We shared the news of Stealth captain Curtis Hodgson walking away from the NLL after 13 seasons, and the franchise paying tribute by retiring his #6 jersey. Within the past week, another two legends of the game are calling it quits after lengthy and impressive careers. Chad Culp of the New England Black Wolves and Rob Marshall of the Toronto Rock are leaving the game on their own terms.
In the same week, two boys from Arthur, ON, a town of about 2,500 inhabitants, have coincidentally decided to both walk away from their storied NLL careers on their own terms.
Farewell to a Finisher
Culp, a 15 year veteran, spent a majority of his time in a Bandits uniform, before finishing his career with the Black Wolves. After a long and well-traveled tenure, Culp has 209 games, featuring 193 goals and 312 assists for 505 points, adding 863 loose balls, to show for one memorable ride.
In 2017, his final run, he had 34 points on 14 goals and 20 assists after joining New England in a trade from the Buffalo Bandits.
The lefty forward with seemingly endless range spent years frustrating NLL defenses. Originally drafted by the New York Titans in 2003, Culp also spent a season with the Arizona Sting, five with the Minnesota Swarm, and one with the Colorado Mammoth, before his six career-defining years in Buffalo.
Aside from the NLL, Culp unofficially retired before the summer from an impressive long-term MSL career, famously with the Peterborough Lakers where he helped capture the 2012 Mann Cup. On top of his summers playing Sr. A in Ontario, Culp started his career by winning the Sr. B Rookie of the Year and MVP in 2004 with Nanaimo, before helping capture a President’s Cup Championship for Owen Sound in 2008. Culp also helped lead Team Israel to a 4th place finish in their first ever WILC appearance in 2015.
Although we’ll have to get used to not seeing Culp on the floor, the veteran has accepted a new role with the Black Wolves to keep him connected to the game. Allowing him to stay involved with the NLL, but spend more hours closer to his Ontario home where he’s raising two young children, Culp will serve as Scout for New England, looking for fresh new talent from the East.
So Long, Sheriff!
Brought into the Rock system un-drafted, Marshall made the jump from Jr. B to the NLL near seamlessly and has been a backbone of the defensive unit for the past 12 seasons. Known around the Air Canada Centre as “The Sheriff”, Marshall’s lengthy stent with the Rock earned him the title of longest reigning tenured pro athlete in the Greater Toronto Area.
Owning one ring, from the 2011 Champion’s Cup, Marshall can hang it up knowing he helped the Rock achieve the ultimate team goal. Although injury held him down in 2016, only dressing for a single game, his 159 total games, featuring 31 goals and 55 assists for 86 points, with 759 loose balls came together for one impressive career.
— Toronto Rock (@TorontoRockLax) October 11, 2017
An Ontario native, Marshall was fortunate to get his shot to not only play for his hometown team, but to represent the organization for all 12 seasons. From a small town, nearly 120 km away from the arena, Marshall reached his dreams of playing professional lacrosse and never looked back since given the opportunity to make a name for himself from the legendary Terry Sanderson, the Rock GM who gave Marshall his big break.
Over his impressive summer career in the MSL, famously with the Six Nations Chiefs, Marshall helped the organization capture back-to-back Mann Cups in 2013 and 2014. Stepping into his new career as a Child and Youth Councillor with the Upper Grand District School Board in Ontario, Marshall cites his new role as his main focus for the winter. With his professional lacrosse career naturally nearing a conclusion, Marshall has stepped away on his own terms to pursue progress through education of his local community.
Goodbye to the Greats
Marshall, Culp, and Hodgson join another three great players; John Grant Jr., Brett Bucktooth, and Karsen Leung, in retirement over the offseason. As the game continues to boom and the league keeps expanding, it’s going to be an exciting time to watch young players attempt to fill these shoes through the coming years.