Hello Barkers, its been a while. Just thought I'd take the chance to fill you in on what I have been doing since I last checked in after the final NLL game in Washington. Lets just say, that the loss still stings every time someone has brings it up over the summer. That should add significant fuel to our fire this upcoming season, which is now only a few months away! Can't come quick enough.
First off, the NLL lost another franchise. That sucks. The Orlando Titans are gone and their players have been dispersed. Many good players have found new homes and the NLL product will be its strongest ever. We are now down to 10 teams, five in the East and five in the West. The Titans were a power house on the floor for the last few seasons and have dispersed great players into new cities. Matt Vinc to Colorado, Casey Powell to Boston etc., etc. The on floor product this year, will be the NLL's best ever....I guarantee it! There are now 10 NLL cities, all of which are really or fairly good markets. This should be a great year for the NLL. One thing that will make it much better is the attainment of a t.v. deal. I really hope we can nail one down, as it will prove trivial in the growth of the league and of the game in the long run.
As far as the Rock goes, we picked up some really good players in the dispersal draft as well. We added Mike McClellan, Matt MaCleod and through a trade with Minnesota Tim O'Brien (one of my personal favs). There is also the chance of signing ex Rock stallward Patrick Merrill though free agency and the rumours of us landing restricted free agent Paul Dawson. Changes seem to be a plenty, but the core will remain to try and do what we fell a little short of last year....Win the Champions Cup! McCleod and McClellan are great offensive players who do drastically different things. McCleod, a graduate of the Minto Cup Champion Orangeville Northmen, is a tough, scrappy kid who can score and get up the floor from the defensive end. In my opinion, you can't have enough Northmen as they just seem to win! Secondly, McClellan is a pure off ball player who continually scores in the NLL. He works hard, doesn't demand the ball and keeps his feet moving. Fans in Toronto, will love this guy. What can I say about Tim O'Brien? In my opinion, the toughest and most feared player in the NLL. He has played with us before and I know for a fact that teams will have to pay when taking liberties on our guys from now on in! He is a great team guy, who answers the bell when needed! He should help make us a lot tougher, and that can't hurt. If we are lucky enough to sign Patrick, I will be thrilled. I am sure there are a million other teams after his services, but I truly hope we get him. A true leader, faceoff man, and defender who is a winner first type of guy. I have won with him in the past, and know that are chances of winning get better with him on board. Here's to hoping! We will be different, as will every other team in the league. We will need to get better in order to compete and our staff is seeing that we are ready to go from the start of camp which should be set to go in late November. I can't wait!
In the meantime, we are locked in a very heated, best of seven series with the Brampton Excelsiors in our summer lacrosse league. We are currently down 2 games to 1 to a very good team. That being said, I think we can make it a series on Friday when we host Brampton back in Six Nations for game four. Aside from last night's 8-3 loss, I think we have proved we can play with them. Now we need to prove it with a win on our home floor. It should be a great series and fans of the OLA (Canadian Summer Lacrosse) should do what they can to get out and see the great action.
Aside from playing, I have also been busy running a series of summer lacrosse camps for the Toronto Rock. This summer has been an amazing experience so far! We have completed the Kitchener-Waterloo, Orangeville and Whitby camps, and have one more to do in Oakville at the end of August. The kids all around the province have been a blast to work with and have shown me that lacrosse is truly a great game to teach and LEARN. The campers have shown me new tricks, new moves and most of all how to have fun. I have truly enjoyed this summer's camp experience and can't wait to finish off in Oakville and do them all over again next summer. As a teacher, it is great to be able to combine my love for teaching and my love of lacrosse. I am truly blessed to be able to do both!
I'll get back in touch weekly again, to keep you all posted on my goings on. It has been a busy summer and things are likely to get a bit more crazy when the Doyle Clan welcomes our newest edition in late October.
Until next time, Cheers.