Raising #29 To The Rafters
Toronto - The Toronto Rock will raise Hall-of-Fame goaltender Bob Watson's number 29 to the rafters at Air Canada Centre on Friday, when the Rock host the Rochester Knighthawks at 7pm. The retirement of Watson's number is the first to be retired by the franchise in its 13-year existence in Toronto.
"The whole house is very excited," explained Watson when speaking of the mood at home leading up to Friday. "My daughter arranged for a limousine. They're all very excited; it's been the talk of the house for last little while. They're very proud and they're going to get an opportunity to go on the floor which they thoroughly enjoy and they're happy to see their dad's number go up to the roof."
Watson was a first ballot selection to the NLL Hall of Fame this past summer with the induction ceremony taking place last September here in Toronto. Watson wrapped up his storied playing career in May of 2011 by leading the Rock to an NLL record tying sixth Champion's Cup victory. Watson just happened to be Toronto's starting goaltender for all six titles, earning two Champion's Cup Game MVP nods in the process.
"I'm honoured to be able to retire the number with the Rock and it's fitting, he's been with the Rock since day one, and he's been there every step along the way. His loyalty to the franchise and his teammates has been unwavering and he embodies everything it is to be a member of the Toronto Rock," said Rock Owner and President Jamie Dawick. "The retirement of a players number is not something we're going to throw around lightly and number 29 is the best place to start. This cements his legacy with the franchise."
Watson is the NLL's all-time career saves leader and was twice named the Goaltender of the Year (2001 and 2008). In Whipper's final year of 2011 he surpassed the 100-career win mark as well finishing his career with 104 wins. His playoff record was even more impressive going 16-4 en route to the six championship wins.
Friday's retirement ceremony will begin approximately 15 minutes prior to faceoff and fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 6:50pm to ensure they don't miss a moment of the ceremony.
Tickets are still available for Friday night's game and for just $29 fans can sit in "Whipper's Denial District" in the lower bowl. For more information please visit www.torontorock.com or call 416-596-3075. The game will be broadcast live on TSN2 and will also be available on TSN Mobile TV.