Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Q&A with Lee Zink

Denver Outlaws: You’ve considered retirement a few times before, what makes now the right time for you to step away from MLL for good?

Lee Zink: I attempted to walk away after the 2011 season after a lingering injury.  Tony Seaman convinced me to return and renewed my focus and commitment with the goal of securing the Outlaws first championship.  I have had an amazing career from my high school days at Darien High School, my college days at the University of Maryland, my two years with the Baltimore Bayhawks and the last nine years with the Outlaws.  To cap it off with a championship with the Outlaws has been a dream. 

DO: Summer 2014 was a summer of playing for Team USA and winning the 2014 MLL Championship with the Outlaws, what were those experiences like for you?

LZ: There were two goals weighing on my shoulders throughout my career—winning a championship with the Outlaws and representing Team USA.  I dedicated myself to these goals and so just lucky that we achieved them this summer. 

DO: What was special about the 2014 Denver Outlaws team that made it different from past Outlaws teams/seasons?

LZ: The Outlaws have had so many good teams in the past nine years, but this 2014 team battled every game which allowed us to succeed in the playoffs and hoist the Steinfeld Trophy for the first time.  It was a great group of youth and veterans with one goal.  There are so many personalities in the locker room and you end up playing for each other.  We counted on and trusted each other, battled through injuries and set aside the pain for the ultimate goal of wining the championship.  This team didn’t quit.  We were down so many times this season, down in both playoff games and continued to battle. 

So many great memories from this season—watching Anthony Kelly hoisting the trophy for the first time after battling an Achilles injury, [Jeremy] Sieverts with the game winning goal in the semis and game tying two-pointer in the finals, [Drew] Snider with the winner with under a minute in the game in the finals, [John Grant Jr.] Junior’s countless behind the back goals (I’ve been on the wrong side of that for too many years), to celebrating in the locker room afterward. 

DO: What did winning the 2014 MLL Championship mean to you?

LZ: It was a very special moment for me (and my family).  I so happy to share this championship with my teammates, the fans, Mr. B, Mac Freeman, Chuck Olney and the rest of the Outlaws front office.  It’s been a long journey and that what makes this championship so sweet.    

It’s amazing the different feelings you share winning as an 11 year veteran verses the being the young guy on the 2005 Bayhawks.  I hope this is just the start of many victories for the Outlaws.  

DO: What does the city of Denver mean to you?

LZ: It’s home, it means so much being able to represent this city.  The fan base has been so supportive and so proud to share it with them.   We truly have the best fans in the MLL.

DO: What did it mean to be a team captain for the Denver Outlaws?

LZ: It’s been such an honor playing all nine seasons with the Outlaws and being apart of Denver’s first MLL title.  I’m just lucky to be able to play with such a great group of teammates over the years. 

DO: Who was one player and/or coach who really impacted your career?

Brian Reese, former coach and GM of the Outlaws.  I was so lucky that Brian traded for me prior to Denver’s first season.  I have had the privilege of following his career at the University of Maryland, to play along side with him for the Baltimore Bayhawks and play for him as a coach and GM of the Outlaws.

DO: What’s next for Lee Zink?

LZ: I have a feeling I’m going to change a lot of diapers. Kiera and I are expecting our first baby by year-end.  Also I’m grateful that I get to play one more game and spend one more weekend with the Outlaws and my teammates this fall with a scrimmage against DU.

DO: Any advice for the younger MLL pros?

LZ: It’s great seeing so many young players dedicate their careers to lacrosse.  From coaching to playing, these young guys are following in the footsteps of some of the veterans, helping and growing the MLL fan base and showcasing the talent and skill it takes to play at this level.  With their dedication and commitment, the MLL has a great future ahead and I’m lucky that I have been apart of it for 11 seasons.  One thing that made it easy to play so many years in the MLL was living and playing in the same city.






OUTLAWS DEFENSEMAN LEE ZINK ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT


DENVER – Denver Outlaws defenseman Lee Zink, a 11-year MLL veteran and two-time MLL Defensive Player of the Year, has informed the club of his intention to retire, it was announced on Tuesday.

“No one has done more to bring home the Steinfeld trophy to Denver then Lee has—nobody deserves to hold that trophy high above their head more in celebration.  He is the ultimate defenseman, the ultimate teammate and as good a human being as you will ever meet,” said Outlaws General Manager Tony Seaman.

“I attempted to walk away after the 2011 season after a lingering injury. Tony Seaman convinced me to return and renewed my focus and commitment with the goal of securing the Outlaws first championship,” said Zink.

