The Stealth's 'Iron Man' Curtis Hodgson patrols the floor during a 2013 game at Comcast Arena. (Photo: Richard Olson)
Curtis Hodgson (Photo: Richard Olson)
EVERETT, Wash. -- In baseball it’s Cal Ripken. Football has Brett Favre. Basketball’s A.C. Green kept on playing. And who could forget hockey-great Doug Jarvis?
And in lacrosse, on a chilly February night in New York, defender Curtis Hodgson stepped onto an NLL floor for the sixth time in his ninth professional season.
For the Stealth, scrapping to stay ahead of the pack in the hyper-competitive NLL West, it was an early-season bout against the defending NLL champs.
But for Hodgson, the game would prove historic – making the Burnaby, British Columbia native the Stealth’s new ‘Iron Man’.
Appearing in a franchise-record 133rd game dating back to 2005, Hodgson, who has played his entire career with the Stealth organization, was about to surpass his former teammate Gary Rosynski (2000-08) as the team’s most durable contestant.
“It sort of snuck up on me,” Hodgson told host Jeff Aaron of Everett’s KRKO 1380 AM last week. “I’ve been lucky to stay healthy my whole career and been fortunate to stay with the Stealth my whole career,” he said.
“Doug Locker (Stealth GM) and I were talking about it the other day and how it goes by in the blink of an eye.”
A force on the Stealth defense, the one-time free agent signee has 477 loose balls in a career that has given opponents fits while delivering 29 goals and 46 assists for 75 points.
In that time, Hodgson has stayed both healthy and motivated despite the rugged demands of an NLL season.
Missing just one game, the opener in 2010, Hodgson went on to play the remaining 15 games of that regular season and all three playoff contests as the Stealth forged its way to the NLL Championship.
“I always tell CH (Stealth Coach Chris Hall) it was the best thing he ever did for me,” Hodgson said. “(Sitting out the 2010 opener) re-lit a fire from under me. It was one of those years where everything fell into place.“
A social studies and PE teacher at the Byrne Creek Secondary School in Burnaby, B.C., Hodgson is in it for the love of the game, balancing a professional teaching career with the week-to-week demands of the NLL.
And after so many productive years in the NLL, many wonder how much longer Hodgson plans to hang around this league.
For Hodgson it’s simple.
“I enjoy the game. I enjoy coming to the rink everyday. I’m motivated.”
And he’s showing no sign of slowing down.
“As long as I stay healthy, enjoy the game and can contribute I will continue to play.”