The Toronto Rock re-signed Garrett Billings along with three more players for the 2014 NLL season. (Photo: Chris Fischbeck)
Toronto Rock general manager Terry Sanderson has announced the signing of four players prior to training camp beginning on Saturday afternoon. Rock forwards Garrett Billings and Roger Vyse, defender Kyle Belton and goaltender Zak Boychuk all agreed to one-year contracts for the 2014 NLL season. All four signings are pending league approval.
“I was really impressed with the work ethic that was out there and the general conditioning of everybody,” said Rock head coach John Lovell. “It’s a short period of time to get down to our 20 (player active roster) and the fact is we have 24 guys back from last year and we can only keep 20.”
With the departure of veteran defender Cam Woods who announced his retirement on Friday, Lovell sees this as an opportunity for another player to step up, whether it be a veteran or a new face.
“We have high expectations for our (2013) first round pick Ethan O’Connor,” explained Lovell. “He can handle his stick and goes up and down the floor really well. We need to get some of these guys into games against other teams and then we’ll make decisions from there.”
Lovell will get the opportunity to see his charges in action next Saturday night when the Rock host the Colorado Mammoth at 7pm at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre. The exhibition contest is open to the public and there is no charge for admission however seating is limited to approximately 800 spectators.
Off the floor, the signings of the four Rock veterans brought the total players in camp to 33.
Billings has led the Rock in scoring for each of the past two seasons and finished as a runner-up for the league MVP Award in both 2012 and 2013. The 27-year old Langley, BC native recorded the first ever back-to-back 100 point seasons in Rock franchise history when he scored 100 points in 2013 following his franchise single season record of 114 points in 2012.
Goaltender Zak Boychuk served as the backup to Nick Rose in 2013 and defender Kyle Belton and forward Roger Vyse each played their first season in a Rock uniform last season.
Training camp continues on Tuesday night at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre as the Rock work their way towards settling on a 20-man roster to begin the season. The NLL cut down date for teams to be down to their season starting active roster is Monday, December 16.
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