Its a historic day for the National Lacrosse League, they have announced the naming of Jessica Berman as Deputy Commissioner and EVP of Business Affairs. Berman is the first woman to hold the title as Deputy Commissioner in any pro sports league in North America.
In a press release, NLL commissioner Nick Sakiewicz said, “Her wide-ranging background fits exactly with the growth trajectory we are on, and her addition to our veteran team is a perfect cultural fit and win for the league, our member clubs and for the sport of lacrosse.”
Berman comes to the NLL after spending 13 years working in the NHL. During her time with the NHL, she most served as the Vice President, Community Development, Culture and Growth at the National Hockey League, as well as Executive Director of the NHL Foundation. She also holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and a Law degree from Fordham.
With the NLL, Berman will oversee all of the league’s legal affairs and transactions, manage team services, and assist the Commissioner with the NLL’s overall growth strategy.
With the NLL Draft coming up in just a few weeks, training camp a few months away, and free agency well underway its time to start looking ahead to the 2019-2020 season. This season is a little different as it will mark the beginning of a new decade. First, let’s take a look back at the 2010s and see who was the Team of The Decade in the NLL.
Others Considered: Saskatchewan Rush,
Now the Halifax Thunderbirds, the Rochester Knighthawks dominated the decade that was the 2010s. During this past decade they made four NLL finals appearances and won three consecutive titles to claim the first and three-peat in league history.
In addition, the Knighthawks made the playoffs six times this decade (2011-2015, 2018). They appeared in the Eastern division semifinals in 2011, Eastern division final in 2015, and the finals in 2018.
Rochester’s dominance had been churning with the amount of high level players that had on their roster, but finally broke through in 2012 when they defeated the Edmonton Rush 9-6 to claim their third championship in franchise history.
In 2013, Rochester defeated the Washington Stealth 11-10 to capture the NLL championship, and in 2014 they defeated the Calgary Roughnecks 2-1 in the NLL Finals series to complete their three-peat. In 2012 and 2013, Cody Jameison was named Championship Game MVP while Dan Dawson was named Final MVP in 2014. Jameison was also named the league MVP in 2014, as well.
In addition to Jameison and Dawson, goalie Matt Vinc was a huge part of the Rochester franchise and in part a key figure during their three-peat run. Vinc won goaltender of the year in 2013 and 2014 after their championships, and also claimed the award in 2010, 2011, 2015, and 2018.
Some other notable players that the Knighthawks had on their roster during this decade, and especially during their championship years include Joe Walters, Johnny Powless, Stephen Keogh, Scott Campbell, and Cory Vitarelli.
The old Rochester Knightahwks may be in Halifax now, and many fans are still bitter even with a new Rochester Knightahwks expansion team, but they were in fact the team of 2010s as they dominated the league more than anyone else did.
The New England Black Wolves have signed veteran defenseman Creighton Reid to a two-year contract deal.
Reid comes to New England after spending the 2019 season with the Toronto Rock. He has also spent time in Calgary, Colorado, and Buffalo over the course of his career. A Milton, Ontario native, Reid began his career with Toronto during the 2010 season.
Last season, Reid tallied six points, chased down 55 loose balls, and caused 18 turnovers in 18 games with the Rock. He has a career total of 86 points (25G/61A), 129 caused turnovers, and 588 ground balls.
In New England, Reid adds depth and talent to a defensive unit highlighted by David Brock, Greg Downing, Andrew Suitor, and others.
The Calgary Roughnecks have re-signed forward Jesse King to a two-year contract deal. King was traded from Georgia to Calgary on draft night last year.
King only played in six games for Calgary last season due to a knee injury that sidelined him until the last two games of the regular season. He was a big figure in helping Calgary capture the 2019 NLL Championship, tallying 17 points (6G/11A) in the playoffs. He had nine points (3G/6A) in the two regular season games that he appeared in for Calgary.
Brining King back is huge for the Roughnecks, especially now that they will have him for more than just the end of the season. A fully healthy Jesse King playing all season alongside Curtis Dickson, Rhys Duch, and Dane Dobbie with make for an even more dangerous offense in Calgary. King especially adds a very reliable outside shooting option for the Roughnecks.
The Victoria, British Columbia native was drafted in third overall in the 2015 NLL draft by the Georgia Swarm. He played in 2016 and 2018 with Georgia, and was injured in 2017 before being traded to Calgary. King has a career total of 155 points (53G/102A) thus far.
The Halifax Thunderbirds have signed veteran defenseman Scott Campbell to a one-year contract deal. Campbell comes to Halifax after being traded from Rochester to Saskatchewan midway through the 2019 season.
A 17-year veteran, Campbell spent seven full seasons with the Rochester Knighthawks before being traded to Saskatchewan last season. He has also spent time with the Boston Blazers, Toronto Rock, and the Minnesota Swarm. He was part of Rochester’s NLL championship three-peat from 2012-2014.
Last season, the Ontario native chased down 65 loose balls, caused 15 turnovers, and tallied 11 points (5G/6A). He has a career total of 127 points (51G/76A), 927 loose balls, and 112 caused turnovers.
Campbell will be a veteran leader and crucial piece of Halifax’s defense this season, becoming a headliner on that end of the floor along with Graeme Hossack. In addition, Luc Mangan and James Barclay also add talent and depth to the Thunderbirds defensive corp.
