December 22, 2011

NLL Teams Announce Rosters for 2012

from press releases

The National Lacrosse League's nine teams each announced their final 23-player rosters for the 2012 season on Thursday.

Buffalo Bandits

The Bandits return 17 players from their 2011 squad including veterans Mark Steenhuis and John Tavares. Six new faces will fill out the roster: forwards Kevin Buchanan, Mat Giles and Luke Wiles, transition players Kyle Sweeney and rookie Jeremy Thompson, and rookie defenseman Jeff Cornwall.

Forwards (9): Kevin Buchanan, Chad Culp, Brandon Francis, Mat Giles, Tracey Kelusky, Frank Resetarits, John Tavares, Roger Vyse and Luke Wiles.

Transition (6): Jon Harasym, Tom Montour, Jimmy Purves, Mark Steenhuis, Kyle Sweeney and Jeremy Thompson.

Defensemen (6): Jeff Cornwall, Ian Llord, Steve Priolo, Scott Self, Billy Dee Smith and Chris White.

Goalies (2): Angus Goodleaf and Mike Thompson.

Injured Reserve (IR): Darryl Gibson.

Physically Unable to Perform (PUP): Dwight Bero and Kyle Clancy.

The three players to be assigned to the team's practice squad will be announced at a later date.

Colorado Mammoth

The Colorado Mammoth announced today that the team has named its final 23-player roster, headlined by all-star forward John Grant Jr. Since the start of training camp, the coaching staff has been responsible for trimming the active roster by more than a dozen. "It took three weekends of [training] camp, and hours of film study, to determine which group of players we believe gives us the best chance to win the Champion's Cup," said Mammoth Head Coach Bob Hamley. "Now, I'm anxious for Opening Night!"

Colorado opens the 2012 regular season at home on HealthONE Field at Pepsi Center against the Minnesota Swarm on Saturday, January 14 at 7pm MST. The Mammoth roster includes four former Swarm players, including three who played for Minnesota a season ago.

Three left-handed forwards made the Mammoth team: Grant Jr., Adam Jones and Jamie Lincoln. Gavin Prout (the franchise's all-time leading scorer), Sean Pollock, Derek Hopcroft and Jordan McBride make up the right-handed offense.

Returning transition players Ilija Gajic (L) and Jed Prossner (L) are joined by newcomers Cameron Holding (L), Mat MacLeod (R), and Scott Stewart (R). John Gallant (L), Jarett Park (R), and Matt Leveque (R) are the lone holdovers from last year's defense. Joining them are lefties John Orsen, Creighton Reid, and Rory Smith, and righties Jon Sullivan and Dan Coates.

Goaltender Chris Levis, who led the West Division with a 9.99 goals-against average in 2011, is accompanied between the pipes by rookies Tye Belanger and Dan Lewis.

2011 NLL Entry Draft selections Joey Cupido (5th round) and Jovan Miller (6th round) have been assigned to the Mammoth's practice squad, while veteran transition player Nick Carlson has been released.

Forward Alex Gajic and defenseman Ian Hawksbee were placed on the Physically Unable to Perform List. Gajic, who suffered an eye injury this summer, practiced with the team in Washington last weekend. Hawksbee, who endured a lower-body injury prior to training camp, is expected to be ready to play on Opening Night.

Forward Joel Dalgarno has been placed on the Holdout List, as he is unable to suit up for Colorado this year. The 25-year-old recently earned a position with the Coquitlam (British Columbia) Fire and Rescue Department, and will endure a six-month probationary period with the response team. He is expected to rejoin the Mammoth for the 2013 season.

The 2012 active roster is comprised of just eight players who finished last season with the Mammoth. Five of Colorado's eight selections in the 2011 NLL Entry Draft made the team, while two others have been named to the practice squad.

Colorado, which rallied late in the season to make the playoffs for the eighth time in the franchise's nine years in Denver, lost in the 2011 West Division semifinals to the NLL regular-season champion Calgary Roughnecks. That, says Mammoth President & General Manager Steve Govett, is not good enough.

