(NLL) - The last time Jody Gage was a lacrosse general manager, his team won a championship. In 2011, Gage will resume a familiar position with the Toronto Nationals of Major League Lacrosse.
"I am very excited to be able to be back into the MLL. I want to get to work right away," said Gage. "We need to evaluate players and coaches from last year. I am looking forward to the opportunity."
After being out of the sport for the 2009 season, Gage now works for the Nationals and the Rochester Knighthawks of the National Lacrosse League, which is also owned by Curt Styres. Gage also serves as the Director of Player Personnel for the Rochester Americans. He is excited to be back in the field game.
Gage's first stint in the MLL was with Rochester Rattlers. In seven seasons, the Rattlers also advanced to the MLL Semifinals in 2001, 2004, 2005 and 2007, and captured the 2008 Steinfeld Cup. It was season to remember for Gage as he helped the Rattlers win their first MLL title.
"Anytime you win a championship it's the ultimate goal, especially because we came so close the year before," said Gage. "It was very rewarding after seeing the players' hard work and commitment pay off, especially with balancing their family and work commitments."
He joins a Toronto franchise, which includes some of the same players that won the 2008 title. The list of players includes John Grant Jr., Jordan Hall, Brett Bucktooth, Brett Queener and Brodie Merrill. The Nationals won the 2009 championship, but missed the playoffs in 2010. Gage will try to help the Nationals return to the MLL playoffs in 2011.
"We are very excited to add a person like Jody to our organization. Any time you can bring in someone who has great experience and familiarity with your players it's a big addition," said President and GM of the Toronto Nationals Stuart Brown. "I have worked with Jody before and I am very confident that he will bring a lot to our organization and help us continue to build our team back to championship caliber."
Gage holds a place of distinction in the pantheon of Rochester sports. The Toronto native is the only person to grace the Hall of Fames for two Rochester professional sports teams: the Knighthawks and the Rochester Americans. Gage served as the general manager for 12 seasons and built the Knighthawks into a lacrosse dynasty (1997-2008). The Knighthawks advanced to five championship games and won two titles during his tenure. In 2007, he assembled a Knighthawks team that won a league record 17 games and suffered only two losses. He currently serves as the VP of Player Personnel and is the process of helping another former championship team return to the postseason.
Gage was inducted into the Amerks Hall of Fame in 1999 and is only one of three players to have his number retired. He stands as the Amerks' all-time leader in games played, goals, assists and points. He also holds numerous team and American Hockey League records. He was inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame in 2006. After retiring from hockey, he moved into the front office where he still works for the Amerks as the Director of Player Personnel. He was the team's general manager from 1996 to 2009 and was the assistant GM when the Amerks won their sixth Calder Cup in 1996. Handling the Amerks, Knighthawks and Nationals would be overwhelming for most sports professionals, but not for Gage.
"I have done it in the past. The No. 1 goal is having quality people you entrust and they become a team itself," said Gage. "With the Amerks, Knighthawks and Rattlers, I was fortunate to have very good employees, coaches and scouting staffs. That is the first priority (in Toronto)."