For the first time in franchise history, the Vancouver Stealth are going to retire a number from the lineup and into the rafters. Following his retirement announcement, Curtis Hodgson will be immediately honored during a pre-game ceremony on February 10th. Before a showdown with the Rush, the #6 will be hoisted for all in the Langley Events Centre to see.
Fitting for a man who competed for 226 games in a Stealth uniform, over the 13 years he spent in the league, all with the same organization.
In all of those years, the fearless leader only missed 5 regular season games, won a Champion’s Cup in 2010, the first of three finals appearances. Hodgson wore the C proudly on his sweater for the past three seasons, as he has done with the New Westminster Salmonbellies in the summers.
A Leader, a Competitor, a Friend
Known as a calming veteran presence in the locker room, Hodgson has become a main staple of every team he serves for. A defenseman at heart, he wasn’t well known for what he could do in the scoring columns, but put together 105 total points in his career pushing the the tempo in transition.
His 708 looseballs can better speak for the work ethic of a leader like Hodgson.
Off the floor, Hodgson tirelessly gives back to the lacrosse community, focused on the development of future generations. Even after retirement, he’ll serve as the Director of the Stealth Lacrosse Academy and Junior Stealth program, working to keep British Columbia as a major force in box lacrosse.
“Hodgey has been a very important part of BC lacrosse for a number of years now. He has had a major role in the Junior Stealth program which has players from every organization in BC apart of it. He is a pro not only playing the game, but teaching the game and making it fun! Just because he is retiring from playing, I don’t think you will see him step away from the game as he has so much love and passion for this great sport and community.” – Vancouver and New Westminster teammate, Logan Schuss.
Setting an Example
I had the pleasure of first meeting Curtis a few years back, not long after he first stepped into the role as Stealth captain. Introduced by fellow defenseman Chris O’Dougherty, Hodgson immediately stood from his locker and outstretched a hand. Before he ever knew who I was, he was on his feet showing me respect while his mind could have been in a thousand other places to prepare for the weekend’s battle.
Even by that point in my career, I had already gotten to know a handful of lacrosse pros, but there was a unique presence about Hodgson that instantly stood out to me as one of a true leader.
Before the end of the night, multiple guys around the team had dropped in to make sure I had the chance to meet him. I’ll never forget that. He isn’t one of the guys chasing a million dollars, grooming his social media presence, or worried about his image.
He shows up and leads by example. That is his image. A leader. Silent or vocal, Hodgson has a way of taking over as a guy to pay attention to.
The Vancouver Stealth React
I reached out to a couple longtime teammates to get their thoughts and the responses came in quick. For a guy that has done a lot for others, former teammates Chris O’Dougherty and Logan Schuss were ready to share a kind word about the Captain. OD has been on the defensive backline with Hodgey as long as he’s been in the NLL and Logan has been under his leadership since entering the WLA and his sophomore season in the NLL.
How did it feel to hear that Hodgson, your captain and teammate, was retiring from the NLL after 13 seasons?
“When I first heard, I was kinda shocked because I can’t imagine the locker room without him. When I think of the Stealth, I think of Hodgey, but he left a lasting impression on not only his teammates, but our whole organization!” – OD
“I was definitely upset. I’ve played my entire Sr. A lacrosse career with Curtis as a member of the Salmonbellies and most of my NLL career with him being my captain with the Stealth. It was also a surprise because Hodgey was one of our strongest and most savvy veteran D guys. If it wasn’t for work commitments, I think he could definitely play a few more years!” – Schuss
What was it like to learn that his #6 will serve as the first retired Stealth number?
“The perfect end to a storybook career and there is no better person/player to have the first number hanging with our banners!” – OD
“I don’t think there is anyone more deserving to have their jersey be the first retired in Stealth history. On and off the floor, Hodgey has carried himself as a proud member of the Stealth and is someone that I looked up to as a player and person.” – Schuss
Can you share a memory of playing with him? It can be a story or the general feeling of suiting up with him.
“Like all my teammates, Hodgey spent a lot of time teaching me the indoor game. I have lots of stories, but the lessons he has taught me go way beyond the floor.
Well, there is one story that comes to mind… I just got a highlight reel goal scored on me by [John Grant] Jr. I remember running to the bench and Hodgey putting his hand on my back and said, ‘don’t worry, OD, we all have been there…’ Haha!” – OD
“Anytime Curtis crossed the midline, you know he was taking it to the rack. Goalies around the NLL can sleep at night now knowing they won’t have to face his patent Twister shot in transition.
Hearing It From Hodgson
Congratulations on the honor, Curtis. Can you share a memory that stands out as one of your fondest with the Stealth?
My fondest memory was winning the Champions Cup with the Stealth in 2010. My favourite memories are the friendships and connections I’ve been fortunate to make with players and coaches from all over North America, both young and old.
I’m sure becoming Captain was a huge moment. What was the feeling of first earning the C for the Stealth?
It was a huge honour to be given the opportunity to be captain. I have been fortunate to have played my entire career with the Stealth organisation and have been through good and bad times with them. I appreciated being able to share and role model what I thought were successful professional habits and work to create a locker room that was committed to winning, supportive, and fun to be apart of.
After all you put into the team, can you describe your initial reaction to learning that your #6 would be the first Stealth jersey to be retired?
I was very humbled to learn I would be the first player to have his number retired for the Stealth. My family and I are very grateful for the recognition and were quite frankly emotional about the gesture. The organisation has been first class since I became involved with them in 2004 and I am proud to have represented them for the last 13 years.
It really seems like they’ve been a huge part of your life. How do you plan to stay involved with the Stealth moving forward?
I am lucky to be staying with the Stealth in two new roles. I will be working as Director of Player Development with management and coaches as well as Director of our Jr Stealth Program. Both roles allow me to stay connected with the game and teach/mentor younger players and grow the game of lacrosse.
Since you have to pass on the torch, what’re your thoughts on Matt Beers taking over as the leader of the team?
Matt Beers is a good friend and a great choice to take the reigns as captain of the Stealth. He is a natural leader and role model that possesses a great passion for the game of lacrosse. He will be a fantastic captain and leader for the Stealth.
I want to thank Curtis, Logan, OD, and the Stealth organization for their quickness to help with the article.