KITCHENER — Colin Doyle doesn’t have a Kitchener address any longer.
His pro lacrosse career has taken him elsewhere — to Hamilton, Toronto, San Jose, Calif., and back to Toronto. But one of this city’s most accomplished athletes ever will always think of Kitchener as home.
Doyle, 39, retired from professional lacrosse in November. He has also made a case to be considered one of Toronto pro sport’s greatest athletes of the century.
The former Kitchener-Waterloo Brave and 19-year pro has won just about every trophy and accolade his sport offers — from National Lacrosse League’s rookie of the year, most valuable player, playoff MVP, world box and field lacrosse titles and multiple Canadian major lacrosse titles.
During his two tours of duty with the Toronto Rock, he set franchise records as the all-time leader in goals (440), assists (664), points (1,104) and games played (218).
The former Rock captain is one of only two players to have been in the lineup (the other is another former K-W Brave Bob Watson) when Toronto captured all six of its NLL titles.
As a fitting “Rock star” tribute, the team will retire Doyle’s No. 7 National Lacrosse League jersey on Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre, when the Rock entertain the Calgary Roughnecks.
His NLL career numbers — including a three-year stint playing pro lacrosse with the San Jose Stealth — puts the Grand River Collegiate and Wilfrid Laurier grad third on the NLL’s all-time list with 1,384 points.
Doyle was never the biggest or fastest guy on the floor. What he did was combine a rubbery resilience with a sixth sense of anticipation. Doyle simply saw the game unspool before the rest of us.
Despite all that or maybe because of it, Doyle will be thinking about Kitchener during Saturday’s jersey retirement ceremony.
“Kitchener is such a huge part of my career,” he said this week. “I had such a great minor lacrosse experience there — memories I continue to talk about today.
“I had so many enthusiastic coaches around me when I was young playing minor lacrosse in Kitchener. I’m forever grateful to those people. There are too many to name. But coaches like Dan Fotopoulos, in particular, helped create in me the passion that they have for the game.”
These days, Doyle and his family — wife Stacey and three daughters aged nine, six and three — call Owen Sound home so as to be closer to his wife’s family.
Doyle commutes a couple times a week to the Toronto Rock’s indoor sports facility in Oakville where he works as the director, running the facility and programs.
“I’m still around the game a ton,” Doyle said of his happy retirement. “I really enjoy teaching the game to young people. I still have a passion for that.
“To be honest with you, I don’t know how I found the time to play in the first place.”
In addition, Doyle will coach his daughters on their under-11 and learn-to-play Owen Sound teams this summer.
For now, Doyle said he eagerly awaits Saturday night’s festivities.
“The whole thing is a great opportunity to say thank you to a lot of people,” he said. “Hopefully, I don’t forget anybody.”
Doyle’s speech is sure to include a few Kitchener references.
“I have fond memories of Kitchener. I’m always keeping my eye on the youth lacrosse in Kitchener and the Jr. A team there. They will forever hold an important place in my life.”