The Washington Stealth announced today a four-player deal with the Toronto Rock that sends twelve-year National Lacrosse League veteran Colin Doyle back to the city at which he started his career. In return, the Stealth will receive three of the League’s most exciting young players in Lewis Ratcliff, Tyler Codron and Joel Dalgarno.
Doyle parts with the Stealth after three seasons with the franchise, serving the last two as the team’s captain. He accumulated 280 of his 965 career points (third all-time) with the Stealth, including a league-leading 111 last season. But the 32-year old, Kitchner, Ontario native was ready to get back home. He returns to Toronto, where he won five NLL Championships, three Playoff MVP Awards and a regular season MVP in nine seasons with the club (1999-2006).
“It’s bittersweet. It’s hard to leave an organization that has been so good to me and my family,” said Doyle. “But I’m glad to be home. I’ll miss what I was a part of with the Stealth, but I’m excited about being back with the Rock. Sometimes decisions are made outside of lacrosse.”
“The decision to trade a player of Colin Doyle’s stature was not an easy one for our organization,” said Stealth General Manager Doug Locker, who took over the GM duties earlier this month. “However after working closely with Colin we wanted to honor his wishes to play closer to home. Colin has given much to our organization over the last several years and has proved himself to be one of the finest lacrosse players in the game and certainly he will be missed. We thank him for his extraordinary efforts and leadership and wish him and his family all the best in the future.”
Taking over on the left side of the offense in Doyle’s absence will be Lewis Ratcliff. Ratcliff recorded 68 points with 34 goals and 34 assists for Toronto last season. The 28-year old began his career in 2003 with the Calgary Roughnecks and won the 2004 Champion’s Cup playing for current Stealth Head Coach Chris Hall. In 2007, Ratcliff recorded career-highs in points (104), goals (50) and assists (54). Ratcliff, a Victoria, BC native, will also be reunited with a number of his teammates from the Victoria Shamrocks of the Western Lacrosse Association (WLA) in Canada. Last summer along with Stealth players Rhys Duch, Luke Wiles and Curtis Hodgson, Ratcliff led the Shamrocks to a league-best 14-3-1 regular season record. He earned first-team WLA All-Star honors after leading the league with 116 points in 18 games played. Duch and Wiles each finished in the top four with 84 and 75 points, respectively.
“It’s no secret how much I enjoyed playing for Chris Hall [in Calgary],” said Ratcliff after the trade was announced. “I’m pretty familiar with most of the guys in the Stealth locker room and I can’t wait to get to camp this weekend. This makes a lot of sense for me life-wise. I think the only person more excited than me is my wife,” he added about the prospect of moving closer to his Victoria home.
The Stealth also add one of the top young defensemen in the game with Tyler Codron. Emerging as one of the league’s most athletic cover defenders, Codron’s speed and strength will be a huge asset to the Stealth back door. He was recently named #37 in NLL Insider’s Top 50 players for 2010. The 22-year old Coquitlam, BC native is a former British Columbia Junior A Lacrosse League (BCJALL) Defensive Player of the Year and a 2009 WLA All-Star with Maple Ridge. Codron is expected to join the active roster in February, as he recovers from a knee injury suffered while playing football at the University of British Columbia, where he is also considered a top prospect in the Canadian Football League. “Codron is a tremendous player and athlete,” said Stealth Head Coach Chris Hall. “He will be a huge addition to this team.”
The final piece to the trade was the seventh overall pick in the 2009 NLL Entry Draft, Joel Dalgarno. Dalgarno is a highly touted left-handed forward from Coquitlam, BC. He played field lacrosse at Ohio State University the past four years and was a two-time All-American. He finished as the Buckeyes’ all-time leading goal scorer. In two seasons with Maple Ridge in the WLA, he has posted 100 points in just 23 games. “Delgarno is a rookie who I’m excited to have and he will solidify our left side,” said Hall.
“In the end, I think it’s a win-win for both teams,” Hall commented on the trade. “To lose a player like Colin Doyle is tough, but when you are getting the talent we’re getting in Ratcliff, Codron and Delgarno it definitely eases the blow. We’ve done a lot to improve our team from last season. We will have a lot of depth on both ends of the floor.”
See the revamped Stealth squad this weekend as they hold another open practice session on Sunday, December 20thfrom 1-3pm at the Comcast Arena. The Stealth then open their inaugural season in Washington on January 9, 2010 against the Colorado Mammoth. Ticket packages are available now by calling 877-MY-75-TIX or at www.stealthlax.com.