It was a very busy draft day for the Washington Stealth as they made their selections in the 2010 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft. The Stealth, who going into the draft were without a pick until the third round, made a last-minute trade with the Minnesota Swarm to move up to the 13th pick in what many were calling the deepest draft in recent memory. At the end of the night, the Stealth added seven players that will join the returning Stealth squad at training camp in December.
In the trade with Minnesota, the Stealth sent second-year forward Alex Turner and fifth-year goaltender Aaron Bold to the Swarm in exchange for the 13th and 23rd picks in the draft. With the 13th pick, the Stealth selected Coquitlam Andanacs Junior “A” captain Matt Beers. Widely regarded as one of the toughest defenders in the Junior “A” league, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Beers will add size and strength to the Stealth defense. “Beers is a big, strong, tough kid who can take the ball down the floor,” said Stealth Head Coach Chris Hall following the draft. Beers proved that with the Adanacs last season, scoring seven goals and adding twelve assists out of the back door.
“I’m very excited to join the Stealth and play with some of the best players in the world,” said Beers. “It will be great to learn from players like [Stealth Captain] Colin Doyle. I can’t wait to get to training camp and show what I can do.”
With the 23rd pick, the Stealth took Victoria Shamrocks Junior “A” standout Eric Sage. Sage is another big, athletic defenseman, weighing in at 6-foot-3, 210-pounds. In 21 games with Victoria last year, the big lefty recorded 16 points.
Following that pick, the Stealth made another trade, this time with the Buffalo Bandits, sending third year forward Frank Resetarits to the Bandits for the 24th selection. The Stealth then picked University of North Carolina midfielder Ben Hunt. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound Hunt was one of the most dominant midfielders in the country with the Tar Heels, earning USILA coaches All-American and All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors. He was also a member of the Washington Bayhawks last summer in Major League Lacrosse. While the Maryland native doesn’t have a tremendous amount of indoor lacrosse experience, he relishes the opportunity to expand his game. “I’ve heard nothing but great things about the indoor game,” said Hunt. “I look forward to the physicality of indoor lacrosse and to get on to the floor and start improving my game.”
After all the trades, the Stealth moved on to the third round where they held the 29th and 30th selections. At 29, they picked Victoria Junior “A” transition player Rhys Jones. Jones played a primarily defensive role in his junior career, and at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, he grew into a lock down defender for the BC Junior “A” Lacrosse League’s second place team. With the 30th pick, the Stealth selected Burnaby Lakers Junior “A” goaltender Ray Hodgkinson. In 15 games last season, Hodgkinson was eighth in the league with an 11.00 goals against average and a 78.69 save percentage.
In the fifth round (49th overall), the Stealth selected Mercer Island native and Georgetown University midfielder Chris Taylor. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Taylor was a captain for the Hoyas as a senior and became the first Washington native to play professional lacrosse when he made his debut with the Washington Bayhawks. He now will have the opportunity to play in front of friends and family with the Stealth.
With their final selection of the draft in the sixth round (58th overall), the Stealth acquired Rutgers University defenseman Chris O’Dougherty. O’Dougherty was a three-time All-ECAC selection with the Scarlet Knights and was drafted 31stoverall in the MLL Collegiate Draft by the Denver Outlaws.
Heading into the draft, the primary goal for the Stealth was to improve on the defensive end of the floor; a goal Hall thinks they accomplished. “Last season our offense was one of the best in the league,” said Hall. “We needed to get stronger, tougher and faster out of the back door, and I think we did that today. Camp will be spirited to say the least.”
Stealth President and General Manager Johnny Mouradian agreed. “We went in with a plan and we executed it. We came out of the draft a better club than we went in, and provided a lot of size and depth to our defense.”
When the team gathers for training camp later this fall, there will be a number of new faces battling to make the 23-man roster. “There will be a lot of competition in training camp not just for roster spots, but for starting jobs as well,” added Mouradian.
The Stealth open the 2010 season on January 9 against the Colorado Mammoth. Season tickets are available now with packages starting at just $75. For more information, log on to www.stealthlax.com or call 877-MY-75-TIX.