scorer||Colin Doyle (Toronto Rock)|
|Eastern champions||Toronto Rock|
|Eastern runners-up||Buffalo Bandits|
|Western champions||Calgary Roughnecks|
|Western runners-up||Arizona Sting|
|Finals MVP||Colin Doyle (Toronto)|
The 2005 National Lacrosse League season is the 19th season of the NLL that began on January 1, 2005 and concluded with the championship game on May 14. The Toronto Rock won their fifth NLL championship, defeating the Arizona Sting 19–13 in Toronto.
Colin Doyle of the Toronto Rock won the scoring title, marking the first time since 1990 that someone other than Gary Gait, Paul Gait, or John Tavares has led the league in scoring. For his efforts in leading the Rock to the championship, Doyle was named both league MVP and Championship Game MVP.
Just hours after the Rock's championship victory, another lacrosse legend, former Toronto head coach and general manager Les Bartley died from colon cancer at age 51. Bartley had coached the Buffalo Bandits to three MILL/NLL championships before moving to the expansion Ontario Raiders in 1998. Bartley moved with the Raiders to Toronto the next year, and went on to win titles in four of the next five seasons. Bartley also won the NLL Executive of the Year award in 2005, in part due to his involvement in the negotiation of the new CBA.
The 2005 season featured the NLL retirement of two lacrosse legends: Gary Gait and Tom Marechek. Marechek played his entire 12-year career with the Philadelphia Wings, winning Rookie of the Year in 1994, as well as four championships with the Wings. He was named to the All-Pro team eight times, and is third all-time in the NLL in points, after only Gary Gait and John Tavares . Marechek announced his retirement shortly before the end of the season.
Gait, at the time the league's all-time leading scorer, announced his retirement shortly before the season began. He was named League MVP six times, won seven scoring titles, and was named an All-Pro an astonishing 14 times in 14 seasons. With four games left in the regular season, Gait managed to coax his twin brother Paul out of retirement to play with him. However, Colorado was eliminated in the division semi-finals by Arizona, so Gait's dream of winning the championship in his final season did not come to fruition. He did win the championship in his first year as head coach of the Mammoth the next year.
The collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the league and the Professional Lacrosse Players' Association (PLPA) expired at the end of the 2004 season, and negotiations for a new CBA took place over the summer. However, these negotiations did not result in a new agreement, and the NLL even accused the PLPA of negotiating in bad faith. The league made its "last, best, and final offer" to the PLPA on September 29, 2004, and announced that if this offer was not accepted by the players, the season would be officially cancelled on October 2.
Marathon negotiations continued until early morning on October 1, and resulted in two different proposals. Both were presented to the players that day with the stipulation that if neither of them was acceptable, the season would be cancelled. One of the two proposals (a three-year deal) was accepted, and the season went on as scheduled.
The season featured a new team added to the East division, and one removed from the West. The ownership of the Minnesota Wild NHL team purchased the rights to the old Montreal Express franchise, moving it to Minnesota and renaming it the Minnesota Swarm, while the Vancouver Ravens franchise was removed from the schedule less than three weeks before the start of the season.
|1||Toronto Rock – xyz||16||12||4||.750||0.0||6–2||6–2||227||190||+37||14.19||11.88|
|2||Buffalo Bandits – x||16||11||5||.688||1.0||5–3||6–2||217||183||+34||13.56||11.44|
|3||Rochester Knighthawks – x||16||10||6||.625||2.0||5–3||5–3||193||179||+14||12.06||11.19|
|1||Calgary Roughnecks – xy||16||10||6||.625||0.0||6–2||4–4||216||208||+8||13.50||13.00|
|2||Arizona Sting – x||16||9||7||.562||1.0||5–3||4–4||209||209||0||13.06||13.06|
|3||Colorado Mammoth – x||16||8||8||.500||2.0||5–3||3–5||201||182||+19||12.56||11.38|
|5||San Jose Stealth||16||4||12||.250||6.0||2–6||2–6||170||197||-27||10.62||12.31|
x: Clinched playoff berth; c: Clinched playoff berth by crossing over to another division; y: Clinched division; z: Clinched best regular season record; GP: Games Played
W: Wins; L: Losses; GB: Games back; PCT: Win percentage; Home: Record at Home; Road: Record on the Road; GF: Goals scored; GA: Goals allowed
Differential: Difference between goals scored and allowed; GF/GP: Average number of goals scored per game; GA/GP: Average number of goals allowed per game
|Divisional Semifinals||Divisional Finals||Championship|
The 2005 All-Star Game was held at the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta on February 26, 2005. The East division defeated the West 11–10 in a thrilling overtime game. John Tavares scored the winner, and hometown captain Tracy Kelusky was named game MVP.