"Our goal every year is to win the championship in front of our great fans at Pepsi Center."

Calgary Roughnecks

The Calgary Roughnecks announced today their roster for the upcoming 2012 National Lacrosse League season. The final roster includes six new players with 18 names returning from the 2011 season.

The returning players include 2011 MVP and Transition Player of the Year Jeff Shattler; 2011 Rookie of the Year Curtis Dickson; Kaleb Toth; Dane Dobbie, last season's team-leading goal scorer (34g); Daryl Veltman; and captain Andrew McBride. Toth, currently on the Physically Unable to Perform List, allows for an additional protected player on the Roughnecks roster.

"We have a solid core of veterans returning from last season and, in keeping with our philosophy of injecting youth into our line-up, we have some new young faces who can step into the league," said Calgary Roughnecks General Manager Mike Board. "We have had a very competitive training camp and, with two scrimmages, have been able to evaluate players in game situations which is critical. We believe we have a good blend of experience and youth that will help us achieve our goal of returning the Champion's Cup to Calgary."

Among the six new faces are three of Calgary's five 2011 NLL Entry Draft selections: Travis Cornwall (first round, seventh overall), Greg Harnett (second round, 11th overall) and Frankie Scigliano (second round, 18th overall).
 Shawn Evans, a Rochester Knighthawks' acquisition, along with 2011 Dispersal Draft (Boston Blazers) picks Geoff McNulty and Nick Rose complete the Roughnecks roster.

2012 roster:

Carnegie, Mike D
Carnegie, Scott D
Conway, Cory O
Cornwall, Travis T
Dickson, Curtis O
Dobbie, Dane O
Evans, Shawn O
Harnett, Greg D
Harnett, Jon D
Heavenor, Nolan T
Kilby, Mike D
MacRae, Dan D
Manning, Curtis T
McBride, Andrew D
McFetridge, Peter T
McNulty, Geoff O
Poulin, Mike G
Ranger, Scott O
Rose, Nick G
Scigliano, Frankie G
Shattler, Jeff O
Snider, Geoff T
Toth, Kaleb O
Veltman, Darryl O

Edmonton Rush

The Rush are coming off one of the busiest off-seasons in club history, as General Manager/Head Coach Derek Keenan orchestrated numerous trades and signings to set up his roster. While looking at the future by acquiring six high draft picks via trades, Keenan sought to instantly improve the Rush lineup and did so by picking up a trio of new goaltenders, a top sniper, and three solid defenders.

Those new players will join forces with several returning players as the Rush go in search of a return to the NLL playoffs, and a shot at their first Champion's Cup.

"We made some moves that have drastically changed our team, but I strongly feel like we're a deeper team and I believe a better team as well," noted Keenan.

"Scoring and goaltending were issues we needed to address and that has been accomplished, and given the opportunity to improve our defense, we felt they were equally important acquisitions."

Up front, the Rush recently re-signed Ryan Ward who was the club's leading scorer during the 2010 campaign and a key figure in Edmonton advancing all the way to the West Division final. Ward, a two-time 30-goal scorer, finished second on the Rush last season in scoring with 58 points and was second in goals with 25.

The Rush are anchored on offense by Corey Small, last season's leading point-producer with 63 points, along with Scott Evans, a mid-season acquisition in 2011, who proved to be a valuable power forward, topping the team with 27 goals and 54 penalty minutes.

Off-season trades brought the Rush a pair go-to figures on offense. The Rush landed Aaron Wilson in a multi-player deal with Minnesota, and the two-time 40-goal scorer should bring some spark to the Rush.

The Rush will also count on newly acquired Shawn Williams, the former Rochester top gun who finished eighth in NLL scoring last season with 77 points. The veteran forward has an elite-level resume including a pair of 90-point seasons, three 40-goal campaigns, and has eclipsed 50 assists in a season five times.

Jimmy Quinlan, the Rush's all-time leading scorer, returns to his home-town team for a seventh season. The Sherwood Park, Alberta, product has missed just one game over his Rush tenure, and will continue to provide the club with solid transitional play along with intense emotional leadership.

