The Toronto Rock and New England Black Wolves have announced a trade with the Rock acquiring forward Kevin Crowley from the Black Wolves in exchange for forward Garrett Billings.
Crowley was the first overall pick in the 2011 NLL Draft after a standout collegiate career at Stony Brook University and a brilliant run at the Jr. A level with the New Westminster Salmonbellies of the BCJALL.
“It’s been talked about for a while and it looked like it wasn’t going to happen,” said Rock owner, president and general manager Jamie Dawick. “We matched the (contract) offer (from Rochester) last night and our plan was to see where Garrett was at (today). There was some talking today. At the very last second, we made the deal with New England.”
Crowley has scored 19 goals and added 33 assists for 52 points this season in New England in 10 games played.
“This was a tough trade to make for me,” said Dawick, who became owner of the team prior to Billings’ first season in the NLL in 2010. “Garrett’s been here since day one and this is one of those things that happens in sports. It was tough to move Garrett and I wish him nothing but the best. I wasn’t going to move Garrett unless we got something back of equal value.”
Crowley captured the World Championship at the 2014 FIL Championships as a member of Team Canada last summer. He scored five goals in Canada’s 8-5 win over Team USA in the championship.
Dawick mentioned that it’s in the coaches hands at this point as to whether or not Crowley will be in the lineup on Friday night when the Rock take on the Rochester Knighthawks.
The Black Wolves added one of the league’s top offensive threats in Billings. In 2014, he led the NLL in average points-per-game (6.73) and finished third in the league with 101 points (32+69) despite just 15 games played after his season was cut short due to injury. In his fifth career year, Billings finished fourth in the league with 69 assists, his 32 goals ranked 14th overall, and his 86 loose balls ranked ninth among NLL forwards.
“Obviously, this is a pretty significant trade,” said Black Wolves head coach Blane Harrison. “For our organization to move forward to where we need to go, we made a very difficult decision to part ways with a very talented young man. Kevin Crowley was our No. 1 pick not that long ago, but we received a bona fide 100-point per year scorer. Although it is somewhat with a heavy heart that we part with Kevin, we have to look forward and going after one of the premier players in the game today made sense.”
The three-time NLL All-Pro has been the runner-up for the NLL MVP award for the last three years and became the first player in league history to record three-straight 100-plus point seasons. Billings is also the two-time reigning NLL Sportsmanship Award winner.The Langley, B.C. native, who played collegiately at the University of Virginia, was the Rock’s first-round (6th overall) selection in the 2009 NLL Draft.