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Players Signings continue as Training Camp approaches

10/08/2012, 1:51pm EDT
By NLL.com

Mammoth, Swarm & Knighthawks all active on signing front following draft

Jamie Lincoln is among five players the Mammoth have recently re-signed for the 2013 season. Photo Credit: Scott Pierson

National Lacrosse League teams kept busy following the draft, with a flurry of player signings. The Colorado Mammoth announced that the franchise has signed five players, three of which played for the team in 2012: forward Jamie Lincoln, transition player Scott Stewart, and goaltender Dan Lewis. Forward Joel Dalgarno missed the 2012 season after playing for the Mammoth in 2011, and defenseman Ian Poole was an unrestricted free agent.

“Training camp is quickly approaching,” said Mammoth President & GM Steve Govett. “Getting these players signed was a top priority of ours.”

Lincoln made an immediate impact in his rookie season in the National Lacrosse League in 2012. He finished third on the team in goals, behind only NLL MVP John Grant Jr. and NLL Rookie of the Year Adam Jones. His 27 tallies were also the third-most of any first-year player in the league.

Stewart scored five goals and won 39% of his face-offs in 10 games played in his first season with Colorado. Lewis shared time between the active roster and the team’s practice squad in his rookie campaign.

Dalgarno was a trade-deadline acquisition by the Mammoth in 2011, and recorded 12 goals and 10 assists in seven games. He missed the 2012 season due to personal commitments, but returns to an offense that led the NLL in scoring in his absence.

Poole, 30, is known as a relentless defender. He was the Western Lacrosse Association’s Unsung Hero Award winner for his play with the Langley Thunder this summer.
Colorado opens the 2013 season at home on HealthONE Field at Pepsi Center on Saturday, January 12 against the Washington Stealth.

The Minnesota Swarm announced that the team has re-signed forward Josh Gillam and defenseman Matt Kelly to one-year contracts. The Swarm also agreed to a one-year deal with free agent goaltender Zach Higgins.

Gillam, 24, recorded 13 points (4g, 9a) and 21 loose balls in six games during his rookie season with the Swarm last year. The lefty forward made his NLL debut on the road against the Buffalo Bandits on March 17 and notched one assist and two loose balls. The Swarm selected the Peterborough, Ontario native in the second round (18th overall) of the 2010 NLL Entry Draft.

"Josh did everything that we thought he could do when we drafted him a couple of years ago," Swarm associate GM and head coach Joe Sullivan said. "We're going to be patient with him and I believe that he's going to continue to get better. We might have to wait a little bit into the season to get him, but when we get him, he's a great guy to have come in because he's going to bring energy and 110-percent effort on the floor."

Kelly, 25, appeared in 12 games and collected 18 loose balls during his second season with the Swarm in 2012. Minnesota selected the gritty, 6-foot, 200-pound defenseman in the sixth round (55th overall) of the 2009 NLL Entry Draft.

"Matt brings a focus to always get better," Sullivan said. "He's athletic and his football background from the University of Virginia is very obvious when it comes to the physical part of the game. He's a strong, physical player with speed, and when you have that combination in a young player, I think we're going to see great things from him in the future."

Higgins, 21, joins the Swarm after an impressive collegiate career with Davenport University. With the Panthers, the Courtice, Ontario native was a two-time 1st Team All-CCLA award winner and finished his four-year career with a 30-8 record. In 2011, Higgins was named the CCLA Defensive Player of the Year after posting an 8-1 record and a 8.45 GAA. This past season as a senior, the 6-foot, 225-pound goalie finished 7-2 and made 102 saves with a 7.72 GAA.

Higgins also found much success playing in Canada’s Jr. A lacrosse loop with the Whitby Warriors. In 2011, Higgins helped the Warriors win a championship and was named the ILIndoor.com Playoff Performer of the Year following his lights out performance in the finals. Higgins finished the 2011 regular season with a 9-1 record and led the league in goals against average (6.77) and finished second in save percentage (.823). 

"Although we're thrilled with what Evan (Kirk) and Tyler (Carlson) have brought to our team, we always want to have depth," Sullivan said. "Zach is a guy who knows what it takes to be a winner."

The Rochester Knighthawks announced the signing of transition man Torrey VanEvery to a one-year deal. VanEvery had an impressive showing at the NLL Combine on September 30. The 21-year-old scored five goals during the NLL's showcase event for free agents and draft eligible players.

"It feels great," said VanEvery about signing with his favorite NLL team. "It is a dream come true."

VanEvery will join the Knighthawks at the team's Open Tryouts, which is scheduled for Friday, October 26th and Saturday, October 27th at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena in Hagersville, Ontario.

Rochester will begin its title defense on the road to open the 2013 season. The World Champions will open their 19th season against the Washington Stealth at 10:00 p.m. (EST) on Saturday, January 5th. The Knighthawks will play their home opener on Saturday, January 19th against the rival Buffalo Bandits at 7:30 p.m. at The Blue Cross Arena.

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