Quinlan is joined on the Rush's transition/defense corps by a cast of new faces and blossoming stars including Brett Mydske, one of the NLL's top young players who represented the Rush and won gold with Team Canada at the 2011 World Indoor Lacrosse Championship. Among the other returnees at the back for the Rush are veteran Derek Suddons, Tyler Codron, and last season's strong rookies John Lafontaine and Jarrett Toll.

Among the new members of the Rush defense are Chris Corbeil, an off-season acquisition from Buffalo who registered 121 loose balls in 2011, Dispersal Draft pick-up Kyle Rubisch.

The Rush have entirely revamped their goaltending for the 2012 season, bringing in three new faces to stand between the pipes. All three players were involved in multi-player trades this past summer including Brodie Macdonald, one of the top netminding prospects in the NLL, who came over from Philadelphia as part of the package exchanged for Brodie Merrill. Meanwhile, Aaron Bold joined Shawn Williams in coming to the Rush from Rochester, and Kevin Croswell was picked up in the same deal with Minnesota that brought Aaron Wilson to Edmonton.

Minnesota Swarm

The Swarm will head into the season opener with 11 returning veterans and 12 new faces on the roster. Among the new players this season are four of the team's 2011 draft picks; three veterans acquired this offseason and five rookie free agents.

Swarm Owner and President John Arlotta said, "We made a conscious decision following the 2011 season to reconfigure our roster, and everyone from coaches, scouts, and our Associate GM have worked hard to put this team together. With so many new players, they have worked equally hard during training camp to integrate these players into the Swarm system. I think our fans will really enjoy this group of players because they have shown in our scrimmages and exhibition games that they are going to be playing an exciting, never give up brand of lacrosse during the 2012 season."

"We're very excited about our 23-man roster and three practice squad players," Associate General Manager Joe Sullivan said. "The guys really pushed each other during training camp and the team's camaraderie is considerably higher than I ever thought it would be this early on."

The Swarm's roster is headlined by the return of F Ryan Benesch, who became the first player in team history to lead the NLL in scoring after posting a career-high 95 points (46g, 49a) last season. Benesch will anchor the team's left-side and is joined by righty F Callum Crawford (the franchise's record holder for points in a single season), lefty vets Kevin Ross and Jamie Shewchuk, and rookies Corbyn Tao (R), Jay Card (R) and Joel Henry (L).

This offseason, Minnesota made it a priority to add defensive and transition players. The team addressed both of those areas by acquiring T Greg Downing, D Mitch Belisle, D Jeff Gilbert and selected T Jordan MacIntosh with the fourth overall section in the 2011 NLL Entry Draft. MacIntosh will handle the team's faceoff duties along with T Andrew Suitor, who was an NLL All-Rookie Team performer in 2011. Returning on transition with Suitor are Andrew Watt, Rich Morgan and Tyler Hass, who also made the All-Rookie Team last year.

At the goalie position, seven-year Swarm veteran G Nick Patterson returns, and is joined by rookies Evan Kirk and Tyler Carlson. "We have three goalies on our 23-man roster that have all played absolutely outstanding in training camp," Sullivan said.

Joe Cinosky and Matt Kelly are the team's two defensemen back from last season and are joined by rookies Dan Ball, Nik Bilic, and Brendon Doran.

Minnesota placed two of its 2011 draft picks - F Todd Baxter and F Pat Smith - on the practice squad. Baxter is a Minnesota native (Eden Prairie) and played collegiate lacrosse at Denver University, where he made it to the Final Four in the 2011 NCAA Division I Tournament. The team also added free agent D Joe Wasson to the practice squad.

Forwards (7) – Ryan Benesch, Jay Card, Callum Crawford, Joel Henry, Kevin Ross, Jamie Shewchuk, Corbyn Tao.

Defensemen (7) – Dan Ball, Mitch Belisle, Nik Bilic, Joe Cinosky, Brendon Doran, Jeff Gilbert, Matt Kelly.

