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Longtime local lacrosse trainer retiring after 21 years

A longtime trainer and equipment manager for Huntsville’s junior lacrosse team has retired.

The Huntsville Jr C Hawks honoured Daryl “Gus” McLaughlin at a team banquet last week, as he hung up the pads and sticks after 21 years in the sport.

“I do it for the love of the game, I always have,” says McLaughlin. “I’ve been with a lot of teams over the years, and it’s opened some doors. I’ve met some unbelievable people. I definitely don’t do it for recognition, that’s for sure, but this is quite the honour. I’m speechless.”

McLaughlin’s record includes seven wins for Team Ontario in the Lacrosse Canada National Championships, working with Team Canada on multiple occasions, and training Team Ireland for the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship. He recently returned from Germany for the European Box Lacrosse Championships.

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“That’s it, I’m done this year, let it be known I’m not doing anymore,” McLaughlin jokes. “I just want to go and watch this great game, and that’s it. I’ve done enough now, and I have retired from work too, so I just want to travel around and watch lacrosse.”

Although he’s been involved in the sport for several decades, McLaughlin says he’s mostly stayed on the sidelines.

“When I’d seen my very first game 34 years ago, I almost cried because I never got to play it and I fell in love with it,” says McLaughlin. “I remember when my son was born, my wife said ‘are you going to make him play hockey?’ And I said ‘no, but he will play lacrosse.”

According to McLaughlin, there are few places like Huntsville when it comes to passion for the sport. Jack Bionda, namesake of the arena where the Hawks play, was a dominant name in lacrosse through the 1950s and 60s.

“For a small town, I’m not sure what the count is but it’s either six or seven from Huntsville that are in the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame,” says McLaughlin. “You think about how small this town is, and to have that many in the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, that says something right there.”

While he’s happy to move on, McLaughlin says he’ll look fondly on the time he spent on the sport.

“I wouldn’t trade a moment of it for anything else,” he says.

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