“I have had an amazing career from my high school days at Darien High School, my college days at the University of Maryland, my two years with the Baltimore Bayhawks and the last nine years with the Outlaws.  To cap it off with a championship with the Outlaws has been a dream.”

Zink, the longest-tenured Denver Outlaw, appeared in 110 regular-season games for Denver—the most in team history—and finishes his career with 129 total career regular-season games, good for sixth in MLL history.

“It means so much being able to represent this city.  The fan base has been so supportive and I’m so proud to share the MLL Championship with them. We truly have the best fans in the MLL,” said Zink.


"Having coached lacrosse for many years, I have had the good fortune to work with many outstanding and talented people. That said, I really believe that Lee Zink stands tall among the very best to play the game and is one of finest individuals to ever wear an MLL jersey. While I am happy for Lee as he moves on to other exciting things in his life, he will be greatly missed by the Denver Outlaws and the entire MLL,” said Head Coach B.J. O’Hara.

The Connecticut native was drafted by the Baltimore Bayhawks in the first round (5th overall) of the 2004 Collegiate Draft out of the University of Maryland and came to Denver via trade from Baltimore in exchange for a second-round (13th overall) selection in the 2006 Collegiate Draft and a second-round (12th overall) selection in the 2006 Supplemental Draft.

“We knew we had acquired a great defenseman, but we had no idea how much he would mean to this organization,” said Denver Outlaws President Mac Freeman.

"It will be tough for all of us to look out there in 2015 and not see No. 29 out there in an Outlaws jersey, but the Outlaws, the MLL, and the fans are all better off for the time Lee spent on the field.”

Zink played in 15 postseason games, and won his first MLL Championship in 2005 with Baltimore. The two-time MLL Defensive Player of the Year (2012, 2013) became only the 11th player in MLL history to earn the same award in consecutive seasons after holding his one-on-one matchups to just 10 points and 10 assists in 2013.

“Lee is the ultimate professional—always prepared, takes care of his body, is as fit as anyone in the MLL, understands the game, communicates well on the field and is as good a role model as you can find in professional sports,” added Seaman.

The 11-year MLL veteran is a seven-time All-Star and won a silver medal with Team USA this summer at the 2014 FIL World Lacrosse Championships in Denver.

Zink was named to the MLL 10-Year Anniversary Team in 2010 in recognition of being one of the greatest players of the decade at his position. He was one of 40 finalists selected by a diverse group of experts who had been involved with the league since its inception, and then voted by MLL fans onto the final roster through a vote on the league’s website.

The All-American out of the University of Maryland was one of 15 finalists for the Tewaaraton Trophy as a senior, and won the Schmeisser Memorial Cup as the nation’s top defenseman. He played in 60 games (42 starts) as a Terrapin and collected 138 ground balls.



Outlaws President, GM and Head Coach Reflect on Zink

Denver Outlaws President Mac Freeman on Lee Zink:

"I can remember talking with [former Denver Outlaws General Manager] Brian Reese about how we wanted to build our team and that initial roster and Lee was one of our first targets. He was young, physical, and coming off a championship in Baltimore. He was the perfect guy to build a defense around.

“Since that trade, Lee has been a central figure in the MLL's highest winning percentage, the MLL's best home winning percentage, the MLL's first and only perfect regular season, and the 2014 MLL Championship. We knew we had acquired a great defenseman, but we had no idea how much he would mean to this organization.

"Lee was a collegiate Defensive Player of the Year, an MLL Defensive Player of the Year, an MLL Champion, but Lee is not defined entirely by what he has done on the lacrosse field. Lee has a wonderful wife, and Kiera is expecting their first child. Lee has worked hard and established a career in the oil and gas industry—all while being fully committed to the team and leading us to a Championship. He deserves every bit of success that he's enjoying.

"It will be tough for all of us to look out there in 2015 and not see No. 29 out there in an Outlaws jersey, but the Outlaws, the MLL, and the fans are all better off for the time Lee spent on the field.

"I feel lucky to have had a front-row seat to Lee's amazing career, but I feel even luckier to call him a friend."


Denver Outlaws General Manager Tony Seaman on Lee Zink:

"There are a few players throughout your coaching career who make a tremendous mark on your own career—Lee  Zink is one of those players.  The 94 USA World team had six defensemen that I always felt would be the best I ever coached and then came along Lee Zink.  During my tenure in the MLL as the Outlaws GM I've watched the best players in the game compete weekend after weekend and Lee is the best defensemen of them all.

