3/29/11 11:00 AM
By Craig Rybczynski - March 29, 2011
Hamilton Nationals midfielder Dan Dawson has a well-suited nickname with his National Lacrosse League team, “Dangerous Dan” Dawson. The 6-5, 225-pound forward has lived up to his advanced billing this season as he leads the league in assists and points.
The 10-year pro has 22 goals and 51 assists in 13 games with the Boston Blazers. He is part of the “Big Three” with Casey Powell and Josh Sanderson joining Dawson on offense. Dawson is on pace to break the 80-point plateau for the seventh straight season. The trio finished first, second and third in league MVP voting in 2010 with Powell earning the distinction. This season the three were united in Boston for a shot at the Champion’s Cup.
“Both are proven leaders and the two of them love to play the game,” said Dawson, who was the 2009 NLL MVP. “It’s been fantastic.”
With the playoff race heating up in the NLL, Dawson is clearly focused on the Blazers’ playoff push. The Blazers, who are currently in fourth place, host the third-place Rochester Knighthawks Saturday in Boston with just three games left in the regular season. The top four teams in the East Division make the playoffs and Rochester (6-5) holds a one-game lead on the Blazers (6-7) for third.
“We are very far away from where we need to be. We are fighting for a playoff position,” said Dawson. “My focus right now is Rochester.”
When the indoor season is over, the Oakville, Ontario, native will embark on his third season with the Nationals. In the past two seasons, the midfielder has recorded seven goals and five assists in 10 games. In 2009, he was a member of the Nationals’ MLL championship team. This season, he will drive from his home to Hamilton to play for the Nationals, who relocated to McMaster University in the offseason.
“I think it will inject some new blood into the organization,” said Dawson about the move. “We are growing lacrosse in Hamilton and Bay Area.”
Similar to his all-star lineup with the Blazers, Dawson is surrounded by some of the biggest names in the game when he steps out on the turf for the Nationals. Dawson is joined by John Grant Jr., Brodie Merrill, Mark Steenhuis, Matt Vinc, Jordan Hall, Cody Jamieson and Joe Walters…to name a few.
“Brodie is our leader. He is the best field/box player from a defense/transition standpoint,” said Dawson. “John has left his legacy on the game…it’s fun playing with guys like that.”
Dawson is relatively new to the field game having played sparingly when he was 18 or 19 years old. It wasn’t until the 2009 MLL season that he decided to make it a part of his regular lacrosse regimen. That hard work paid off with a selection to the Canadian National Team and a trip to the 2010 FIL World Lacrosse Championships in Manchester, England. Team Canada took home the silver and also provided Dawson with an experience he will never forget.
“Anytime you can play for your country it is a great honor,” said Dawson. “We didn’t have the outcome we wanted, but going to Europe and being involved with Team Canada is something I will cherish forever.”