Transition (6) – Greg Downing, Tyler Hass, Jordan MacIntosh, Rich Morgan, Andrew Suitor, Andrew Watt.

Goalies (3) – Tyler Carlson, Evan Kirk, Nick Patterson.

Practice Roster (3) – F Todd Baxter, F Pat Smith, D Joe Wasson.

Philadelphia Wings

The roster is drastically different than the team the Wings opened with last year and features 10 new players, headlined by offseason acquisitions Dan Dawson, Brodie Merrill and Kevin Crowley in addition to top returnees Max Seibald, Jeff Reynolds and Brandon Miller.

"Over the last two years we've made some significant roster adjustments and have added 18 new players since the 2010 season," said Wings General Manager and Head Coach Johnny Mouradian. "We now feel we have a solid opportunity to compete and pave the way toward the Champion's Cup."

Forwards (8): Brendan Mundorf, Dan Dawson, Kevin Crowley, Ned Crotty, Drew Westervelt, Bill McGlone, Matt Danowski, Mike Hominuck

Transition (3): Brodie Merrill, Max Seibald, Dave Brock

Defensemen (9): Brett Manney, Joe Smith, Jordon Sealock, Jeff Reynolds, Pat Heim, Thomas Hajek, Jeff Bigas, Ryan McFadyen, Paul Dawson

Goalies (3): Brandon Miller, Kurtis Wagar, Stephen Fryer

Injured Reserve (IR): Steve Grossi Jr.

Physically Unable to Perform (PUP): Steve Holmes, Matt Alrich

Additionally, the team has announced that Eric Hoffman, Jim Forsythe and Matt Stefurak will be placed on the team's practice roster.

Rochester Knighthawks

Rochester is headlined by All-Rookie Team selection and 2011 team leading scorer Cody Jamieson and back-to-back NLL Goalie of the Year Matt Vinc. The Knighthawks will open their 18th season in the National Lacrosse League on Saturday, January 14th at 7:00 p.m. when they battle the Philadelphia Wings at the Wells Fargo Center. Rochester defeated Philadelphia 11-8 on December 11th as part of a 2-0 preseason.

"It was very competitive and the guys have one focus, one common goal and that is to go after a championship," said Knighthawks Owner and General Manager Curt Styres.

The Knighthawks return 16 players from last season, including forward Craig Point who was placed on the injured reserve list. Ten new players have been infused into a team that finished tied for first in the East Division last season.

Rochester's offense features returnees Mike Accursi, Jamieson, Joe Walters, Cory Vitarelli and Jarrett Davis. The Knighthawks have three new additions to the offense in Alex "Kedoh" Hill, Stephen Keogh and Johnny Powless. Keogh (second overall) and Powless (fifth overall) are two of the team's top three picks from September's NLL Entry Draft that made the team. Hasen plans to spread the ball this season, which was apparent in the preseason home game as 10 different players scored goals in the 19-15 victory over Minnesota.

"We are all about team," said Knighthawks Head Coach Mike Hasen. "We don't want opponents to be able to focus on one player. We want them to worry about the total team."

In transition, the Knighthawks have Jordan Hall back after winning the 2011 NLL Sportsmanship Award. Hall missed six weeks of the season last year, but still finished with 40 points in 12 games. Rochester added veteran Brad Self to the mix and he showed his versatility in his preseason debut on December 17th, scoring three goals and collecting two assists.

"He brings another element to the game. The game has changed where you need a player that can play tough defense and bury it on offense," said Hasen earlier this week.

The defense is anchored by the return of 2011 NLL Defensive Player of the Year Pat McCready. Seven other Knighthawks are back from 2011, including 11-year pro and Penfield native Chris Schiller. Sid Smith, Kyle Laverty, Scott Campbell, Tyler Burton, Dylan Evans and Rory Glaves rejoin Schiller and McCready. McCready shared 2011 team Defensive Player of the Year honors with Smith. Newcomers to the backend are Mike Kirk, Travis Hill and 10th overall pick Joel White. McCready will set the tone for the defense, especially in the locker room.

