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NLL CELEBRATES PAST AND FUTURE DURING HALL OF FAME AND DRAFT WEEKEND

It was a weekend to remember as the National Lacrosse League celebrated both its past and future, with events in Burlington and Oakville, Ontario.

Friday night the league welcomed 10 new members to the NLL Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the Burlington Convention Centre. The class of 2021 included eight players and the first two referees to be inducted. On Saturday at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre, 97 prospects were selected at the annual Entry Draft – taking big steps towards building professional careers.

The gatherings were a veritable who’s who of the league’s top brass – owners, general managers, coaches and more were on hand not just to select their newest draft picks Saturday but also pay homage to those players and referees who have helped build the game to where it is today.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame were:

  • Roy Condon, Referee
  • Bill Fox, Referee
  • Colin Doyle, Forward
  • Kevin Finneran, Forward
  • John Grant Jr., Forward
  • Pat McCready, Defenseman
  • Casey Powell, Forward
  • Regy Thorpe, Defenseman
  • Steve Toll, Defenseman
  • Shawn Williams, Forward

After a cocktail hour and banquet dinner, the inductees were each given a chance to speak. Each inductee was introduced by a speaker of their choosing. Kevin Finneran chose his brother Brian; Colin Doyle chose Hall of Fame goaltender Bob Watson; Steve Toll and Shawn Williams introduced each other.

Casey Powell, John Grant Jr. and Regy Thorpe were unable to attend, and so appeared via pre-recorded videos.

It was an evening of history, of memories and of gratitude.

Each player was presented with their likeness engraved on an official Hall of Fame plaque, as well as a keepsake hand-carved wooden stick.

BURLINGTON, ON – SEPTEMBER 15: The 2021 National Lacrosse League Hall of Fame induction ceremony takes place on Friday, September 15th at the Burlington Conference Centre in Burlington, Ontario.

On Saturday, the league turned its attention from its past to its future for the annual Entry Draft. Ninety-seven prospects were drafted across the 15 teams. Over 30 prospects were in attendance to hear commissioner Brett Frood announce their names and celebrate with friends and family before donning the hat and jersey of their new team.

As Frood said, the draft is about “Young men who have come from different paths and different backgrounds, who are brought together by their common dream of competing against the very best and competing in the National Lacrosse League. For the teams, no matter how last season went, this is a new beginning. A fresh start. Like Hail Mary’s and first dates, the draft is built on hope. A pick today can forever change the trajectory of a franchise.”

As expected, Dyson Williams went first overall to the Albany FireWolves. Adam Poitras was second to the Las Vegas Desert Dogs and Callum Jones rounded out the top three to the New York Riptide.

In just six rounds and five hours, each team added key pieces to their future rosters, and lives were changed forever.

Now the league and its teams get down to business.

Said Frood, “We look ahead to the 2023-24 season with unbridled optimism.”

For complete draft results, click here.

BY THE NUMBERS

  • 4 – the number of picks Buffalo had (the fewest)
  • 8 – the number of picks that Georgia, Las Vegas, Philadelphia and San Diego had (the most)
  • 8 – the number of players drafted from the MSL’s Brooklin Lacrosse Club
  • 41 – the number of players drafted from Ontario Junior Lacrosse League teams
  • 52 – the number of lefties drafted vs. 45 righties

DRAFTEES BY POSITION

  • 4 Goaltenders
  • 12 Transition
  • 39 Forwards
  • 42 Defencemen
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