The Vancouver Stealth have re-signed two B.C. natives in starting goalie Tyler Richards along with emerging forward Cliff Smith. (Photo: Richard Olson)
The Vancouver Stealth announced that they have re-signed Coquitlam, BC native Tyler Richards to a three-year deal and Cliff Smith of Surrey, BC to a two-year deal, pending league approval.
Richards is entering his sixth NLL season between the pipes and has been with the Stealth his entire career while Smith is going into his fourth season with the team after being acquired from Colorado in 2011.
It’s been an offseason full of changes for the Stealth as the team moved from Everett to Langley this past summer, but those changes proved to be a dream come true for both Richards and Smith.
“You always hope that one day there’s going to be a team in your hometown to play for, it makes it really exciting,” said Smith about playing lacrosse close to home next season.
“To be just 15 minutes away from where you play and being able to sleep in your own bed is a huge advantage. It definitely makes things easier, so I’m really looking forward to it,” said Richards.
The Stealth roster is coming together piece by piece and the signing of these two players makes the Stealth that much closer to where they want to be now and in the future.
“Tyler has shown over the past several years that he is one of the top goalies in the National Lacrosse League and has significant postseason experience,” said President and General Manager Doug Locker about Richards.
Richards appeared in 15 games for the Stealth in the 2013 season posting a record of 8-5 and a goals against average of 10.92. It’s no secret that Richards is improving with each year he plays in the NLL and the Stealth hope he continues that trend into the 2014 season.
“He is a leader in the room and on the floor and we believe he will only continue to be more dominant as he gets older. Our three year commitment to him is recognition of what he has done and where we feel he can help take our franchise.”
When it comes to Cliff Smith, Doug Locker believes there’s a key component to Smith’s game that makes him a major asset to the team.
“Cliff is one of the most versatile players we have on our roster and in today’s NLL it’s a huge advantage to have players who can fulfill multiple roles. We feel that Cliff is capable of playing in almost every situation and is coming off a fantastic 2013 season.”
There’s still many changes to come over the next month but one thing remains the same for the Stealth and both newly re-signed players, the expectation is to win.
“We’ve been to the finals 3 of the last 4 years so our expectations haven’t changed, we want to win,” said Richards.