The Washington Stealth have announced their 23-man roster and practice squad for the 2013 NLL season. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)
The Washington Stealth have announced their active roster for the 2013 National Lacrosse League season with hopes that some new faces around a strong core will help lift the club back among the NLL elite.
“I’m very excited about this team,” said Stealth head coach Chris Hall following the club’s fourth training camp last weekend at Everett’s Comcast Arena. “Our general lacrosse intelligence has improved a ton since last season. We’re awfully happy with these kids. We’re more energized. We’re bigger, faster and stronger.”
Emerging from a grueling preseason process that included four weekend camps of up to three-a-day sessions, is the club’s top draft choice, 6-2, 200-pound defender Tyler Garrison of Coquitlam, B.C.
Garrison, selected in the second round (11th overall) of the NLL Entry Draft, will join the club’s other second-round pick (19th overall), Justin Pychel (Welland, ON), a 6-1, 210-pounder along with the team’s third round selection (23rd overall), the 6-3, 220-pound West Point graduate Tim Henderson (Tully, N.Y.). Also on the roster are free agents Patrick O’Meara (Coquitlam, B.C.), and David Joyce (Coquitlam, B.C.).
The group fills out a potent defensive unit that is still stacked with proven NLL veterans including captain Kyle Sorensen (Peterborough, ON), assistant captain Mike Grimes (Peterborough, ON) along with Curtis Hodgson (Burnaby, B.C.), Chris McElroy (Orillia, ON), Jeff Moleski (Prince George, B.C.), Chris O’Dougherty (Kinnelon, N.J.), and Matt Beers (Coquitlam, B.C.).
“I thought we had a good process in camp,” said Hall who added face-off depth, and challenged his veterans with new energy and on the defensive side of the floor.
In goal, the Stealth added veteran goalkeeper Nick Patterson (Victoria, B.C.) to provide backup to Tyler Richards (Vancouver, B.C.).
Paterson, a seven-year keeper with Minnesota before sitting out the 2012 season, is expected to bring an added level of confidence behind the Stealth’s already first-line stopper. During the 2012 season, Richards emerged as Hall’s number one after turning-in several elite performances including a 40-save effort against Colorado that earned him NLL Defensive Player of the Week honors.
At transition, the club added 5-11, 195 pound Cornell graduate Mitch McMichael (Port Perry, ON) who along with veteran Bob Snider (Calgary, AB) are expected to bring an explosive threat in moving the ball quickly up the floor.
At forward, the Stealth have added a quick right hander in Robert Morris University graduate Kyle Buchanan (Nepean, ON). The 5-8, 160-pound Buchanan, who was drafted in the sixth round (48th overall), will join an already potent group of seasoned forwards that include three of the NLL’s most prolific threats in Rhys Duch (Victoria, B.C.) Athan Iannucci (Port Moody, B.C.) and Brett Bucktooth (Nedrow, N.Y.).
With 143 goals, Duch ranks third among Stealth’s all-time list for goals, fifth in both assists (201) and points (344), while Iannucci, a first-round draft pick with Philadelphia in 2006, set in motion a powerful six-year NLL career after a breakout MVP season in 2008 where he set the NLL record for goals in a single season with 71. And Bucktooth, who joined the Stealth two games into the 2012 season, recorded career-high numbers during last year’s campaign with 41 points and 28 assists.
Balancing out the forwards are Dean Hill (Hagersville, ON) and Cliff Smith (Surrey B.C.) along with two-time NLL Champion Lewis Ratcliff (Victoria, B.C.).
Ratcliff, whose five goals and one assist earned him 2010 Champion’s Cup MVP honors while helping to bring the NLL title to Washington state for the first time in 2010, ranks eighth in the Stealth’s all-time list in points (262), seventh in goals (123) and eighth in assists (147).
Along with its 23-man active roster, the Stealth placed veteran forwards Brett Hickey (Windsor, ON), Mike Mallory (Pitt Meadows, B.C.) and transition player Justin Salt (Coquitlam, B.C.) on its three-man practice roster.
Seattle native and former O’Dea High School All-American Drew Snider also will be with the club – although on its injured reserve list. The 2012 graduate of two-time NCAA runner-up University of Maryland, will start the season on the IR along with rookie Billy Hostrawser (Bellwood, ON). Both suffered lower body injuries at the club’s camp session in Langley, B.C.
