The National Lacrosse League has announced three finalists for the 2016 NLL Air Canada Wingman of the Year award. Colorado Mammoth forward Callum Crawford, Toronto Rock forward Rob Hellyer and Buffalo Bandits forward Dhane Smith were named as the top trio of playmakers in the league this season.
Crawford tied the NLL single-season record with 83 assists, finished third in the league with 115 points, and tied a career-high with 32 goals, which tied for 21st overall. The 11-year NLL veteran had a career-high 27 power-play assists, which ranked second in the league, his 89 loose balls were tied for 10th among all forwards, and he tied for second in the NLL with four game-winning goals. He recorded six or more points in 12 games with five hat tricks and 15 games with three-plus assists. Crawford joined the Mammoth during the offseason after six seasons with the Swarm. The 31-year-old from Ottawa, Ont., who played collegiately at Dowling College, was selected in the second round (18th overall) of the 2005 NLL Draft and was named to the NLL All-Pro Second Team in 2013. Crawford, who has 691 points (240+451) in 153 career games, won the Wingman award in Week 3 and Week 10.
Hellyer finished fourth in NLL scoring with 113 points, second-most in Rock single-season history, plus tied for second in the league in assists (68) and fifth in goals (45). The 24-year-old, who completed his sixth NLL season, recorded at least three points in all 18 games played including 13 games with five or more points. Hellyer scored at least a hat trick in nine games and had 14 multi-goal performances. His 88 loose ball recoveries were 12th-most among all forwards and he also led the league in power play assists (29). From Lion’s Head, Ont., Hellyer was Toronto’s third-round selection (30th overall) in the 2010 NLL Draft. Last year, he registered 90 points (31+59) in just 14 games played after a 79-point campaign in 2014. Hellyer, who has 306 points (114+192) in 63 career games, won the Wingman award in Week 9 and Week 18.
Smith set the new NLL single-season scoring record with 137 points and scored a league-record 72 goals in 18 games played. The fourth-year pro ranked first in game-winning goals (5), second in power play goals (16), fifth in assists (65), and second among forwards with a career-best 111 loose balls, 17th-most in the league. Smith had a .214 shooting percentage, sixth-best among players with 10-plus goals, helping the Bandits finish atop the NLL standings and East Division with a 13-5 record. The fourth-year pro recorded six or more points 14 times with 16 hat tricks, 17 multi-goal games and three double-digit point performances. The 23-year-old from Kitchener, Ont., who has 347 points (155+192) in 69 career games, won the Wingman award in Week 4 and Week 7. Smith was selected in the first round (5th overall) of the 2012 NLL Draft and was named to the 2013 NLL All-Rookie Team.
Air Canada is the Official Airline Partner for the NLL. Each week, an NLL player received the “Air Canada Wingman of the Week” award based on their performance on the turf with respect to passing prowess and playmaking abilities. The weekly award winners were entered into the pool of nominees for the “Air Canada Wingman of the Year” award with the three finalists determined by the league office.
Week 1) John Grant, Jr. – Colorado Mammoth
Week 2) Kiel Matisz – Georgia Swarm
Week 3) Callum Crawford – Colorado Mammoth
Week 4) Dhane Smith – Buffalo Bandits
Week 5) Lyle Thompson – Georgia Swarm
Week 6) Logan Schuss – Vancouver Stealth
Week 7) Dhane Smith – Buffalo Bandits
Week 8) Josh Sanderson – Toronto Rock
Week 9) Rob Hellyer – Toronto Rock
Week 10) Callum Crawford – Colorado Mammoth
Week 11) Joe Walters – Rochester Knighthawks
Week 12) Mark Matthews – Saskatchewan Rush
Week 13) Kevin Crowley – New England Black Wolves
Week 14) Ryan Benesch – Buffalo Bandits
Week 15) Shawn Evans – New England Black Wolves
Week 16) Randy Staats – Georgia Swarm
Week 17) Rhys Duch – Vancouver Stealth
Week 18) Rob Hellyer – Toronto Rock
Schedule of finalist announcement for the remaining NLL Season Awards:
Thursday, July 7: Executive of the Year award finalists
Monday, July 11: Media Person of the Year (The Tom Borrelli Award) winner
Tuesday, September 27: 2016 NLL Season Awards Ceremony
About Air Canada
Air Canada is Canada’s largest full-service airline and the largest provider of scheduled passenger services in the Canadian market, the Canada-U.S. transborder market and in the international market to and from Canada. Together with its Air Canada Express regional partners and leisure carrier, Air Canada rouge, Air Canada serves over 38 million passengers annually and provides direct passenger service to more than 190 destinations on five continents. Air Canada is a founding member of Star Alliance™, the world’s most comprehensive air transportation network.