Features | 10/4/2012 11:17:39 AM | Samantha Hicks
|Steve Dietrich (Photo: Bill Wippert)|
Steve Dietrich has been pretty busy the last few days. As the new Buffalo Bandits general manager, Dietrich attended both the NLL Combine and the NLL Draft in Toronto. After those events, he received one of the highest honors in the National Lacrosse League on Tuesday night when he was inducted into the NLL Hall of Fame.
For Dietrich, the draft was a success for the Bandits. He emphasized multiple times throughout the night that the team was able to select the players they wanted, and was surprised that many of them were still available when they were. Dietrich noted that the Bandits finished the night with several of the players they had targeted prior to the draft and is hopeful that the players chosen will be able to compete for spots on the Bandits roster next season.
“I’m really excited," Dietrich said. "We had talked beforehand that we had wanted to get some guys that we think could come in and compete for spots right away and I think we did that.”
This was Dietrich's first draft and he was happy with the end result.
“It's a little nerve-racking when you only have two minutes in between some picks, and only a minute between some other picks while teams are starting to talk trades,” Dietrich said. “But out of the guys that we really wanted, we got most of the guys we wanted so it was a good day for us.”
The three-day whirlwind was capped off for Dietrich at the NLL Hall of Fame induction ceremony, as he was the lone inductee for the league’s Class of 2012. Dietrich became the 16th member of the NLL Hall of Fame, joining former Bandits Darris and Rich Kilgour.
“It’s incredibly humbling to just look at the guys that are there, and to even try and think that I get to be mentioned in the same breath as them,” Dietrich said.
The event started off with a cocktail hour inside the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto, which was followed by a speech and video ceremony where Dietrich was presented with a Hall of Fame plaque. Dietrich was joined by his wife, Donna, his father, and his two sisters, along with former teammates, coaches and staff who attended the event to celebrate with him.
NLL commissioner George Daniel was first to speak, followed by Steve Govett, a member of the league’s Hall of Fame Committee. Toronto Rock head coach Troy Cordingley had the honor of introducing Dietrich to the crowd.
Cordingley reviewed all of Dietrich’s impressive career accomplishments, his dedication to his teammates and his character off the floor, which he noted was what impressed him the most about Dietrich. Cordingley also thanked him for all that he has done for the game of lacrosse.
“Who here doesn’t love this guy?” Cordingley asked. “[He is a] salt of the earth guy, honest, and a great teammate. That’s the main reason he’s going in here.”
“We all know how great of a goalie ‘Chugs’ was, but the one thing that impressed me the most about him and his career was the person [he was] off the floor,” Cordingley said. “Without hesitation, Chugs would always sign autographs or talk to kids and fans from across the league. It didn’t matter what time, what place he just loved talking lacrosse; he was never bigger than the game.
“When I think of the Hall of Fame, I think of excellence, longevity, terrific professionalism, tremendous dedication to the sport and to his team, somebody that has outstanding character, somebody who has the upmost respect for this game and their team. All of those qualities are Steve Dietrich in a nutshell.”
The common theme of all of the speeches was that Dietrich was focused, dedicated and -- most importantly -- a team player. Dietrich backed those statements up with his speech as he mentioned the teammates, coaches, friends and family who impacted his personal and 18-year playing career.
Dietrich even took time to thank the fans of Banditland.
“I would like to thank all the fans, especially the fans in Buffalo and Rochester,” Dietrich said. “They always showed both the team and myself great support. And that meant more to all of us than they will ever know.”
Dietrich’s career spanned 18 years, and he remains the only goalie in league history to be named MVP (2006). He’s also a two-time goalie of the year, and was named an All-Pro on four different occasions. And who will ever forget his 54-save performance with Rochester in the 1997 championship game that earned him the game MVP award as the Knighthawks defeated Buffalo.
After an impressive career that has culminated with his name in the Hall of Fame alongside so many other NLL greats, what’s next for Dietrich? As general manager for the Bandits, Dietrich wants to bring a Champion's Cup home to Buffalo, something he mentions that he was unable to do in his playing career.
“It’s always been a dream to win one [in Buffalo] so hopefully with the opportunity the team has given me, hopefully we can bring championships back to Buffalo,” Dietrich said.