2013 Washington Stealth Roster:
Kyle Buchanan, F, (Nepean, ON. 5-8, 160 pounds
Brett Bucktooth, F, (Nedrow, N.Y.) 6-1, 205 pounds
Rhys Duch, F, (Victoria, B.C.) 5-11, 200 pounds
Dean Hill, F, (Hagersville, ON) 6-3, 225 pounds
Athan Iannucci, F, (Port Moody, B.C.) 6-4, 215 pounds
Lewis Ratcliff, F, (Victoria, B.C.) 6-1, 200 pounds
Cliff Smith, F, (Surrey, B.C.) 6-3, 200 pounds
Mitch McMichael, T, (Port Perry, ON) 5-11, 195 pounds
Bob Snider, T, (Calgary, AB) 6-0, 205 pounds
Matt Beers, D, (Coquitlam, B.C.) 6-3, 205 pounds
Tyler Garrison, D, (Coquitlam, B.C.) 6-2, 200 pounds
Mike Grimes, D, (Peterborough, ON) 6-3, 210
Tim Henderson, D, (Tully, N.Y.) 6-3, 220 pounds
Curtis Hodgson, D, (Burnaby, B.C.) 6-1, 195 pounds
David Joyce, D, (Coquitlam, B.C.) 6-6, 220 pounds
Chris McElroy, D, (Orillia, ON) 6-1, 195 pounds
Jeff Moleski, D, (Prince George, B.C.) 6-1, 205 pounds
Chris O’Dougherty, D, (Kinnelon, N.J.) 6-1, 205 pounds
Patrick O’Meara, D, (Coquitlam, B.C.) 6-5, 215 pounds
Justin Pychel, D, (Welland, ON) 6-1, 210 pounds
Kyle Sorensen, D, (Peterborough, ON) 6-2, 220 pounds
Tyler Richards, G, (Vancouver, B.C.) 6-1, 190 pounds
Nick Patterson, G, (Victoria, B.C.) 5-11, 205 pounds
Brett Hickey, F, (Windsor, ON) 6-2, 235 pounds
Mike Mallory, F, (Pitt Meadows, B.C.) 6-2, 200 pounds
Justin Salt, T, (Coquitlam, B.C.) 6-2, 195 pounds
Drew Snider, T, (Seattle, Wash. – O’Dea HS) 6-0, 175 pounds
Billy Hostrawser, T, (Belwood, ON) 5-11, 185 pounds
Earlier this week, the Stealth released 11 players, including veterans Eric Martin and Jeff Zywicki.
Martin, a Norfolk, VA native, was one of the original members of the Stealth organization and was instrumental in bringing an NLL championship to Washington state in 2010.
“This is perhaps the most difficult decision I’ve been a part of in the NLL,” said Stealth general manager Doug Locker. "Eric has been a member of our organization since he broke into the league. He is a gifted, dynamic player – and a close friend. It’s always difficult to release or trade a player. In this case, it was excruciatingly difficult to come to grips with.”
After Martin’s acquisition in the second round (12th overall) of the 2004 NLL Entry Draft, the 6-2, 220-pounder, went on to become the Stealth’s all-time loose ball leader (848) and all-time leader in penalty minutes (401) over 114 regular season and 11 playoff game appearances.
Zywicki, a native of Nepean, Ontario, played seven seasons with the Stealth organization after being selected with the club’s first-round pick (8th overall) in the 2005 NLL Entry Draft.
During Zywicki's time with the franchise, the 5-9, 195-pound right-hander established himself as one of the league's premier players.
“Re-tooling our offense for the future is a challenging process,” Locker said. “Days like this are obviously very difficult. We are thankful for all that Jeff has given to this organization and wish him all the best."
Among Washington’s other cuts were defenseman Kyle Ross, veteran goaltender Chris Seidel, who came to the Stealth in the 2010 NLL Entry Draft, and Martin Cummings, who played in five games over two seasons with the Stealth. Forwards Peter Jacobs, Jerome Thompson and Mark Negrin, transition players T.J. Cowx and Ryan Johnson, and defender Ben McCullough rounded out the Stealth's releases.