|Eastern Division starters||Western Division starters|
|John Grant, Jr., Rochester||Dan Dawson, Arizona|
|Blaine Manning, Toronto||Gary Gait, Colorado|
|John Tavares, Buffalo||Tracey Kelusky, Calgary|
|Glenn Clark, Toronto||Pat Coyle, Colorado|
|Andrew Turner, Rochester||Jim Moss, San Jose|
|Pat O'Toole, Rochester (goalie)||Anthony Cosmo, San Jose (goalie)|
|Eastern Division Reserves||Western Division Reserves|
|Craig Conn, Minnesota||Ryan Boyle, San Jose|
|Kyle Couling, Buffalo||Craig Gelsvik, Calgary|
|Ryan Cousins, Minnesota||Peter Lough, Arizona|
|Colin Doyle, Toronto||Gee Nash, Colorado (goalie)|
|Dallas Eliuk, Philadelphia (goalie)||Jesse Phillips, Calgary|
|Thomas Hajek, Philadelphia||Casey Powell, Anaheim|
|Mike Hasen, Rochester||Gavin Prout, Colorado|
|Tom Marechek, Philadelphia||Lewis Ratcliff, Calgary|
|Mark Steenhuis, Buffalo||Gary Rosyski, San Jose|
|Dan Teat, Buffalo||Scott Self, Arizona|
|Shawn Williams, Rochester||Mike Law, Anaheim|
|Jim Veltman, Toronto||Kaleb Toth, Calgary|
|MVP Award||Colin Doyle||Toronto|
|Rookie of the Year Award||Ryan Boyle||San Jose|
|Les Bartley Award (Coach of the Year)||Bob Hamley||Arizona|
|GM of the Year Award||Bob Hamley||Arizona|
|Executive of the Year Award||Les Bartley||Toronto|
|Defensive Player of the Year Award||Andrew Turner||Rochester|
|Goaltender of the Year Award||Steve Dietrich||Buffalo|
|Sportsmanship Award||Gary Gait||Colorado|
|Championship Game MVP||Colin Doyle||Toronto|
The NLL gives out awards weekly for the best overall player, best offensive player, best defensive player, and best rookie.
|1||Craig Conn||Craig Conn||Gee Nash||Pat Dutton|
|2||Dan Dawson||Dan Dawson||Dallas Eliuk||Ryan Boyle|
|3||Blaine Manning||Blaine Manning||Mike Miron||Riley Kemp|
|4||John Grant, Jr.||John Grant, Jr.||Matt Disher||Ryan Boyle|
|5||John Tavares||John Tavares||Pat O'Toole||Delby Powless|
|6||Dan Dawson||Dan Dawson||Dallas Eliuk||Kevin Fines|
|7||John Tavares||John Grant, Jr.||Bob Watson||Ryder Bateman|
|8||John Grant, Jr.||John Grant, Jr.||Steve Dietrich||Andrew Burkholder|
|9||Keith Cromwell||Keith Cromwell||Dallas Eliuk||Andrew Burkholder|
|10||Mark Steenhuis||Gary Gait||Dallas Eliuk||Dan Finck|
|11||John Tavares||John Tavares||Curtis Palidwor||Ryan McNish|
|12||Pat Campbell||Aaron Wilson||Pat Campbell||Dan Finck|
|13||Casey Powell||Colin Doyle||Bob Watson||Rory Glaves|
|14||Matt Roik||Colin Doyle||Matt Roik||Delby Powless|
|15||Blaine Manning||Blaine Manning||Steve Dietrich||Andrew Burkholder|
|16||Tracey Kelusky||Tracey Kelusky||Nick Patterson||Ryder Bateman|
Awards are also given out monthly for the best overall player and best rookie.
|Jan||John Tavares||Ryan Boyle|
|Feb||John Grant, Jr.||Andrew Burkholder|
Bob Watson (tie)
Bold numbers indicate new single-season records. Italics indicate tied single-season records.
|Goals||John Grant, Jr.||Rochester||49|
|Penalty Minutes||Jesse Phillips||Calgary||69|
|Shots on Goal||John Grant, Jr.||Rochester||193|
|Loose Balls||Jim Veltman||Toronto||193|
|Save Pct||Steve Dietrich||Buffalo||78.9|