Washington state high school lacrosse All-American and former University of Maryland standout Drew Snider is among 11 Stealth camp invitees that advanced to the team's second training camp of the preseason. (Photo: University of Maryland)
The Washington Stealth wrapped up their free agent training camp this past Sunday as the club looks to shape their roster to regain their winning ways in 2013.
In attendance were the Stealth's six draft picks from the 2012 Entry Draft, former Seattle high school lacrosse All-American Drew Snider, and seven-year veteran NLL goaltender Nick Patterson, in addition to Canadian players Mitch McMichael, Mark Negrin and Ben McCullough. All 11 players earned an invitation to join Stealth veterans at training camp from Dec. 1-2.
A total of 43 prospects from across North America attended the weekend camp in Arlington and Everett, WA.
“I was thrilled with the energy level that we had," said Stealth head coach Chris Hall. "We put them through a tough camp over three days. These guys were in great condition and came fired up and ready to play."
“We think we’ve found some players that are going to push the veterans when main camp starts,” added Hall. “When you’re 4-12 [in 2012], you need to look at what you’re doing. We’re going to find out what we’ve got.”
The club’s top draft pick, second-rounder (11th overall) Tyler Garrison (Coquitlam, BC) led the way in camp for the Stealth’s 2012 Entry Draft draft choices.
“Garrison was clearly a camp standout," said Hall, who was impressed with the 6'2", 200 lb. defense/transition player’s tenacity at his own end of the floor. “He's everything we expected him to be and more. He was in hot pursuit of loose balls all camp. He really showed a sense of confidence and maturity and good decision making.”
Along with Garrison were fellow second-round picks defense/transition players Bill Hostrawser (Belwood, Ont.) and Justin Pychel (Welland, Ont.), third-round selection Tim Henderson (Tully, NY) and fourth-rounder TJ Cowx (Delta, BC). All draftees advanced, as did sixth-round pick Kyle Buchanan (Nepean, Ont.), a right-handed forward.
For just the second time in Washington's history, a local prospect advanced to the next level of the selection process with an opportunity to make the team’s 23-man game roster or three-man practice squad.
Drew Snider (6'0", 175 lbs.), a Seattle product from O’Dea High School, was a field lacrosse standout who helped guide the University of Maryland to the NCAA Men’s Division I title game in each of the last two seasons. Snider had a strong showing during the camp’s three weekend sessions. Despite limited box lacrosse experience, Snider will be on the invite list for the Dec. 1-2 camp with the squad’s veterans.
“Snider instinctively displayed some great skills,” said Hall, whose roots are also in the field game. “We had him playing some offense and defense and transition. He has pure offensive skills, has speed and can take faceoffs. Snider showed us a lot of talent in those areas of the game.”
Others to stand out included Nick Patterson (Victoria, BC), the seven-year NLL veteran goaltender who played with the Minnesota Swarm from 2005-2011 before sitting out the 2012 season. Patterson (6'0", 205 lbs.) could provide some additional depth to a position that is already strong with veteran starter Tyler Richards and Kevin Croswell.
On the offensive side of the floor, Mark Negrin (Coquitlam, BC), a 6'1", 200 lb. forward, could provide a strong left-side compliment to an already powerful offense that includes Lewis Ratcliff.
“We’re looking for a cash player- a goal scorer,” said Hall. “Negrin scored a lot of goals this weekend. He was one of those guys that stood out and filled the net. Negrin had an impressive summer campaign. He carried that forward in all three sessions over the weekend.”
Cornell graduate and former field player Mitch McMichael (Port Perry, Ont.) also impressed Stealth coaches by bringing an all-around game into camp. “He’s one of those guys that can do everything,” said Hall of the 5'11", 195 pounder. “As a left-hander, he plays good defense, transitions well and can be a threat at the other end of the floor. Multi-talented players in this league are of very high value.”
Others to advance included Ben McCullough (Brampton, Ont.), a fiery, feisty 6'0", 195-lb. defense/transition player not afraid to mix it up with an opponent.
“He’ll make any training camp interesting and push veterans for their spot,” said Hall. “He’s not making too many friends out there, but just busy making his way and earning his spot. When you’re trying to make a team, that’s a good thing.”
Kyle Buchanan (Nepean, Ont.), the Stealth’s final draft pick in 2012, also earned a spot in the next camp by displaying experience and wisdom on the floor typically found in veteran players.
“I had to keep getting Doug [Locker] to remind me why Buchanan lasted to the sixth round of the draft,” said Hall of the 5'8", 160-lb. defender.
“He seemed to be wise beyond his years in seeing the floor and knowing where players are at all times," Hall added. "The things that he did creatively on offense impressed us. He threw one pass in front of the goal where he got knocked down and still managed to put a blind backhand pass right on the stick of his teammate. He was a bit of a ‘wow’ factor on offense.”
Training camp continues Dec. 1 in Arlington, WA (Soccer First Indoor Sports) and Dec. 2 in Everett, WA (Comcast Arena), Dec. 8-9 in Langley, BC (Langley Events Centre), and Dec. 15-16 at Comcast Arena. The final training camp weekend takes place from Dec. 29-30 at Comcast Arena.
Final cuts to determine the active 23-man roster and three practice-roster spots take place on Dec. 20.
The Stealth open the 2013 NLL regular season at home against the defending NLL champion Rochester Knighthawks on Saturday, Jan. 5 at Comcast Arena.