On Wednesday morning, the Rochester Knighthawks signed Paul Dawson to a three-year deal and veteran goalie Brandon Miller signed with the Philadelphia Wings, ending his one-year retirement.
Dawson, a 13-year veteran, comes to Philadelphia after a finishing last season with San Diego. He played for the former Rochester Knighthawks franchise for six full seasons prior to being traded to San Diego midway through last season. The defenseman has also made stops in San Jose, Boston, and Philadelphia over the course of his career.
The defenseman recorded 10 caused turnovers, and chased down 59 loose balls last season, and dished out three assists. He has a career total of 78 points (23G/56A), 661 ground balls, and 95 caused turnovers.
Miller comes to Philadelphia after retiring after the 2018 season. He last played for the Toronto Rock from 2015-2018. The goalie has also spent time with Albany, San Jose, Chicago, and the former Philadelphia Wings franchise.
During the 2018 season, Miller played in 15 games and made 35 saves with a .761 save percentage. He has a career total of 5,073 saves, a.762 save percentage, and 12.10 goals against average.
The Toronto made another big move in free agency today as they signed unrestricted free agent veteran defenseman David Brock to a two-year contract deal.
Brock, a nine-year veteran, comes to Toronto after two seasons with the New England Black Wolves where he was a part of that defense. The London, Ontario native has also made stops with the Buffalo Bandits, Philadelphia Wings, and Boston Blazers during his career.
In a press release from the team Brock said, “This really is a dream come true for me to play at home in Toronto. Now it’s time to get to work and get ready for what I think is going to be a great season. I’m very excited to have this opportunity with the Rock.”
Last season with New England, Brock recorded 34 caused turnovers, scooped up 104 ground balls, and tallied 17 points (10G/7A). He also helped lead New England to two straight playoff appearances during his time there.
In Toronto, Brock will be joining a defensive corp that features Brock Sorensen, Bradley Kri, Latrell Harris, and others. In addition to his talents, Brock adds more depth and veteran leadership to a unit that could really use it.
On Tuesday, the Rochester Knighthawks have signed expansion draftees Curtis Knight, Dylan Evans, and Jay Thorimbert to one-year deals. In addition, the Colorado Mammoth have re-signed defenseman Scott Carnegie.
Knight comes to Rochester after play six seasons with the Saskatchewan Rush. The forward has recorded 307 points (122G/185A) and chased down 350 loose balls over his career thus far. Knight has been crucial in the Rush’s offense over the past six seasons and is likely to play a similar or bigger role in Rochester.
Evans comes to Rochester after one season with the Philadelphia Wings. The ten-year veteran spent the first eight years of his career with the previous Rochester Knighthawks and half of a season with the New England Black Wolves prior to being acquired by Philadelphia before last season. A Brampton, Ontario native, Evans has a career total of 51 points (12G/29A).
A native of Whitby, Ontario, Thorimbert comes to Rochester after one season with the Toronto Rock. The defenseman has also spent time with the New England Black Wolves, Buffalo Bandits, Minnesota Swarm, and Boston Blazers over his career. Thorimbert has a career total of 1,569 loose balls and 72 caused turnovers. He has also tallied a career total 106 points (40G/66A).
The Philadelphia Wings have signed nine-year veteran Cory Vitarelli. The forward comes to Philadelphia after finishing last season with the Colorado Mammoth, helping them make a NLL west divisional final appearance.
A native of Peterborough, Ontario, Vitarelli started his career with Rochester, being signed in December of 2010. The forward spent eight and a half seasons with Rochester before being traded to Colorado last season.
Last season, Vitarelli recorded 40 points (23G/17A) and chased down 51 loose balls. He has a career total of 327 points (192G/135A) and 540 loose balls. Vitarelli has also won three NLL championships with Rochester (2012,2013,2014).
Now coming to Philadelphia, Vitarelli will be a great asset as a certain offensive threat and a veteran leader. He will be joining an offensive core that features Kevin Crowley along with younger players such as Matt Rambo, and others.
The Buffalo Bandits have announced that they have re-signed transition player Kevin Brownell and forward Dallas Bridle to two-year deals. Also, Toronto and Rochester were involved in a two team trade.
Brownell, a seven-year veteran, has been with the Bandits his entire career. The transition player has been a key figure for the Bandits during his tenure in Buffalo, thus far. Last season he served as one of the Bandits’ alternate captains, helping to lead them to an NLL Finals appearance.
In 2018-19, Brownell tallied 14 points (3G/11A), chased down 74 loose balls, and caused 13 caused turnovers. Brownell has a career total of 96 points (32G/64A), 514 loose balls, and 102 caused turnovers.
Bridle spent most of last season on the Bandits’ practice roster. He did play in one game, tallying two assists and three loose balls. The Orangeville, Ontario native has had an outstanding summer, tallying 27 points (11G/16) with the Brampton Excelsiors during the MSL regular season.
In addition to Buffalo’s two signings, the Toronto Rock and Rochester Knighthawks have engaged in a trade that sends forward Phil Caputo to Rochester in exchange for a second-round draft pick in 2020.
Caputo has played the last three seasons in Toronto after being acquired from New England after the 2016 season. Caputo only played two games for the Rock last season, chasing down three loose balls and recording 22 penalty minutes.