The Washington Stealth have announced that eleven players who took part in the team’s rookie and free agent training camp have been invited to the team’s main training camp with a chance to earn a roster spot for the 2013 season.
Along with the franchise’s six NLL draft picks that were in attendance, former Seattle high school lacrosse All-American Drew Snider, seven-year veteran NLL goaltender Nick Patterson, along with Canadians Mitch McMichael, Mark Negrin and Ben McCullough all earned invitations to join Stealth veterans at the second camp of the pre-season on Dec. 1 and 2.
A total of 43 prospects from across North America attended the camp in Arlington and Everett, Wash.
“I was thrilled with the energy level that we had. We put them through a tough camp over three days. These guys were in great condition and came fired up and ready to play,” said Stealth head coach Chris Hall.
“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 (2012 season record) 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 pick overall) Tyler Garrison (Coquitlam, B.C.) led the way in camp for the Stealth’s class of 2013 NLL draft choices.
“Garrison was clearly a camp standout. He’s everything we expected him to be and more,” said Hall who was impressed with the 6-2, 200 pound defense/transition player’s tenacity at his own end of the floor. “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, defense/transition players Bill Hostrawser (Belwood, Ont.) and Justin Pychel (Welland, Ont.), also second round picks, third-round selection Tim Henderson (Tully, N.Y.) and fourth-rounder TJ Cowx (Delta, B.C.) all advanced as did sixth-round pick Kyle Buchanan (Nepean, Ont.), a right-handed forward.
For just the second time in the Stealth’s four-year history in Everett a local prospect advanced to the next level of the selection process with an opportunity to make the team’s 23-man game roster / three man practice-squad roster.
Snider (Seattle, Wash. / O’Dea HS), a 6-0, 175-pound field lacrosse standout who helped guide the Univ. of Maryland to the NCAA Men’s Division I title game in each of the last two seasons, 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 and 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 Patterson (Victoria, B.C.), the seven-year NLL veteran goaltender, who spent 2005 – 2011 with the Minnesota Swarm before sitting out the 2012 season. At 6-0, 205 pounds, Patterson could provide some additional depth to a position that is already strong with veteran starterTyler Richards and Kevin Croswell.
On the offensive side of the floor, Negrin (Coquitlam, B.C.), a 6-1, 200-pound 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.”
Cornell graduate and former field player McMichael (Port Perry, Ont.) also impressed Stealth coaches 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 lefthander, 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 McCullough (Brampton, Ont.), a fiery, feisty 6-0, 195-pound defense/transition player that is 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.”
Buchanan (Nepean, Ont.), the Stealth’s final draft pick, also earned a berth in the next camp displaying experience and wisdom on the floor typically found with veteran players.
“I had to keep getting Doug (Locker, Stealth general manager) to remind me why Buchanan lasted to the sixth round of the draft,” said Hall of the 5-8, 160-pound defender.
“He seemed to be wise beyond his years in seeing the floor and knowing where players are at all times. 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, Wash. (Soccer First Indoor Sports) and Dec. 2 in Everett, Wash. (Comcast Arena) and Dec. 8 and 9 in Langley, B.C. (Langley Events Centre), and Dec. 15 and 16 in Everett, Wash. (Comcast Arena). The final training camp weekend takes place on December 29 and 30 also in Everett, Wash. (Comcast Arena).
Final cuts to determine the active 23-man roster and three practice-roster spots take place on December 20.
The Stealth begin their fourth season of play in Washington state with its 2013 home-opener against the defending NLL champion Rochester Knighthawks, Saturday, Jan. 5 at Everett’s Comcast Arena.