The Best Ever? Canada’s Own Gary Gait….

He`s been referred to as the Michael Jordan of lacrosse. He`s been referred to as the Wayne Gretzky of lacrosse. Past players include him in their list of greats to ever play our game. Current players include him in their list of greats they played with, and / or greats they always idolized. I`m speaking of Gary Gait; the player that has changed the face of lacrosse and helped to take our game from pockets of Canada and the United States, and put it on the National and International Stage. A player that has shattered countless records both in field lacrosse and box lacrosse, many of which may never be broken.

I first had the chance to meet and compete against Gary in a Minto Cup Canadian Junior “A” Championship in 1985. Gary, his brother Paul, and a few others the likes of Tom Marachek, travelled with the Victoria Esquimault Legion to my hometown (Whitby) to face us, the Warriors, with the likes of Joe Nieuwendyk, Gary Roberts and others. Little did I realize at that time, that I was competing against someone that (in my opinion) would go on to have the most positive effect on the game of lacrosse ever. While our Warriors were successful in the seventh game of that series, Gary would go on to dominate for years to come at the Junior, Senior, and Professional levels. He still plays the Pro field game and is the current Head Coach of the NLL Colorado Mammoth.

Ladies and gents, my interview with arguably the best ever…..Gary Gait. Enjoy!

GM: Describe your minor years playing lacrosse with Paul in Victoria.

GG: I grew up playing lacrosse in Victoria and when Saanich no longer wanted to play in the greater Vancouver league my dad started a new club that would. This allowed for Victoria lacrosse players to play in the best league in the province. It was great to play with Paul and others. There was a group of about 7 or 8 guys that played together since Peewee all the way through Junior.

GM: Who do you credit most for helping you learn the game of lacrosse?

GG: Ron Mac Neil and Tej Dillon were the first coaches that motivated me and taught me how to learn the game. They were my Peewee and bantam coaches.

GM: Tell us who you idolized in lacrosse while growing up?

GG: I idolized the entire Victoria Shamrocks team when I was little.

GM: Many coined the term “Air Gait” for the in the air type goals you used to score (many from behind the net). How did that type of move come to you?

GG: The air Gait came from working on shots from practice. Teams sometimes played a zone and did not pressure behind. It made sense that you could dive from behind and then shoot before you landed in the crease. After being stuffed by the goalie a few times I started dunking it off the pipe rather than just shooting when you got in front of the goal.

GM: Describe your time at Syracuse, winning the 3 National Field Championships.

GG: Syracuse was an eye opening experience! I learned much about life and lacrosse. I thank them everyday for giving me the opportunity. Coach Simmons truly made it an incredible experience. The Championships were just a bonus!!

GM: After so much success in B.C. box lacrosse what brought you to Ontario to play?

GG: I played in Ontario because I went to stay with my girlfriend (now wife – Nicole) in Toronto for the summer of 89. It made sense being at Syracuse, just a short drive from Toronto.

GM: Brooklin Redmen fans watched your first ever game against your brother Paul (you in Brooklin, Paul in Six Nations). Was it a little nerve racking prior to the game knowing your team mate since you were 4 was now the opposition?

GG: It was not a big deal to play against Paul. We competed against each other almost everyday of our childhood.

GM: Many know and respect you as a player that rarely showed a lot of emotion in games. However, you finally showed a fair amount of jubilance at last years World’s. Is it safe to say that the excitement of that team’s success is what got you to dance a little?

GG: The world championship was a life long effort. I first tried out for team Canada in 84 while in high school. After 22 years of trying it was worth dancing for when it happened!!!

GM: I cannot begin to list your on field or on floor lacrosse accomplishments. If you can, give us a couple that you are most proud of, or bring back the fondest memories.

GG: I am proud of all my Championships! I appreciate the fact they cross over from indoor to outdoor.

GM: How difficult was the decision to retire from the game?

GG: I have never retired from pro field – look for me in the near future – NLL outdoor? I have retired from the NLL and International play.

GM: Do you still get the urge to gear up and get out there.

GG: Yes – I love to compete.

GM: What motivated you to be the best?

GG: I love to set goals and then try and reach them. It was an internal challenge to always try and be the best!

GM: If you could go back and only play one more game would it be a box or field game and where would it be?

GG: The 3 greatest places I ever played and would love to play again are: NCAA final 4, Victoria – Mann Cup, and the Pepsi Center. They are the greatest venues in lacrosse!

GM: You have so many kids (and even current NLL players) that look up to you for what you’ve done. What would you tell kids today that you did to get you to where you are?

GG: I would tell those kids “Go after your dreams!” Don’t ever give up on any sport that you love to play – even if you don’t make the pros!

GM: How has the transition to Coaching been so far?

GG: I have always coached. I started as a kid and continued at the University of Maryland. I have been very lucky to have the opportunity to coach and win in my early years in the NLL and MLL. I will continue to strive to be the best coach I can be!

Fun Questions

GM: You’ve been literally everywhere with the game of lacrosse. Give us a few of your favourite cities you’ve been able to visit.

GG: Adelaide, Australia – London, England – Vail, Colorado are my top cities to have fun and play.

GM: If I told you that you cannot pick yourself or Paul; give me your all time greats Power Play.

GG: Tom Marechek – Kevin Alexander – Ron MacNeil, John Grant Jr. or Senior, John Tavares.

GM: What is your most memorable moment in lacrosse?

GG: London last summer is the topper for me in lacrosse!

GM: What off floor lacrosse accomplishment are you most proud of?

GG: Touching the lives of thousands of kids and inspiring them to play the game.

GM: What one sports person (past or present) would you most like to sit and chat with?

GG: Tiger Woods – I’m looking for some golf tips!

GM: Gary, I thank you for your time.

GG: Thank You.

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2 Comments

  1. Great interview, he’s a class act.

  2. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing both the Gaits play Lacrosse, not only are they the greatest players I’ve ever seen, they are by far the premier ambassadoors of the great game of Lacrosse. They will never be matched.


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