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News Update 28 July 2004

Sandersons reunited in Toronto after blockbuster trade

Rock sends three players, picks to Stealth for Josh and Phil Sanderson

R.A. Philly
Outsider's Guide Editor in Chief

The Toronto Rock took a large first step on Tuesday in its redefinition process, swinging a blockbuster six-player trade with the San Jose Stealth in which the four-time champion sacrifices defense for more scoring.

The trade ultimately may be defined as stunning playmaker Josh Sanderson, whose father is Rock coach and general manager Terry Sanderson, for young goaltender Anthony Cosmo, who isn't officially part of this trade yet.

This will be the second joint stint for father and son, following Terry's run as head coach of the Albany Attack in 2000 and 2001.

Toronto paid a hefty price to acquire Sanderson, surrendering transition wizard Steve Toll, defenseman Darryl Gibson, a player to be named, and first- and second-round picks in this year's Entry Draft (before factoring in expansion, the third- and twelfth-overall selections).

The player to be named is Cosmo, whose tenure with Toronto will end after the expansion draft. As if the Rock didn't already give up enough in this trade, it must also protect Cosmo until then, thus exposing additional players.

In addition to Josh Sanderson, the Rock also gets defenseman Phil Sanderson (Terry's nephew) and forward Rusty Kruger.

"To get good stuff, you've got to give up good stuff," Terry Sanderson said. "The big thing we had to do is become a better offensive team."

There's little doubt that the Rock has improved on the front end now that Josh Sanderson is in the fold. He dished out a league-best 61 assists last season for San Jose, and has recorded 180 helpers over the past three seasons.

Kruger scored ten goals and ten assists in 2004 for the Stealth, then added six goals in a Western Division Semifinal loss to Calgary, while Phil Sanderson scooped up 66 loose balls this past season.

However, the blockbuster deal chips away another important, long-time piece of the Rock.

The trade is "the dismantling of a team that was more or less a dynasty," Toll said. "I think Toronto gave up an awful lot, and I'm a little shocked at that."

Toll recorded fifteen goals and nineteen assists last season, mainly on the fast break, for which he has made quite a name for himself.

"Steve is one of the fastest transition players in the league as well as one of the top loose-ball players in the NLL," Stealth coach and general manager Johnny Mouradian said.

"Speedin' Stevie" was one of only a handful of original Rock players left in Toronto, having been with the club since its days as the Ontario Raiders.

Ironically, one of those remaining Raiders is goaltender Bob Watson, who was slowly ceding his crease to Cosmo over the past few seasons.

Cosmo, who appeared in nine games for the Rock last season, saved 76.6 of the shots he faced and posted a league-leading 10.39 goals-against average.