“I've never been more impressed then the Sunday morning after this year's [2014 FIL] World Championship in Denver and seeing Lee Zink walk into our locker room to play in our MLL game vs. Florida.  Completely worn out from three weeks of practice and competition, there he was ready to defend [Launch attackman] Casey Powell at 1 p.m. that day. 

““Lee is the ultimate professional—always prepared, takes care of his body, is as fit as anyone in the MLL, understands the game, communicates well on the field and is as good a role model as you can find in professional sports.Somehow we convinced him to stay in the game three years ago when he was thinking about retiring so the last three years have been the icing on the cake for the Outlaws. 

“No one has done more to bring home the Steinfeld trophy to Denver then Lee has—nobody deserves to hold that trophy high above their head more in celebration.  He is the ultimate defenseman, the ultimate teammate and as good a human being as you will ever meet."


Denver Outlaws Head Coach B.J. O'Hara on Lee Zink:

"Having coached lacrosse for many years, I have had the good fortune to work with many outstanding and talented people. That said, I really believe that Lee Zink stands tall among the very best to play the game and is one of finest individuals to ever wear an MLL jersey. While I am happy for Lee as he moves on to other exciting things in his life, he will be greatly missed by the Denver Outlaws and the entire MLL. However, I know there are a lot of attackmen in the league who won't miss having to play against him!"


Monday, September 8, 2014

Trophy Tour



Please join us at an upcoming public appearances for your chance to celebrate the Denver Outlaws 2014 MLL Championship and see the Steinfeld Trophy. All fans will have an opportunity to take a photo with the trophy and possibly meet some of your favorite Outlaws players. Click here for a list of upcoming appearances and check back frequently as we add more stops!

Friday, September 5, 2014

DENVER CITY COUNCIL TO RECOGNIZE 2014 MLL CHAMPIONSHIP OUTLAWS WITH PROCLAMATION

DENVER –The Denver City Council has sponsored a proclamation for this Monday evening at 5:30 p.m. at Denver City Council to recognize and congratulate the Denver Outlaws for winning the 2014 MLL Championship.

City Council President Chris Herndon sponsored the proclamation, which will congratulate the Outlaws for their championship win, as well as their commitment to growing the game of lacrosse in Denver and positive impact on Denver communities.

Team Captain Lee Zink, Matt Bocklet, Dillon Roy, and Jeremy Sieverts will be in attendance to accept the proclamation. They will have the Steinfeld Trophy on site.

The official Council reference number for the proclamation is CP14-0763.

The Denver Outlaws outscored the Rochester Rattlers 6-1 in the fourth quarter to win the franchise’s first MLL Championship on Aug. 23 in Kennesaw, Ga. Drew Snider scored the game-winning goal with 56 seconds left in the game, to seal the 12-11 victory for the team and earn them the Steinfeld Trophy.

It was Denver’s fifth MLL Championship appearance in nine years as a franchise. The Outlaws are the only MLL franchise to make the playoffs in each year of existence.

Head Coach B.J. O’Hara became the only head coach in MLL history to win MLL Championships with two different teams (Rochester 2008; Denver 2014).


John Grant Jr. was named the Coca Cola Championship Final MVP for his three-goal, four-point performance. Grant is the only player in MLL history to earn back-to-back Championship MVP honors.

Monday, August 25, 2014

2014 MLL Championship Game Photos

Click here for the full album
Photo courtesy of Getty Images











MLL Championship News Coverage

Here are a collection of stories recapping the team's MLL Championship victory:

The Denver Post: Denver Outlaws win 2014 Major League Lacrosse championship

7News: Denver Outlaws win first Major League Lacrosse Championship in club history

CBS4: Denver Outlaws Top Rochester Rattlers 12-11 For First MLL Championship

Mile High Sports: Outlaws make history with first MLL Championship

Inside Lacrosse: Champs at Last: Outlaws Come Back to Beat Rattlers For First MLL Title; Grant Named MVP

Inside Lacrosse: Devitte: How the Outlaws Won, How the Rattlers Lost

Inside Lacrosse:  Devitte's MLL Championship Pregame Thoughts

Inside Lacrosse: New Year, New Team, Same Junior

Lax Magazine: The Waiting is Over: Grant Sparks Outlaws to Elusive Title

Lax Magazine: Denver Claims First MLL Title in Dramatic Fashion

Lax Magazine: Denver-Rochester MLL Title Game Leaves Footprint on Atlanta

Lax Magazine: Photo Gallery: Denver 12, Rochester 11 (MLL Final)

