Paul Day – Highly Respected and Highly Successful
Editor's Note - The pandemic has resulted in activities across the World being delayed or cancelled for the past 20 months, including countless events in the Canadian lacrosse community. However, on Saturday, November 13, 2021 - the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame held a double cohort Induction ceremony for the years 2020 and 2021. A total of 4 players, 2 builders, 1 veteran and 1 team were inducted for each year.
This is the 7th of 16 feature articles pertaining to the most recent teams, players, builders, or veterans inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame. The following article highlights CLHOF Builder - Paul Day. As a player, Paul Day played on 3 Minto Cup teams. He has been the General Manager for the 3-time consecutive Mann Cup champion Peterborough Lakers (2017, 2018, 2019). Paul Day was inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2020 honoured in the Builder category.
Paul Day is highly respected for his success as a lacrosse player, coach, and General Manager, as well as a retired and decorated 27-year career police officer. Born in Peterborough, Ontario – Paul Day began playing lacrosse at the age of three. As a youngster, he contributed to his personal path of lacrosse success by riding his bicycle to the local library and studying 8 mm film of box lacrosse games.
Paul Day - Peterborough Lakers General Manager
Playing Junior “A” lacrosse beginning at the age of sixteen, Paul was an all round skilled and physical player who played on three Minto Cup teams with the Peterborough Maulers in 1986, 1987 and 1989. He was team captain of the 1988 Maulers team along with the 1989 Minto Cup championship team. Over six seasons of Junior “A” lacrosse, Paul played 178 games, scoring 156 goals, added with 254 assists for 410 points, along with accumulating 267 penalty minutes.
Paul spent three seasons playing Senior lacrosse - one season in Vancouver of the WLA in 1990 when the Vancouver Burrards lost in the Mann Cup to the Brooklin Redmen. He spent the 1991 season with the Whitby Steelhawks of the Canadian based NLL and one season in MSL in 1997 with the Niagara Falls Gamblers who lost in the Mann Cup to Victoria. He also played Major Indoor Lacrosse with the Buffalo Bandits.
In 1993, Paul assisted Jim Brady coaching with the St. Catharines Athletics Junior “A” team. Paul decided to start coaching and managing teams full time the next season. Paul recalls that opportunity noting - “I started coaching in the summer of 1994, as there weren’t any Senior “A” teams close to St. Catharines; I had helped Jim Brady in 1993 and thought I would love to continue in the game. I had the chance to collaborate with great people; Buff McCready one of my idols growing up and Brian Allen and Bob Luey - two outstanding lacrosse people. We went to two OLA finals losing to Orangeville; then I came out of retirement in 1997 and played for Niagara Falls where we went to a Mann Cup”.
In addition, other Canadian based lacrosse teams Paul Day coached include the St. Regis Indians in 2009. He was an assistant coach with the Brampton Excelsiors of the Major Senior League in 2010. Day was also the Assistant General Manager of the champion Team Canada Indoor team in 2007 along with taking on the role of assistant coach in 2011 and 2015. He began coaching with the Peterborough Lakers of the MSL in 2015 and since 2015 has been the team’s General Manager. (Note: The Lakers won the Mann Cup in 2017, 2018, 2019 and hope for a fourth consecutive championship when the pandemic ends and allows for a full-time return to lacrosse).
Paul Day has had a long tenure in professional lacrosse beginning as an Assistant Coach with the Rochester Knighthawks starting in 1995. He had been in the NLL for almost a quarter of a century before taking the job in Philadelphia in 2018 as the Head Coach and General Manager of the Wings. Paul has experienced immense success having appeared in the NLL finals nine times, capturing five titles as a player, coach, or General Manager.
When offering his thoughts about induction into the CLHOF, Paul commented, “This is an honour beyond belief, I look up to so many players, builders and teams that are in the Hall and have done so much for the game. As a builder this award is for all the players, coaches, equipment, trainers, and volunteers I have worked with. This is based on being around great people in the game, I learned from my parents, teachers, and coaches at an early age - great people make great teammates and this produces success. This honour also is a result of having a great family and this award is shared by children Mac and Abby and most importantly my wife Angela the strength and the pillar of our family.”
In recalling specific highlights of his life in lacrosse, Paul cited - “Growing up in Peterborough with our group of players and coaches taught me so much about being part of a team - having a role and accepting the role to help the team succeed. That group went to four Minto Cups in a row and that is the foundation for my lacrosse career. (Note: The Peterborough Maulers team of 1986-1989 was inducted into the CLHOF in 2017).
Thinking of particular people who impacted him the most, Paul proudly spoke about family and friends – “My parents Phil and Maureen Day taught me about hard work. Being the fifth of five kids my parents both worked full time and drove us all over the province for lacrosse and hockey. I know they were role models in how much hard work it takes to be successful. The coaches in Peterborough were fantastic. John Martin and Dan Dunn coached us from Pee Wee all the way through Junior “A.” They were the reason our team won at every level, and they taught me so much. Lee Vitarelli and Mark Vitarelli taught me about the management side of the game, and I continue to collaborate with them today. Bob Parry in Vancouver my first year of Senior lacrosse was a great mentor and taught me about the power of positivity and mental toughness.”
Paul Day gives special credit to Curt Styres (former owner of the NLL Rochester Knighthawks) and current owner of the Halifax Thunderbirds of the NLL. Paul fondly reflected noting his gratefulness to “the people in Six Nations where we practised for 6 years and the people from Akwesasne. It was great to be involved in the Creators game on First Nations.”
Inducted as a Builder into the Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2017, Paul Day now, quite deservedly - will become an honoured Builder into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2020.
(Written by Rad Joseph - Member of Major Series Lacrosse Media team)