New York Atlas captain and future Hall of Famer Tucker Durkin retires from professional lacrosse

By Lauren Merola | Mar 14, 2024

Tucker Durkin, the 2017 MLL Defensive Player of the Year and six-time All-Pro, has retired from professional lacrosse.

Durkin joined the New York Atlas in their inaugural year in 2019 and was an immediate difference-maker, grabbing a PLL-career-high 18 ground balls. In his five-year PLL career, Durkin nabbed 53 ground balls and caused 22 turnovers in 42 games as a mainstay of the Atlas defense. 

“When I picked up a stick 25 years ago, I couldn’t have imagined where this game would take me,” Durkin said in a statement. “Absolutely none of this would have been possible without the love and support of so many people. My family, friends, coaches, teammates, fans, trainers — from the bottom of my heart, thank you!”

As a captain on the Atlas, Durkin was both the air traffic controller on the field and off, orchestrating the defense down low and mentoring younger players at all hours. 

“In 40 years of coaching lacrosse I have never seen or been part of a team who was led by a better, finer captain than Tucker Durkin,” Atlas coach Mike Pressler said. “His leadership on the field, his impact in the locker room made the Atlas go for so many years.”

Durkin was the third pick by the Hamilton Nationals in the 2013 Major League Lacrosse Draft. He played six years in the MLL, one with the Nationals and five with the Florida Launch, before its merger with the PLL. 

Over his entire professional lacrosse career, the defenseman caused 49 turnovers, grabbed 191 ground balls, had two assists and scored two goals in 123 games. But no stat can relay how it felt to get bodied trying to run through, around or away from Durkin. He spent 37 total minutes in the penalty box, and will perhaps be most remembered for his hard-nosed, physical play.

“For so much of his pro career he was one of the most elite, best cover, close defenseman that our league has ever seen,” Pressler said.

In 2017, Durkin was named the MLL’s Defensive Player of the Year. He was also a member of the U.S. National Team at both the 2014 and 2018 World Games. At the 2014 games, Durkin was named the Most Outstanding Defenseman.

Durkin retires a gold medalist (2018) and future Hall of Famer, but “in the end, Tucker will always be remembered as ‘da captain’ and just an even better man,” Pressler said.

“While it is never easy to let go, I am confident in my decision as I am ready to turn the page and focus on the next chapter of my life,” Durkin said. “I look forward to attacking it with the same level of intensity that I did as a player.”