Faceoff legend Greg Gurenlian announced his retirement today from the Premier Lacrosse League, playing in the inaugural PLL season after coming out of retirement from leaving Major League Lacrosse in 2017.
Greg Gurenlian Retires From PLL
About His Career
The seemingly ageless 30-something that seemed to get better the older he got, has been one of the most dominant faceoff midfielders to ever play the sport of lacrosse. Gurenlian was notorious for wiping the floor with the opposition throughout his pro lacrosse career, particularly during his time in Major League Lacrosse.
Gurenlian spent the last 8 years of his MLL career with the current New York Lizards franchise, where he set the MLL record for most groundballs in a season in 2015, most faceoff wins in a season and for the highest-ever faceoff win percentage in a season. Gurenlian was named the league-MVP as the Lizards took home the MLL championship that year. He made the MLL All-Pro team six times and was an all-star five times.
During his career with the Premier Lacrosse League, Gurenlian was named a 2019 PLL All-Star, representing Redwoods LC.
Gurenlian also was a major figure on the international level, having won the gold medal at the 2018 World Games and setting the record for faceoff win percentage in a world game at 81%.
Greg Gurenlian is the co-founder of the Faceoff Academy, and has mentored some of the top faceoff men in the game today including Trevor Baptiste.
Gurenlian is largely credited with revolutionizing the faceoff position and setting a standard for dominant faceoff men to have followed him. He is currently the only player to be named MVP of the MLL at the faceoff position.
Thank You From Lacrosse
While Greg has changed the sport of lacrosse from a faceoff perspective — his dominance and subsequent similar players have shaped a discussion about changing faceoff rules or eliminating the draw completely — Gurenlian has been known to be one of the most incredible people. I have never met Greg personally but have heard great things. In an article by Andrew Bracy — a former star faceoff midfielder at the Division III level and former MLL player — for Lacrosse All Stars, he had this to say about Gurenlian:
After going out to the field and shaking hands with one of the friendliest guys I’ve ever met in my life, I then partook in what was my favorite lacrosse experience ever from the player-at-a-clinic perspective under Gurelian’s Face Off Academy tutelage. From the get-go, Gurenlian was both incredibly friendly, personable and just a flat-out fun guy for all of the players there but also very straightforward with what the expectations were:
Andrew Bracy, as seen on Lacrosse All Stars
Although Bracy had only met Gurenlian once at this point, I know there are countless others in pro lacrosse that share similar sentiments.
Reactions To Greg’s Retirement
— Nat St. Laurent (@NatStLaurentPLL) January 22, 2020
Blessed to have been able to suit up with and get to know our guy @GregBeast32 this season. Left it all out there everytime, till the clock hit zero in the championship. An example on and off the field that I can always look up too. Thanks for everything, beast ✊🏽 https://t.co/IPLaA08yMM
— Jules Heningburg (@Julesheningburg) January 22, 2020
What a career. Thank you, @GregBeast32, for everything you did for us!!
Roll Woods 🐻🌲 pic.twitter.com/H7YmP7ROUr
— Redwoods Lacrosse Club (@PLLRedwoods) January 22, 2020
From me, personally, it has been incredibly enjoyable to watch Gurenian play over the years. I believe that his dominance at the faceoff-X has been one of the more interesting storylines in not only lacrosse but in pro sports in general over the last number of years. In an age of versatility in sports, there are few positions left that are that specialized that can have that same impact on the outcome of a game that I am aware of. For the amount of time that most faceoff midfielders spend on the field compared to other positions in any other sport, their impact can be incredible and can dominate a game’s result depending on their performance. Greg was one of the best and his legacy will certainly be remembered. Enjoy retirement, Greg!