Edmonton Rush forward Mark Matthews, whose 38 goals were third-most by a rookie in NLL single-season history and ranked fifth in the league, won the Moe's Southwest Grill Rookie of the Year award for the 2013 NLL season. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)
The National Lacrosse League has announced that Mark Matthews from the Edmonton Rush has won the Moe's Southwest Grill Rookie of the Year award for the 2013 NLL season.
Matthews ranked first among rookies and fifth in the league with a team-high 38 goals, third-most by an NLL rookie in history, while scoring in all 16 games played this season. Edmonton's first overall pick of the 2012 NLL Entry Draft led all rookies, finished second on the Rush and 15th in the league with 69 points (38+31). Matthews was also third among rookies with 31 assists and ninth with 47 loose balls in 2013.
"It has been a great year and an honor to play with the players we have," Matthews said. "To win an award like this reflects a lot on the players I played with and I am happy to be mentioned with some of the great players to win this award."
The Oshawa, Ontario native, who played collegiately at the University of Denver, won three Rookie of the Month, one Offensive Player of the Week, two Rookie of the Week awards and was named to the 2013 NLL All-Rookie Team. Matthews becomes the first player in Edmonton's franchise history to win the Rookie of the Year award.
"Mark made an immediate impact," said Rush general manager and head coach Derek Keenan. "He led our team in goals and it's not often a rookie accomplishes that. I think the scary part for the rest of the league is that he is going to get better as he grows and matures with his teammates and continues to learn more about playing at the highest level."
Minnesota Swarm transition player Kiel Matisz was the runner-up for the award while Buffalo Bandits transition player Dhane Smith finished third in the voting.
Matisz ranked second among rookies in goals (29) and assists (33) and third in rookie scoring with 62 points. Matisz led all rookies and finished tied for seventh in the league with 11 power play goals and ranked fifth in the NLL with a .230 shooting percentage. Among NLL rookies, Minnesota's first-round (3rd overall) pick in the 2012 Draft ranked second with 70 loose balls and fifth with eight forced turnovers. The Stoney Creek, Ontario native, who played collegiately at Robert Morris University, won one Rookie of the Month award, four Rookie of the Week awards and was named to the All-Rookie Team.
Smith scored a team-high 24 goals, tied for third-most among NLL rookies, and finished fifth in rookie scoring with 44 points (24+20) in 15 games played for the Bandits. The Kitchener, Ontario native, who was Buffalo's first-round (5th overall) selection in the 2012 Draft, won one Rookie of the Week award and was named to the All-Rookie Team.
The 2013 NLL Season Awards are determined by a vote of the league's Board of Governors, General Managers and Head Coaches.
The announcement of Season Awards continues on Thursday with the Most Valuable Player award presented by Reebok.
The East Division champion and defending NLL champion Rochester Knighthawks take on the West Division Champion Washington Stealth in the 2013 NLL Championship Game, presented by Reebok, on Saturday, May 11 at 7 p.m. ET at Langley Events Centre, live exclusively on CBS Sports Network.