New England Black Wolves forward Ryan Ward has formally announced his retirement after 11 seasons in the National Lacrosse League.
“I have been contemplating my retirement for several months but found it difficult to announce as I feel I still have the ability to play at a high level,” Ward, 34, said in a prepared statement. “But if I am honest with myself, I realize I no longer possess the passion to prepare, train, travel and dedicate the time it takes to perform at the highest level. I realize that my stronger desires lie with spending time with my young family. I am ready to develop this chapter of my life.” Ward finishes his productive career 19th on the NLL all-time scoring list with 678 points while ranking 15th in assists (431) and 28th in goals (247).
“We would like to congratulate Ryan on his outstanding career, as well as his time with us,” said Black Wolves head coach Blane Harrison. “We wish him a happy and fulfilling retirement.” Ward was drafted by the Philadelphia Wings with the third overall pick in the first round of the 2003 NLL Entry Draft.
After 1.5 seasons in Philly, the two-time NLL All-Star spent over four years with the Minnesota Swarm from 2005-2009 then played four seasons with the Edmonton Rush (2010-2013) before returning east as an unrestricted free agent prior to last season. The high-scoring forward was a model of consistency in the NLL as he posted at least 56 points in each of his past nine seasons including six 20-plus goal campaigns.
His productivity carried into his final season in 2014 where he recorded 60 points (14+46), which ranked fourth on the team while he tied for first with 46 assists, in 17 games played.
“I love lacrosse and it is definitely a huge part of who I am,” Ward said. “I will still be actively involved in the sport with my company, Twin Cities Lacrosse, as well as coaching high school lacrosse and my own kids. I would like to thank my wife for supporting my ‘road-warrior’ professional lacrosse career as well as my family, for dedicating so much of their time & efforts to the sport through the years. I would be remiss if I did not thank all my coaches that played such a valuable role in my success these past 31 years. Lastly, I would like to thank my teammates, it has been an honor as well as a privilege competing with all of you.”