Vancouver, BC – The Vancouver Stealth announced today that the team has acquired Ilija Gajic from the Colorado Mammoth in exchange for Bob Snider pending approval by the National Lacrosse League. Gajic, a native of Burnaby, British Columbia spent four seasons with Colorado after being selected 2nd overall in the 2009 NLL Entry Draft.
In his four seasons with the Mammoth Gajic appeared in 53 regular season games scoring 28 goals and 34 assists for 62 points while grabbing 356 looseballs. He played 2 playoff games for the Mammoth recording 2 goals and 1 assist to go along with 11 looseballs.
Part way through the 2012 season Gajic took over primary face-off duties and had huge success winning 116 of 231 draws. Taking face-offs was a new role for Gajic but he accepted the challenge and its now an important aspect of his game. In 2012 he also collected 5 goals, 11 assists and led the Mammoth in looseballs with 124.
The strong 2012 NLL season carried over into the Western Lacrosse Association where Gajic plays for the New Westminster Salmonbellies. Gajic had a break out season offensively in the 2012, scoring 24 goals and 21 assists.
Gajic has shown an ability to win in big games as he won back-to-back Minto Cups with his hometown team the Junior A Burnaby Lakers in 2004 and 2005. He also took home MVP honours in the 2005 tournament.
Stealth Head Coach Chris Hall believes Gajic’s skill set will fit perfectly in Vancouver,
“He brings leadership qualities, he’s gritty and can play anywhere, which is very valuable in our league,” Hall said.
The Burnaby native also enjoyed some post-secondary ball in the USA where he played three seasons with the University of Denver. Now Gajic will have an opportunity to play professional lacrosse close to home and in front of friends and family.
The Stealth gain a significant player but lose another as Bob Snider will begin the next chapter of his career in Colorado. Snider has been one of the more dominant face-off men in the NLL in recent years and in 2012 he set a record with 319 face-off wins.
President and GM Doug Locker knows it wasn’t an easy choice,
“It was a difficult decision to trade Bob to the Mammoth, we are extremely grateful for his time and effort he put forth on our behalf during his time with the Stealth. We certainly wish him all the best in his career moving forward.”
On the other hand Locker believes Gajic will add a new dynamic to the Stealth,
“We are excited to be able to add a player of Ilija’s calibre to our team. He is not only an exceptional lacrosse player, but a fantastic leader and a fierce competitor. It’s also very special to have Ilija come back to Vancouver to represent his home this coming NLL season with the Stealth.”
The Vancouver Stealth and newly added Gajic will begin their 2014 season in their new home at the Langley Events Centre, this January. Season tickets are still available at www.stealthlax.com or on our website at www.langleyeventscentre.com.