The Minnesota Swarm have re-signed eight players as the 2014 NLL regular season nears. (Photo: Bill Wippert)
The Minnesota Swarm have announced that the team has re-signed eight players for the upcoming 2014 National Lacrosse League season. Signing two-year contracts included reigning NLL Transition Player of the Year Jordan MacIntosh, F Shayne Jackson, T David Earl, D Alex Crepinsek and F Josh Gillam while transition players Tyler Hass, Brock Sorensen, and Greg Downing all inked one-year deals.
MacIntosh, 24, is set to return to The Hive after a dominant sophomore campaign in 2013, where he took home both First-Team All-Pro and Transition Player of the Year honors. The 6-foot-1, 210-pounder from Oakville, Ontario netted 55 points (27g, 28a) in 16 games last season, which slotted him fifth best on the Swarm roster and second most among all NLL transition players. MacIntosh also set single-season franchise records for loose balls (197) and faceoffs won (241). A graduate of RIT, MacIntosh was drafted fourth overall in the 2011 NLL Entry Draft, and has scored 106 total points (50g, 56a) in 32 career games.
“Jordan brings so much to the table offensively, as a transition player, on the power play, and with his ability to win faceoffs,” Swarm associate general manager and head coach Joe Sullivan said. “He’s getting better and better every year. The challenge that I’d put to Jordan is consistency. We need him to do those things in the big games to win more of those one-goal games. He’s got the ability to do it or I wouldn’t challenge him to do so.”
Jackson, 23, is coming off an illustrious rookie season with the Swarm, which saw him set a franchise record for points scored by a rookie with 63 (24g, 39a), as well as earn a spot on the 2013 NLL All-Rookie Team. His 39 helpers led all NLL rookies and his 24 goals put him at a tie for third among rookies. The 5-foot-9, 180-pound forward notched a career-high seven points, and set a franchise record with four goals in his playoff debut against Toronto on April 28.
“Shayne is a guy who proved himself in his first year,” Sullivan said. “He did it quietly, through hard work and studying game film. I would expect nothing less from Shayne being the type of competitor that he is to want to do more and achieve more, and set some goals like reaching the Champion’s Cup in 2014.”
Earl, 26, is coming off a breakout season with the Swarm in 2013, which saw him post career-highs across the board in points (15), goals (8), assists (7) and loose balls (102). The speedy transition player ranked 10th in the NLL in loose balls during his sophomore campaign and was among the Swarm’s leaders in forced turnovers with 14.
“It’s great to have consistency, and David brings that every game,” Sullivan said. “If David continues to get better, he’s going to be a great player in this league for a long time. He’s excited to be here for the next two years, and we expect to see him put up solid numbers defensively again this season.”
Crepinsek, 24, is entering his second season with the Swarm after a successful rookie campaign. Measuring in at 5-foot-11 and 185-pounds, the right-hander played in all 16 regular season contests last season, putting up eight points (3g, 5a) and corralling 51 loose balls. The Oakville, Ontario native out of the Rochester Institute of Technology was selected in the first round (10th overall) in the 2012 NLL Entry Draft.
“We had the luxury last year of allowing a player like Alex to get his feet underneath him, and he got better and better as the year went on,” Sullivan said. “The expectation for him is no different than any other guy in their second year, and that’s to be better and more consistent. We need his A-game each and every night, which he has committed to me that he will do.”
Gillam, 25, will enter his first full season with the Swarm in 2014; Gillam joined the team during the midseason point for the past two years due to his commitments as a professional hockey player. In six games last year, the Peterborough, Ontario native posted 19 points (4g, 15a) and appeared in both of the Swarm’s postseason contests. This past summer, Gillam played a full season in the indoor summer league and finished Top 10 in the league in scoring with 65 points (28g, 37a).
“We asked Josh to put on some size in the offseason, and he did that,” Sullivan said. “He’s now 100-percent committed to Minnesota Swarm Lacrosse. He brings a ton of energy and has a great enthusiasm for the game. He had a tremendous summer with Lakers and I would say that Josh has the biggest immediate upside on our roster heading into this season.”
Hass, 28, is entering his fourth season with the Swarm after registering 12 points (8g, 4a) in 2013, playing in 15 games. The gritty right-hander from Victoria, British Columbia also racked up 71 loose balls and notched an overtime game-winning goal at The Hive against Toronto last February. Measuring in at a towering at 6-foot-6 and 210 pounds, the University of Victoria product was drafted by Minnesota in 2006.
“Tyler is a great leader on and off the floor, and is second to none in transition.” Sullivan said. “He’s a shut-down type guy that frustrates a lot of opponents. We’re striving for a Champion’s Cup this year and Tyler is one of the guys that would tell you that he will accept nothing less than exactly that.”
Sorensen, 24, returns after playing in all 16 regular season games as a rookie last year. The massive 6-foot-6, 220-pound left-hander notched 11 points (6g, 5a), while picking up an additional two assists in the Swarm’s two playoff games. The Peterborough, Ontario native played his college career at Ohio State, alongside 2013 Swarm draftees F Logan Schuss (first overall), and D Dominique Alexander (39th overall). Sorensen was selected second-overall in the 2012 NLL Entry Draft.
“Brock was coming off a knee injury going into the start of the 2013 season, and I think it slowed his ability to get better,” Sullivan said. “I know him very well, and his makeup is to get better. He admittedly said that last year was a bit of disappointment for him, so look for Brock to be an outstanding player right from the get-go. I know Brock has it in him to be a great player, and he knows that, so I’m really excited about him this year.”
Downing, 28, returns to The Hive as one of the more experienced players on the roster, embarking on his sixth season in the NLL. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound left-hander scored seven points (1g, 8a) and 72 loose balls in 16 regular season games in 2013. In his career, Downing has notched 377 loose balls and 43 points over 69 career games.
“Greg has a calming effect out on the floor,” Sullivan said. “He only really speaks when he feels the need to get his point across and that is well respected throughout our room. He’s a great defender, a good person and a guy that we want to rally around. With guys like that in our room, it will help our coaching staff create a better atmosphere for this young team to grow.”
All contracts are currently pending league approval.
The Swarm will open their first weekend of main camp on Friday, Nov. 29 and will practice until Sunday, Dec. 1 at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre in Oakville, Ontario. The team is set to return to Oakville for two additional main camp sessions from Dec. 6-8 and Dec. 13-15.
In 2014, the Swarm will be celebrating their 10th season of professional box lacrosse in the NLL and will kickoff the regular season on the road against the defending NLL champion Rochester Knighthawks at 6:30 p.m. CT Saturday, Dec. 28.
Minnesota will make its home debut at The Hive celebrating Native American Heritage Night Sunday, Jan. 19 during a 2 p.m. matchup against the Philadelphia Wings at Xcel Energy Center.
Swarm fans looking to lock up 2014 Season Tickets can take advantage of a Buy 2, Get 2 at 25% offer. By purchasing two season tickets at full price, fans can add an additional two tickets for 25% off. Call 1-888-667-9276 for purchasing information.