Lax Magazine: Familiar Storylines for Rochester-Denver MLL Championship

Major League Lacrosse: Outlaws win first MLL Championship in club history

Marietta Daily Journal: Denver rallies for MLL crown

Marietta Daily-Journal: Lacrosse title game on tap

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Denver wins MLL championship in Kennesaw

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Pro lacrosse title game may help land Atlanta franchise

Lehigh Valley Live: Denver Outlaws win Major League Lacrosse title with help from Hunterdon Central grad Justin Pennington

Rutgers Scarlet Knights: Two Rutgers Alumni Win MLL Championship


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Denver Outlaws MLL Championship Quotes

Denver Head Coach B.J. O’Hara

Opening Statement: “What a game. What a showcase for Major League Lacrosse. The two top teams in the league in a one-goal battle. I don’t think you could have drawn it up any better. Just a beautiful night.”

On being the only coach to win the MLL Championship with two teams: “That means I’m old. I’ve been around a while. I’m so happy for the Denver Outlaws organization. They do it right. I appreciate the confidence they had in me to take over this year. I inherited a great bunch of guys that were dedicated from day one to getting themselves to this game and hopefully get ourselves a trophy, and that’s exactly what they did.”

On John Grant, Jr.: “Well, that’s why we brought him to Denver in the offseason. He’s 5-5 now in MLL Championship games. Didn’t look so good there for a while – his record was going to stay. But he led the way on the offensive end, and then we had great performances at the other end by a really good defensive group and our goalkeeper. Anthony Kelly played on one leg and won us a lot of faceoffs. That’s what was able to get us back in the game was we had some possessions.”

On Denver’s comeback: “That wasn’t the game plan to get down early, I guarantee you that. We started to settle down a little bit on offense. We threw the ball away a lot early, and I think every time we turned it over in the first quarter it led to a goal at the other end. So we tried to make our possessions last a little longer, get everybody involved. We still had a little trouble getting it past John Galloway. He played a great game, and finally we had his number at the end and hit some big shots.”

On the two-point goal: “Some people who don’t know the MLL scoff at that [two-point] rule, but that’s what it can do. Such an exciting play. Jeremy Sieverts leads the league in that effort, and we’ve become used to seeing him do that. That was a huge one. Boy that was a huge one.”

Denver Attackman John Grant, Jr.

On being MVP in back-to-back Championships: “That doesn’t matter. I really wanted to help this team win. They deserve it. They’ve been so close for so many years and to finally get over that hump is something special for Mr. Bowlen all the way down to the guys who help with the towels. So this is a real big pivotal moment for this organization. And I hope there’s more to come from the Outlaws.”

On his performance: “I think I was playing pretty poorly in the first half. A lot of behind-the-backs that weren’t going in, and I was holding the ball a lot. At certain times I felt like I had a chance to help this team, and I’ve been here before, just used my experience. I tried to get the team rallying a bit. But what can I say? Our team stepped it up in the second half. Big plays from a lot of guys tonight, and we needed every man on this one. So it was a big win for us.”

On playing in Atlanta: “I’ve been playing since the very beginning of this league and this is one of the best venues I’ve ever played in. As far as the turf and the fans, it was almost like this place was built for a game like this. Two great teams played a great game, and these fans were on top of it. It was awesome. I’m glad I was here for it.”

Denver Goalie Jesse Schwartzman

On winning the Championship: “It means the world. We did this for Mr. Bowlen who is back home battling illness. He’s a tremendous owner. It’s a first-class organization from top to bottom. Unfortunately it took us eight years to do it, but it’s worth it, and I couldn’t be happier or more proud of this team. We fought all game, and we were down all game. Just the resilience and the confidence we have in each other. We stuck the course, and we won.”



Saturday, August 23, 2014

DENVER OUTLAWS WIN 2014 MLL CHAMPIONSHIP IN THRILLING FASHION


DENVER – The Denver Outlaws outscored the Rochester Rattlers 6-1 in the fourth quarter to win the franchise’s first MLL Championship. Drew Snider scored the game-winning goal with 56 seconds left in the game, to seal the 12-11 victory for the team and earn them the Steinfeld Trophy.

It was Denver’s fifth MLL Championship appearance in nine years as a franchise. The Outlaws are the only MLL franchise to make the playoffs in each year of existence.

John Grant Jr. was named the Coca Cola Championship Final MVP for his three-goal, four-point performance tonight.

Chris Bocklet started the scoring, netting a goal 19 seconds into the first quarter—the quickest goal in MLL Championship history since 2005, the earliest year statistical information was available for.

