The Georgia Swarm today announced that it has re-signed transition players Kiel Matisz and Ethan O’Connor to three-year deals. The Swarm also agreed to terms with rookie defenseman Thomas Hoggarth (No. 20 overall, second-round) on a two-year contract.
Matisz, 26, was drafted No. 3 overall by the Swarm in the first-round of the 2012 NLL Draft. In his three seasons with the Swarm, the 6-foot-5, 215-pound transition player has exceled on both ends of the floor, creating matchup problems for his opponents due to his size. During his rookie season in 2013, the Robert Morris University graduate scored 29 goals and finished as the runner-up for Rookie of the Year. In his career, Matisz has totaled 127 points (60G, 67A), 174 loose balls and 20 forced turnovers.
Despite missing seven games in 2015 with an upper body injury, Matisz finished the season on a high note with a team-high four goals in the regular season finale against Rochester this past May.
“Kiel has been a great representative of the Swarm organization in his young career, and in addition to his statistical impact he has been a positive leader both on and off the field,” Swarm Owner and General Manager John Arlotta said. “He is an extremely unselfish player who has done whatever the team needed him to do for us to win, including playing defense last season. We are expecting this experience to add to his versatility and value to the Swarm in 2016.”
O’Connor, 23, has been a loose ball machine during his first two seasons in the NLL, collecting 98 last season with the Swarm and 133 in his rookie season as a member of the Toronto Rock in 2014. The Swarm acquired the Hobart product along with a 2017 first-round selection in an offseason trade last year from Toronto. O’Connor also recorded a career-high 10 points (3G, 7A) and 17 forced turnovers in 18 games last season. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound transition player was the No. 9 overall selection in the first-round of the 2013 NLL Draft.
“Ethan’s speed and energy were welcomed additions to our defensive unit last season,” Arlotta said. “He has a knack for collecting loose balls and making hustle plays, and at the young age of 23, his game is still developing. We are excited to have him on board for another three years and are expecting to see his game evolve even further over that period.”
Hoggarth, 21, is a 6-foot-3, 200-pound defenseman who has shown great potential during his junior career with the Peterborough Lakers (Jr. A). Hoggarth also played at Trent University and in CLax, a semi-pro league, with the Durham Turfdogs. The Swarm selected the Peterborough, Ontario native No. 20 overall in the second-round of the 2015 Draft this past September.
“We liked what we saw from Thomas at the NLL Combine,” Arlotta said. “He has good size and has shown an offensive touch for his previous teams so we expect him to make an impact as a transition player in our league. Our coaching staff is really looking forward to working with him at camp.”