The Washington Stealth announced today the signing of third-year forward Rhys Duch, pending league approval. Duch had a stellar sophomore campaign for the Stealth, earning National Lacrosse League second team All-Pro honors in 2010.
Duch was certainly deserving of the All-Pro nod last season, finishing seventh in the NLL in points with 86. His 53 assists and 33 goals ranked him seventh and 12th in the league, respectively. Duch was twice named the NLL’s Player of the Week in the last month of the regular season. He continued that momentum into the playoffs, leading all players in goals (11), assists (14) and points (25), a major contributor in the Stealth’s first NLL title in team history.
“Rhys is one of the top forwards in the NLL and one of the game’s rising stars,” said Stealth General Manager Doug Locker. “He was a huge part of our championship run a year ago, and its great to have him back to help us defend our title in 2011. Rhys is not only a great lacrosse player, but is a terrific person and a very positive role model for lacrosse here in the Pacific Northwest.
Duch was originally drafted by the Stealth with the third overall selection in the 2008 NLL Entry Draft, and has appeared in every game since then. He earned Rookie of the Year honors and a spot on the All-Rookie team in 2009, setting the NLL rookie-scoring record with 89 points (35g, 54a).
The 24-year old has enjoyed a great deal of success outside of the NLL as well. The Victoria, B.C., native spends his summers playing for the hometown Shamrocks and has been terrorizing Western Lacrosse Association defenses for the last two years. In 2009, he was second in the WLA with 84 points (43g, 41a) in 18 regular season games. He earned second team WLA All-Star honors. In 12 regular season games in 2010, Duch tallied 55 points (28g, 27a) and continued to show his big-game prowess in the playoffs, leading the WLA with 49 playoff points (18g, 31a) in just ten games. He was named a first team All-Star in 2010.
Duch has also taken his skills to the field game, playing for silver medalist Canada in last summer’s FIL World Championships in Manchester, England. He played his college lacrosse at NCAA Division I Stony Brook University (NY), and led the team with 28 assists his senior year, ranking him fifth in the nation with two assists per game. He was an All-America East Conference selection that season.
“We got such an awesome reception last season at the Comcast Arena,” said Duch, who spent his first season with the Stealth playing in San Jose, Calif. “It’s exciting to know that the fans will be there to support us. It’s only going to get better. I’ve been working hard in the offseason and I know therest of the guys have, too. I can’t wait to get to camp and pick up where we left off.”
The Stealth begins their NLL title defense on January 8, when they travel to Colorado to take the West Division rival Mammoth. The following night, they return to Everett for the 2011 home opener against the Calgary Roughnecks at the Comcast Arena. Season tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 877-MY-75-TIX or at www.stealthlax.com.