Cam Sedgwick is the type of versatile, consistently good and team-first player every club covets.
He’s in his fifth year with the Stealth and in his eighth in the National Lacrosse League. Only Eric Martin and Curtis Hodgson have been with the team as long as Sedgwick, who turns 31 on Valentine’s Day.
``Cam is a part of our leadership group on the Stealth and, while he is not a fire-and-brimstone type of guy, the other players respect him and listen when he has something to say,’’ says coach Jeff Dowling.
Sedgwick has 79 goals and 167 assists for 246 points in 89 regular-season games in his NLL career. His work ethic makes him a player on whom a coach can depend game in and game out.
Sedgwick has a full-time job with a Vancouver company that recruits people for sales and sales management positions with high-tech companies.
He has an impressive lacrosse background. He began playing at age six in Vancouver and was MVP when the suburban Burnaby Lakers won the Minto Cup as Canadian junior champions in 1998. (Current Stealth goalie Matt Roik won the same award after Sedgwick turned pro and Burnaby got to the Canadian junior final in 2000.) Sedgwick has won the British Columbia amateur league’s MVP award each of the last two years with the Burnaby senior team. Stealth teammates Curtis Hodgson and Tom Johnson also suit up for Burnaby during the NLL offseason.
Sedgwick commutes to Stealth games with Roik, Hodgson and Travis Gillespie. He likes to read books, listen to music or catch a nap during his travel time.
``For the most part, I love it,’’ he says. ``Playing against the best players in the world is great. Sometimes the commuting can be an aggravation but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.’’
The body pays a price to compete at the highest level of one of the roughest sports on the planet. Sedgwick had ACL knee surgery 10 years ago and he’s dealt with the ankle sprains, bruises and carpet burns that are commonplace in the rugged sport.
He measures the enjoyment level of his time with the Stealth by the quality of his teammates.
``We’ve got a great group of guys,’’ he says. ``Playing with the right group of guys is paramount for me to enjoy the game. That’s the biggest thing for me.’’
Sedgwick patrols the left side of opponents’ ends of the floor, which means he works closely on the attack with captain Colin Doyle.
``I love playing with Doyle,’’ says Sedgwick. ``He’s a great player, and off the floor he’s a great guy. He’s a lot of fun to be around.’’
Sedgwick doesn’t mind at all that Doyle and Jeff Zywicki usually get more media attention than he does.
``They deserve any recognition they get,’’ he says.
Backing up the superstars are reliable vets such as Sedgwick, whose tenacious hustle and penalty killing abilities make him a Stealth stalwart. He scored two goals and assisted on one in San Jose’s Jan. 24 loss in Calgary after Dowling asked him to pick up slack on the back end created by the absences of Ryan Marshall, out one game with a suspension, and of Mike Grimes, who couldn’t play because of an injury.
``Our left-handed D was down to two players so I called Cam and told him that we needed him to play transition and he said, `Whatever the team needs me to do,’’’ Dowling explains. ``We used him in transition and on our power play and he responded with great defence and a couple of goals. It's a pleasure coaching selfless players like that.’’
Sedgwick will likely revert back to being a forward the rest of the way.
``He has a great stick and can play any spot on the power play,’’ says Dowling.
Whether a forward, a transition runner or a ball ragger during penalty kills, Sedgwick gets jobs done. A formidable challenge lay ahead on Saturday against the visiting Edmonton Rush and former teammate Rory Glaves. The two broke into the NLL with the now-defunct Vancouver Ravens.
``He’s a great shut-down guy,’’ says Sedgwick. ``It’s hard to get around him.’’
On the team’s 1-3 start, Sedgwick says ``mental mistakes got us to this point.’’
``We were expecting to be a lot better than 1-3 so that’s disappointing. But if we can overcome the mental mistakes and limit them from here on out, we should be fine. We have to use our heads and be ready to play. We’ve been coming out slow. We’ve got to be more mentally prepared.’’
As he’s proved over the years, Sedgwick will do anything to help his team succeed. That’s why he’s won so many MVP awards. He’s not looking for any awards right now. All that’s on his mind as January comes to a close is helping the Stealth get back to .500 in the standings. After that, the sky is the limit.
***Neil Stevens played box lacrosse growing up in St. Catharines, Ontario, where he attended the same high school as did Stealth GM John Mouradian. Years later, as a sports writer for The Canadian Press wire service, Stevens began covering after NLL expansion into Canada in 1998 the home games of the Toronto Rock and the league in general. In 2008, Mouradian and Stevens were inducted into the NLL Hall of Fame _ John in the builders' category and Neil as a media honouree. At the age of 61, Stevens is now retired, but still covering Rock games and writing weekly NLL columns for the wire service for distribution to daily newspapers across Canada.***