More than a dozen former National Lacrosse League players, along with dozens of draft picks and strong candidates for the league, highlight the rosters of the teams in the Canadian Lacrosse League. Two things that the rosters, which had to be in to the league by last night, make clear is that CLax should again be competitive top to bottom and that the quality of play will be even higher in year two than it was in the league’s inaugural season of 2012. Some of the bigger names dotting CLax rosters are Steve Toll, Josh Wasson, Bubba Durno, Kim Squire and Derek Collins. There are plenty more great athletes around the league. Full rosters and insights into each team are after the jump.
The Toronto Shooting Stars, who will play in the former Maple Leaf Gardens now known as the Mattamy Athletic Centre, include a half dozen former NLLers. Team captain Wasson scored 103 points, including 45 goals, in three-plus seasons in the top pro league. He is also a four-time Mann Cup champion with the Peterborough Lakers. Wasson will get to suit up with his brother Joe Wasson, who recovered from cancer to make it back to Minnesota’s training camp but was unable to crack the squad this year.
A couple of teammates from some of those Laker Mann Cup teams are also freshly minted Shooting Stars. Rugged lefty forward Brian Croswell (brother of Wings’ goalie Kevin Croswell) and talented and versatile transition player Mack O’Brien are part of the lineup. O’Brien is an assistant captain, as he was last year when the team was the Oshawa Machine. Durno and Craig Robertson also spent time in the NLL.
Of course, when the Shooting Stars make their debut in Clax with a home game this coming Sunday at 2pm, two faces will be very familiar to fans of the Toronto Rock. Coaches Glenn Clark and Dan Ladouceur were both members of the Rock when the team closed old Maple Leaf Gardens in style by winning the Champions Cup in the last game ever played in the building.
The Stars, like all the CLax teams, also have plenty of talent outside of players who have already made their mark in the NLL. Aaron Grayson, Brad Levick and Jackson Gair are dangerous scorers. Given that the league’s rules make it necessary for everyone to be able to play at both ends of the floor, solid two-way players like Geoff Griffiths, Aaron Brown and Connor Daly will also be critical to Toronto’s success.
Robertson will battle for playing time in goal with Gary Muzzin and national field lacrosse team goalie Angus Dineley. All three are solid goalies.
The Barrie Blizzard also have a battle on their hands in the crease. Scotty Komer (a late cut from the Philadelphia Wings this year), Derek Collins and Brandon Noble are all capable of being solid starters in the league.
Barrie added a pair of 2012 CLax all-stars, defensive player of the year Colin Boucher and John Rae, in their expansion draft. They’ll look to Caleb Wiles and Jason Mainer for scoring. The rest of the roster may not be full of familiar names, but the team has looked competitive in pre-season action.
The Brampton Inferno underwent significant change in the off-season. Trades brought in Sean Thomson, John McClure and Ryan Campbell. McClure was the league’s winner of the transition player of the year award for 2012 while Campbell earned the same honour from IL Indoor. Dustin Caravello, Brendan Doran and goalie Steve Fryer joined the Inferno in this year’s draft. Mark Farthing, Adam McGourty, Mark Tinning and Pat Saunders are impact players returning from last season.
Speedin’ Stevie Toll hasn’t slowed down much since his NLL days, and he’ll bring his ball-hawking ways to the Durham Turfdogs, who finished atop the league’s regular-season standings last year. The Turfdogs suit the gritty, team-first approach advocated by Head Coach Jason Crosbie. Players like Mitch Dumont, Nic Grasby, Graham Bergsma and Todd Collins are strong two-way players who’ll once again make it challenging to match up with Durham.
Scott DeFrancesco was third in the league in goals last year. John Chesebrough was one of the most consistent goalies in CLax but he’ll be pushed by Minnesota Swarm camper Zack Higgins for the starting job.
The talented and mercurial Dylan Llord is just one of the big-time talents on the Niagara Lock Monsters. Squire, Andrew Potter, Ryan Learn, Dan Williams and Brad Favero will make help make the St. Catharines-based club arguably the most explosive offensive team in CLax.
They also boast proven two-way performers like Jon Arnold, Bryan Campbell and Andrew Tober. The biggest challenge for the Lock Monsters may be in goal, where one among Zach Bowen, Grant Crawley and Connor Danko needs to step up and establish himself as a bona fide starter in the league.
Rosters for the Oshweken Demons and Iroquois Ironmen, both of which play out of the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena and are made up entirely of Native players, aren’t available yet. The Demons and Ironmen meet in the 2013 season opener this Saturday at 2pm.
Toronto Shooting Stars
Aiden Genik, Mike Gillan, Josh Ruys, Brian Croswell, Daniel Fleming, Tory Gardner, Brad Mazzocato, Aaron Grayson, Jackson Gair, Scott Gamble (Assistant Captain), Jon Durno, Geoff Griffiths, Brad Levick, Mack O’Brien (Asisstant Captain), Dilan Graham, Blake Kenney, Aaron Brown, Connor Daly, Josh Wasson (Captain), Joe Wasson, Gary Muzzin (Goalie), Angus Dineley (Goalie), Craig Robertson (Goalie)
John Rae, Mike McLeod, Tyler Gibbons, Jason Mainer, Caleb Wiles, Neil Mayerhoffer, Nikkolas Trillo, Spencer Janes, Tyler Patterson, Mike Teeter, Kirk Gatton, Brandon Collins, James Lumley, Adam Jackson, Read Board, Matt Pelkey, Colin Boucher, Mike Vertolli, Cam Murphy, Barna Robinson, Scotty Komer (Goalie), Derek Collins (Goalie), Brandon Noble (Goalie)
Dustin Caravello, Sean Thompson, Phil Rawn, Adam McGourty, Scott Tinning, Mark Tinning, Tyler Harris, John McClure, Mike McNamara, Ryan Campbell, Pat Saunders, Jordan Coffey, Dave Cutten, Mark Farthing, Jeremy Crowder, Brock Boynton, Justin Hawksbee, Chad Evans, Brendan Doran, Kyle Andrews, Jay Preece (Goalie), Steve Fryer (Goalie), Rick McCullough (Goalie)
Steve Toll, Mitch Dumont, Nic Grasby, Shane Scott, Russell Poulton, Kyle Goodchild, Graham Bergsma, David Brown, Todd Collins, Steve Conrad, Scott DeFrancesco, Eric Bissell, Dan Ransom, Nate Andres, Kyle O’Brien, Robert Koger, Clare Donnelly, Daryl Jackson, John St John, John Chesebrough (Goalie), Kalvin Thomas (Goalie), Zack Higgins (Goalie)
Niagara Lock Monsters
Jason Mazachowski, Sean Gillies, Ross Smith, Bryan Neufeld, Andrew Tober, Jon Arnold, Dylan Llord, Brad Favero, Corey Fowler, Ryan Learn, Kyle Goertz, Dan Williams, Travis Gibbons, Chris Janese, Kavan Sullivan, Bryan Campbell, Andrew Potter, Jordie Daradick, Garrett Ball, Kim Squire, Zach Bowen (Goalie), Grant Crawley (Goalie), Connor Danko (Goalie)Stamp is a TV sports announcer and lacrosse lover whose skill set made him a defender but who always dreamed of being a goal-scorer. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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