What a career - Derek Malawsky – Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Famer!
Born in New Westminster, British Columbia, Derek Malawsky began playing lacrosse at age six in the Coquitlam Minor Lacrosse Association. Lacrosse is part of the family heritage - Derek’s older brother Curt was inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2015. Of note - Derek and Curt played on the same team in 3 different leagues – Western Lacrosse Association (with New Westminster), Major Series Lacrosse (with Buffalo), and the National Lacrosse League (Rochester, San Jose, Arizona). They are regarded as one of the most competitive brother tandems in lacrosse history with both of them having played on a Mann Cup championship team (Curt in 2001 with Coquitlam and Derek with Victoria in 2003 and 2005). Now -both brothers are Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame inductees in the player category.
Having completed minor lacrosse, Derek moved up to play Junior “A” with the Coquitlam Adanacs from 1991-1994 where he excelled. In 78 games, he notched 133 goals, added 134 assists for a total of 267 points, along with spending 117 minutes in the penalty box. In 1994, Derek was a First Team All-Star and was the Top Scorer in the BCLA Junior “A” league totaling 83 points in 19 games. He also played in two Minto Cups (losing to Six Nations in 1992 and Orangeville in 1993).
Derek Malawsky went on to have a stellar career at the Senior Level playing ten full seasons in the WLA. He was a slick playmaker who was a fierce competitor savvy enough to play on both the powerplay and the penalty kill. His career included three seasons with the New Westminster Salmonbellies (1995-1997), one season with the North Shore Indians (1999), that transferred to the Okanagan Thunder (2000-2001) and five seasons with the Victoria Shamrocks (2002-2006). The Shamrocks competed in five consecutive Mann Cups. (the only WLA Team to be in 5 consecutive Mann Cups to date - winning twice).
Derek sits 5th overall in all time Mann Cup points in the WLA. The highlight of his Senior career included winning two Mann Cups with the Victoria Shamrocks (2003 and 2005). In the 164 games he played in the WLA, he scored 202 goals and added 381 assists. He was the league’s top scorer in 2000 and a first team all-star in 2000 and 2001. Derek Malawsky also played an eleventh year of Senior Lacrosse spending a season in Ontario (1998) with the Buffalo Gamblers.
Overall, Derek Malawsky played 288 games of WLA/MSL lacrosse scoring 325 goals, adding 583 assists for a total of 908 points while accumulating 482 penalty minutes.
The storied career of Derek Malawsky included playing professional lacrosse for 11 seasons, which saw him dress for Ontario Raiders (1999), Buffalo (2000 – 2001), Rochester (2002 – 2004), San Jose (2005 – 2006), Arizona (2007), Portland (2008 – 2009), and Colorado (2010). He played in three NLL Champions Cup finals - Rochester (2003), Arizona (2007) and Portland (2008). Twice selected to the NLL All-Star game. Derek continued his scoring prowess in the NLL where in 182 total games, he amassed 745 points.
In addition, Derek Malawsky was a member of Team Canada in 2002. The team won a Silver Medal at the World Championships held in Perth, Australia. Furthermore, Derek was on Team Canada winning a gold medal at the 2003 World Indoor Championship held in Toronto, Canada.
When informed he was part of the Class of 2021 for induction into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, Derek Malawsky responded - “To be honest, it caught me a bit off guard at the time of the call and then I was like this is so awesome. I’m very humbled and grateful to be recognized in such a class of individuals. It was a very rewarding lacrosse journey and I attribute my success to all my teammates, coaches and family. What a way to close the book on my playing career”.
In assessing the lacrosse career of Derek Malawsky, the evidence is abundant – he had a lengthy and successful career. He was always dangerous when the ball was in his stick. Derek played with and against some of the greatest players in the history of the game. He achieved significant personal and team success. Certainly, Derek Malawsky is worthy of induction into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in the Player category.
(Rad Joseph is a lacrosse addict who writes lacrosse stories. He compiled this profile on Derek Malawsky)