"Pat McCready leads by example. He sets the marching orders on what needs to be done and what is expected of everybody," said Styres.

In goal, the Knighthawks boast Vinc and Jake Henhawk. Vinc was stellar in goal last season, earning NLL All-Pro honors for the third time in his career (First Team in 2010, 2011 and Second Team status in 2008). He led the NLL in saves for a third straight season, and ranked first in save percentage (.794), tied for second in wins (10) and was third with a 9.77 goals-against average. Henhawk returns to the Knighthawks for the first time since the 2010 season. He is fresh off a stint with the US Indoor team and a bronze medal finish at the FILL World Indoor Lacrosse Championships. This summer, he was also named the top goalie at the Senior "B" President's Cup.

The practice squad includes defenseman Jamie Batson and forward Tim O'Brien. Batson was the 2011 Most Valuable Defensive Player, while playing for the Senior "B" Ohsweken Warriors. O'Brien enters his 10th season in the NLL and second with the Knighthawks. He has won two Champion's Cups with the Toronto Rock (2005 and 2011) and racked with 115 penalty minutes in 33 games. Known as "The Surgeon" in lacrosse circles, O'Brien adds toughness and grit to the Knighthawks.

"I always like players to work in a safe environment," said Styres about the signing of O'Brien.

The holdout list features Joel McCready, Troy Bonterre, Jack Reid and Casey Powell. McCready was recently hired by the Burnaby (British Columbia) Fire Department, and is in the midst probation period. He is expected to rejoin the team in 2013. Former Johns Hopkins star Michael Evans was added to the Protected Player list.

Another name absent from the active roster was 20-year pro Chris Driscoll. The 40-year-old transition man has accepted a position as the Knighthawks' Ontario Scout for the 2012 season. It will mark his eighth season with the Knighthawks. In his professional career, he has notched 240 goals, 378 assists and 1,035 loose balls in 234 games. He has won three championships along the way: 1997, 2003 and 2005.

"'Drisky' will be very good in that role for us," said Hasen. "He understands our principles and what it takes to be a Knighthawk. With his vast experience in lacrosse, he will be very good at it."

Defenseman Ian Rubel also announced his retirement after one season in Rochester and 10 seasons in the NLL, which included three championships. Ryan Cousins and Andy Secore were placed on the physically unable to perform list.

“I am really excited to get going. The roster is a good one as we are improved in all areas on the floor,” said Hasen. “The guys are already a tight group and they have pushed each other every time we've been together, which is something we expect them to continue to do throughout the year.”

Toronto Rock

The Toronto Rock have released five players, moved a pair of players to the holdout list and activated one player from the injured reserve to bring them to 23 players on the active roster as today's noon roster deadline approaches.

Mark Farthing, Eric Bissell, John Quarrie, Scott Johnston and Shawn Udema have all been released by the club and are now free agents. Aaron Pascas and Nick Inch have each been moved to the team's holdout list. Ryan Sharp has been moved from injured reserve to the active roster and Drew Petkoff will remain on injured reserve.

This means there are two first-year players that have landed on the active roster. 2011 NLL Entry Draft selections Jesse Gamble and Pete Rennie have earned those two roster spots out of camp.

"We thought those two had the best camp of the younger players," said Rock GM Terry Sanderson. "Gamble was banged up through the middle of training camp, but he certainly made up for it with his play on Sunday against Minnesota. Rennie is going to be a pretty good defensive player in this league, especially once he learns our system and adjusts to the speed of the pro game. He's going to be a real asset"

Currently, the Rock do not have any of their three available practice roster spots occupied. With a number of releases to come from teams around the league, those roster spots could be filled.

"When Petkoff comes back, we'll have to move someone to the practice roster," explained Sanderson. "We're speaking with a couple of veteran guys that could also push someone off the active roster prior to our home opener."

The only two newcomers on offence are forwards Josh Sanderson and Dan Carey. They will join returnees Colin Doyle, Blaine Manning, Garrett Billings, Stephan Leblanc, Kasey Beirnes and Rob Hellyer going out the front door.

