Vinc comes home
There’s no place like home.
After eight seasons and three National Lacrosse League championships in Rochester, Matt Vinc has joined the Buffalo Bandits.
The unrestricted free agent signed a three-year deal with the Bandits and admitted the proximity to his St. Catharines home was the overriding factor in the decision.
“I had an opportunity to look and put myself in the best position for myself and my family. Buffalo is a great fit with a great organization,” Vinc said. “It close to home and easy for my family to attend games.”
Vinc, a 36-year-old teacher at Denis Morris, said spending more time with his wife Lisa and two-year-old daughter, Lily, tipped the scales in favour of the Bandits.
“When you get older, they (family) start to play a little bit more of an important role,” he said. “Your priorities change, especially when you have a wife and kid at home. You don’t want to be away that much. They sacrifice a lot during the course of the year so you want to be able to spend as much time with them and I want them to be a big part of the lacrosse. Being so close, they’re going to be able to attend a lot of games.”
Vinc is one of the most decorated goaltenders in NLL history.
A 13-year veteran, Vinc is a three-time NLL champion and the defending NLL Goaltender of the Year. He also owns the league’s all-time postseason records for minutes and saves and is the active leader in regular-season minutes and saves. He is a six-time NLL Goaltender of the Year (2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018) and a seven-time All-Pro, including six first-team selections.
Much of that success came with the Knighthawks, which made the decision to leave Rochester difficult.
“Rochester is a special place for me,” said Vinc, who won a pair of Minto Cups as a member of the St. Catharines Athletics in 2001 and 2003. “I’ve played the majority of my career there and had most of my success in the NLL with personal awards and the championships. I have a lot of people who I call my best friends there. I was treated great.
“This was probably the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my entire life. Saying goodbye to a lot of those coaches and teammates and management and fans, those were tough conversations.”
Vinc joins St. Catharines natives Steve Priolo, Alec Tamas and Mark Steenhuis on the Bandits.
“(I think we have) the opportunity to hopefully do something special and win a championship. I think they have all the tools,” Vinc said.
In his 13 seasons with the Rochester Knighthawks, New York/Orlando Titans and San Jose Stealth, Vinc has compiled a 98-81 regular-season record with a .782 career save percentage and a 10.87 goals-against average. In the postseason, he has registered a 19-10 record, a .779 save percentage and a 10.65 goals-against average.
A product of Canisius College, where he played defence, Vinc was selected by the San Jose Stealth in the first round (sixth overall) of the 2005 NLL Entry Draft.
The Bandits open the 2018 season Saturday at Toronto.
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