Chris Gill will coach the new Vancouver NLL team. (THE NEWS files)

Chris Gill will coach the new Vancouver NLL team. (THE NEWS files)

Chris Gill to coach Vancouver NLL team

Hall of fame Burrard hired by Canucks Sports and Entertainment

Maple Ridge Burrards assistant coach Chris Gill has been hired by Canucks Sports and Entertainment to coach the Vancouver National Lacrosse League team.

Gill already has experience as a coach in the NLL, and was a standout bench boss in the Western Lacrosse Association, winning coach of the year honours.

The Aquilini family announced that its sports and entertainment company had acquired the Vancouver Stealth this week, and would be moving the team to Vancouver.

Gill’s hiring was announced this week, as well, along with Port Coquitlam’s Dan Richardson as general manager.

“We are very pleased to add two local and well-respected figures in the lacrosse community to help shape our new franchise,” said Jeff Stipec, COO of Canucks Sports and Entertainment. “It was important for us to find hometown leaders who share our values and who could build this team for both next year and many seasons to come.

“Dan has nearly 20 years experience as a lacrosse executive, while Chris is a hall-of-famer with a decorated career as a player and he is a young coach on the rise,” added Stipec. “Dan and Chris have extensive experience, in-depth knowledge of our community and we believe they will thrive in their new positions.”

Gill, a Pitt Meadows resident, was an assistant coach with the Colorado Mammoth in the NLL, and said he will enjoy this homecoming.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to be coaching in my hometown,” said Gill. “The Aquilini family and CSE’s management have laid out an exciting vision for the future, which I am very passionate about being apart of. We have some work to do and I can’t wait to get started.”

The NLL runs during the winter and the WLA is a summer season, and although there is typically some overlap in their schedules, many coaches and players are part of both leagues.

Gill served in a coaching capacity with Colorado for four seasons, over the span of 2015-2018.

Prior to his coaching career, Gill played professionally with Baltimore, Ontario, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Colorado, collecting 354 goals and 235 assists in 186 career games and was a part of three NLL championship teams (two with Toronto and one with Colorado).

He spent 13 years in the WLA with the Burrards and Salmonbellies, recording 833 points (482-352-833) in 282 regular season and playoff games. Gill led the league in scoring on two occasions (1997 and 2000), was named a WLA all-star five time, won the Three Star Award in 1997 and was WLA MVP in 1998.

Following his accomplished career he was named to the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, becoming a fourth generation inductee after great grandfather Robert “Les” Dickinson, grandfather Bill Dickinson and father Sohen Gill.

Maple Ridge News