Aaron Bold was a man with options this summer.
The 33 year-old goaltender from Victoria is a two-time NLL Champion, former finals MVP and was one of the biggest names on the free agent market.
Vancouver Warriors General Manager Dan Richardson had a fresh start to sell, a new brand to hype and a starting job to offer. Bold embraced the challenge and signed a one-year deal in September.
“Having that want factor. Having somebody say ‘We want you to play for us,’” Bold (6-foot-2, 205-lbs) said would be the determining factor in picking a new team after spending a single season with the New England Black Wolves after backstopping the Rush to three consecutive championship appearances.
“All those small little things. It’s not about a big pay raise. I’m above that now. It’s the true value of playing the game that you love and being wanted.”
Head Coach Chris Gill has set a team goal of shaving a few goals-per-game off the team’s 2018 league worst 15.38 goals-against-average. Bold allowed just 12.50 GAA last season and has averaged just 10.58 over his 13 pro seasons.
“Boldy is a true professional. He has won at all levels,” said Gill. “As a group we want to lower our goals-against-average from the previous years and Boldy will be a big part of that. Championship teams always have elite goaltending and Boldy fills that role.”
Not many goaltenders in the league have played Bold-like minutes since he became a solid starter. He’s started almost every single game over a 7 year stretch, routinely playing over 900 minutes per season. Vancouver conversely has given playing time to 12 different goaltenders in the same time span. His career record is 80 wins and 47 losses in the regular season and 13-8 in the playoffs.
In addition to the back-to-back NLL championships in 2015 and 2016, Bold also appeared on a world champion Team Canada roster in 2015, and has won the Mann Cup, Minto Cup and Presidents Cup in recent years. He’s known; along with 6 time NLL Goaltender of the Year Matt Vinc, as an innovator at his position with a fitness level that rivals any player in the National Lacrosse League. He’s one of those steady goaltenders that make it look like he’s the heartbeat of a team. If he’s dialed in, the team is dialed in.
“The best thing about it is now I don’t have to play against him,” said Warrior sniper Logan Schuss. “To have a guy with that pedigree and the winning culture that he brings – that’s the most valuable part about him.”
Culture carrying has been prerequisite for all of Dan Richardson’s free agent signings this off-season and aside from the lacrosse resume, Bold’s positivity should radiate through the locker room of a team looking for a bounce back season.
“Everyone sees on his social media that he’s such a positive role model and he brings that positive attitude everywhere goes,” said Schuss. “I think that’s what’s most exciting. That attitude and that work ethic. He’ll demand the most out of our team. He’s seen it all.”
His Instagram account @Boldy77 airs as a hybrid of The Rock, Kevin Hart and Tony Robbins – inspirational, motivational and full of gratitude. Players need to look no further to find out what kind of teammate they’re getting.
“I’m looking forward to still competing in my 14th season and to helping people and influencing people, especially in the minor systems to help to grow the game that I love,” said Bold.
“I’m closer to 30 than I am to 40. These are the years from 28 to 35 for goaltenders in the NLL, and you need somebody on your team that is a leader on the floor and off the floor but can still compete and win.”