On the back end in addition to rookies Gamble and Rennie, off-season acquisitions Bill Greer and Bruce Codd are a pair of veteran fresh faces on the Rock defence. Back from Toronto's championship defence of a year ago are Sandy Chapman, Patrick Merrill, Mike Hobbins, Rob Marshall, Phil Sanderson, Cam Woods, Ryan Sharp, Glen Bryan, Stephen Hoar and Drew Petkoff.

With Bob Watson now retired and already a hall-of-fame member, the goaltending duties have been turned over to veteran Matt Roik, who was acquired from Washington in the summer, and the returning Pat Campbell.

Washington Stealth

"The decisions this season were very difficult as we had a tremendously talented group in camp battling for limited number of roster spots," said Stealth General Manager Doug Locker about dwindling the 37-player training camp roster down to 23. "Our staff made some tough decisions, but ultimately this roster is deep, very talented and one that we feel gives us the opportunity to compete at the top echelon of the league this season."

On the offensive end, the majority of the group that has led the NLL in scoring the past two seasons remains in tact. The right side continues to be led by two-time NLL All-Pro Rhys Duch and Jeff Zywicki, one of the Stealth's all-time scoring leaders. Rookie Brett Hickey, who was drafted by the Stealth in the fifth round (43rd overall) of the 2011 NLL Entry Draft, earned his spot as a right-handed forward after an impressive training camp that included a hat trick in a scrimmage against the Colorado Mammoth.

The left side of the offense has four veteran forwards, including All-Pro Lewis Ratcliff, who has more points than any other player in the NLL over the last two seasons. He's joined by ten-year NLL vet Cam Sedgwick and Cliff Smith, who the Stealth acquired via trade last season. Rounding out the lefties is offseason free agent signing Dean Hill, who spent the last two seasons with the Edmonton Rush.

"The incumbents on this roster are pretty darn good," said Stealth Head Coach Chris Hall. "We lost a few guys, but you need to make changes to continue to improve. We have a very unselfish group on offense with a lot of weapons. They will certainly force opposing defenses to make some tough decisions as every guy up front can put the ball in the net."

Entering his fourth NLL season, Paul Rabil leads the Stealth's transition game a year after asserting himself as one of the league's best two-way players with career-highs in points (44), assists (30) and loose balls (153). Stealth captain Jason Bloom and Kyle Hartzell also return, along with Bob Snider, who led the league a year ago at the face-off circle winning over 70% of his draws. The Stealth also added Nenad Gajic, who will start the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list.

A point of emphasis for the Stealth this offseason was to add depth to the defensive end. They did just that, as well as returning a strong core of some of the league's top defensemen. Assistant captain Kyle Sorensen, who missed 12 games last season due to injury, is set to start this season healthy. Joining Sorensen as right-handed defensemen are Matt Beers, Curtis Hodgson, Chris O'Dougherty and offseason acquisition Kyle Ross.

Led by 2011 All-Star Mike Grimes, who finished the regular season tops among defensemen with 11 goals and 21 points, the left side of the defense is arguably the best in the NLL. It also includes Jeff Moleski, Eric Martin and Chris McElroy.

"I love the personnel we have on defense," said Hall. "It's a group of big, strong, athletic guys that can do a little bit of everything. All of these guys can play shut down defense with an edge, force a turnover, pick up the loose ball, take it down the floor to lead a fast break and create a scoring chance."

"We had a number of injuries to key players last season," Hall added. "We never seemed to have the same group on the floor consistently, so we wanted to add more depth on the defensive end and I think we did that."

At goaltender, the Stealth has named fourth-year netminder Tyler Richards the starter for the 2012 season. Richards has proven to be a big game goaltender for the Stealth, leading the team to the NLL Championship Game in each of the last two seasons. He posted a 7.71 goals against average and .854 save percentage in three playoff games last season. His backup will be rookie Chris Seidel, who earned the backup job during training camp, including a 26-save performance in just over 30 minutes of a preseason exhibition game against the Toronto Rock.

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