The Washington Stealth began contract signings for 2010 with five rookies inked to one-year deals. The Stealth’s top pick in the 2009 National Lacrosse League (NLL) Entry Draft, Matt Beers, was signed along with fellow rookies Ray Hodgkinson, Chris Manwaring, Kory Kowalyk and Joe Bell.
Beers was the 13th overall pick in the 2009 NLL Entry Draft. The Coquitlam, BC native was one of the top defenders in the British Columbia Junior A Lacrosse League (BCJALL) with the Coquitlam Adanacs. He was a two-time Junior Defender of the Year and team captain in Coquitlam. Last season, he recorded career-highs with seven goals and twelve assists.
Hodgkinson was selected 30th overall in the NLL Entry Draft. He was a goaltender for five seasons in the BCJALL for six different teams. In 2006, he posted career-highs with a 5.39 goals against average and a .879 save percentage in 18 games played. Most recently, he posted an 11.00 goals against average and a .787 save percentage in 638 minutes between the pipes.
Manwaring signed with the Stealth as a free agent this offseason. He spent the last four seasons with the Burnaby Lakers in the Western Lacrosse Association (WLA), last season as the team’s assistant captain. The 6-foot-1 defenseman earned top defensive honors with the Junior A Lakers in 2005 after the team won their second straight Minto Cup.
Kowalyk was another offseason acquisition for the Stealth. Hailing from Victoria, BC, Kowalyk finished 2009 as a second-team All-Star with the Victoria Junior A Shamrocks of the BCJALL. Despite his transition role, he finished third on the team in scoring with 61 points (36g, 25a) in 21 games. In field lacrosse, Kowalyk has won three field lacrosse provincial championships.
Bell signs with the Stealth this offseason after a stellar 2009 campaign with the Langley Thunder of the WLA. In 14 games, the 6-foot goaltender posted a 9-4-1 record with an 8.05 goals against average and a .810 save percentage, good for third in the league.
The Stealth enter 2010 having reached the playoffs in each of the last three season, including trips to the West Division Finals two of those seasons. The Stealth open the 2010 season on January 9 against the Colorado Mammoth at the Comcast Arena at Everett. Season tickets are available now with packages starting at just $75. Individual game tickets go on sale November 16. For more information, log on to www.stealthlax.com or call 877-MY-75-TIX.