The Rattlers answered with five straight goals to close out the first quarter, and took a 5-1 lead into the second.

Domenic Sebastiani ended the scoring drought for Denver, to cut the Rochester lead to 5-2 early in the second quarter. Denver capitalized on a man-up opportunity after Rochester’s John Lade was called for pushing, as Bocklet netted his second goal of the night.

Junior continued the scoring for Denver, working the crease to sneak one by Rochester goalie John Galloway and cutting the Rochester lead to 6-4 heading into halftime.

Faceoff specialist Anthony Kelly was 8-12 (.667) in the first half, playing despite injuring his Achilles and missing the last two games before playoffs. He finished the game 14-25 (.560) on faceoffs.

Rochester scored two in the third to extend its lead to 8-4. Eric Law worked the crease, showing off some Junior-like moves, to net his first goal of the night and make it 8-5. Rochester answered with a goal of their own, but Sieverts found net to make it 9-6. Rochester added one more to end the third quarter and take a 10-6 lead into the final quarter of play.

Junior netted two goals early in the fourth, including his signature behind-the-back move, to cut Rochester’s lead to 10-8. On the team’s next offensive possession, Junior dished it off to Law in front of the goal for the team’s third goal in a row, to make it 10-9—the narrowest Rochester lead since early in the first quarter.

Rochester’s Dave Lawson netted a goal 5:18 into the fourth quarter to end the Denver scoring streak, and regain a two-goal lead.

Sieverts, who led the league in two-point goals (7) and game-winning goals (4) this season, netted a huge two-pointer from behind the arc to tie it up at 11-11 with 5:25 left in the game.

Drew Snider, who had been held scoreless throughout the game, took a huge shot from just inside the arc to give the Outlaws a 12-11 lead with 56 seconds left in the game—their first lead since early in the first quarter.

The Outlaws were able to stop the Rattlers from capitalizing on a Denver turnover, and seal the franchise’s first MLL Championship in nine years as a franchise.

Game Notes:
·        John Grant Jr. was named Coca Cola Championship Final MVP for his three-goal, four-point performance tonight.
·        Chris Bocklet’s first-quarter goal 19 seconds into the game was the fastest goal in MLL history since 2005, the first year stats with time-stamped goals were available.
·        Denver won its first MLL Championship in nine years as a franchise. It was the team’s fifth appearance in the championship game.





Live blog: MLL Champsionship

The Outlaws will be live blogging this evening's MLL Championship against the Rochester Rattlers. The game starts at 7 p.m. ET and can be watched live on CBS Sports Network.

1st quarter:
Chris Bocklet nets one 19 seconds into play--the quickest first goal in MLL Championship game history since '05 (no stats earlier than '05). 1-0 Denver.
Goal - Rochester. 1-1
Back-to-back goals for the Rattlers, to take a 2-1 lead.
Rochester scores again, 3-1.
4-1 Rochester lead with 3:35 left in the first quarter.
Rattlers score their fifth in a row, 5-1 lead.

2nd quarter:
Dom Sebastiani ends the scoring drought for Denver 5-2.
HUGE shot by Cam Holding, who is robbed by the pipes. 
Denver with a man-up opportunity after Rochester's Lade was called for pushing. 
Denver capitalizes on the man-up and Bocklet has his second goal of the night! 5-3 Rochester.
Rochester goal, 6-3. 
John Grant Jr. works the crease and nets one for Denver. Rochester challenged, but goal stands and the Outlaws cut the Rattlers lead to 6-4.

HALFTIME: ROCHESTER 6, DENVER 4

3rd quarter:
Rochester's Turri scores the first goal of the second half to take a 7-4 lead.
Rochester scores again to take a 8-4 lead.
Eric Law nets his first goal of the night, works the crease Junior-style to get one in. 8-5 Roch scores to go up 9-5.
Jeremy Sieverts with his first of the night to make it 9-6.
Roch goal, 10-6

4th quarter:
Junior starts the fourth-quarter scoring with an easy one. 10-7
Behind-the-back goal by Junior, and that's a hat trick for the 11-year MLL vet. 10-8.
Junior dishes it to Law for the team's third goal in a row. 10-9 Rochester. 
Rochester ends Denver's 3-goal scoring streak. 11-9
Sieverts with a two-point beauty to tie it up at 11-11.
Snider nets one to take a 12-11 lead with 56 seconds left.

FINAL: DENVER 12, ROCHESTER 11

DENVER WINS FIRST MLL TITLE IN FRANCHISE HISTORY