Toll added to Wall of Fame
Steve Toll can trace the start of his lacrosse career to a summer day 35 years ago.
Toll, then nine years old, had a soccer game one summer afternoon before heading off to a lacrosse game later.
“We lost the soccer game 1-0 and I didn’t touch the ball and the lacrosse game we won 9-8 and I scored five goals,” he said.
That’s when Steve, Sr. weighed in.
“My dad said you’re only playing lacrosse from now on,” Toll said. “Dad, you made a great family decision that day.”
Toll was one of five new inductees who were recognized for their accomplishments in the St. Catharines Sports Hall of Fame Thursday.
Joining Toll were Buffy Alexander (rowing), John White (golf), Pat McCready (lacrosse) and Paul Papineau (softball/fastball).
Toll was appreciative of being selected.
“It’s hard to believe a nine-year-old boy wearing a turtleneck ends up here,” he said. “It’s really humbling and it’s obviously a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I’m going to enjoy the night with my family.”
Toll is certainly more than worthy of the accolades.
The 44-year-old St. Catharines native is the all-time leading scorer for the St. Catharines Junior A Athletics who he led to a 1991 Minto Cup championship. He is also a five-time National Lacrosse League champion, 2007 Transition Player of the year in the National Lacrosse League, and two-time Mann Cup champion. He was also a two-time member of Team Canada World Indoor Gold Medal team, two-time member of silver medal Team Canada World Field Lacrosse team, a gold medal winner with the Team Canada World Field Lacrosse team, and was voted to the All World Team in Australia at the World Championship in 2002.
Picking one highlight out of such an impressive body of work may have been difficult for some, but Toll was quick to answer when asked for the top moment of his sporting life.
“I would probably say I’m most happy about the 1991 Minto Cup championship,” he said. “It was right here in St. Catharines and ended a drought. Just to be in your hometown and winning the final at Garden City Arena was an experience that never happened before.”
Toll, the current coach of the Athletics, was also thrilled to be going in with McCready and Alexander.
“I played my whole life with Pat McCready and Buffy Alexander was my sister’s best friend growing up,” he said. “It’s weird.”
Toll, who shared the night with son Zack as well as members of the A’s coaching staff, executive as well as current and past players, gave a shout out to his wife, Carolyn, and 17-year-old daughter, Olivia, who had a good excuse for not attending.
“I wish my daughter and wife could be here but my daughter is at Syracuse University trying out for Team Canada with my wife,” he said proudly.
His daughter has already secured a full scholarship to the University of Louisville and he met his wife while playing for Team Canada in 2002.
Steve and Carolyn Toll are the only husband and wife to represent Canada at Field lacrosse nationals.
Still, Steve gave it up to Zack during his acceptance speech.
“Zack is the best lacrosse player in the family and if you ask him, he’ll definitely tell you,” he said.
The inductees will have their names added to the David S. Howes St. Catharines Sports Wall of Fame bringing the membership to 172.
Founded in 1990, the St. Catharines Sports Hall of Fame recognizes the accomplishments of athletes and builders who have significantly contributed to the development of sport in St. Catharines, and went on to success at provincial, national and/or international levels. To be eligible for the hall of fame, candidates must have been born or raised in St. Catharines or lived in the city during their sporting career.
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