Toronto – The Toronto Rock will open their regular season in Sunrise, Florida this weekend when they take on the New York Titans at the BankAtlantic Center at 8:00 p.m. EST on Saturday January 3rd 2009. The game, referred to as the Florida Lacrosse Cup will be the first-ever professional lacrosse game to be played in the state of Florida.
Saturday evening’s game marks the season opening game for both clubs and will debut a re-built Toronto Rock team with several new players on the roster that are ready to begin their run to a Championship season.
“We have a lot of new bodies and went through a lot of positive changes throughout the off season” says Rock coach Glenn Clark. “The team has become a little more physical and athletic and we’re in a good position to respond to the tough teams like the Titans” he added.
Clark is joined by former Rock veteran captain Jim Veltman behind the bench this season and Terry Bullen remains as assistant coach for 2009.
Veteran goalie Bob Watson anchors the Rock defence which includes the return of Chad Thompson and welcomes Stephen Hoar and rookie Jeff Gilbert among returning players such as new captain Chris Driscoll, Peter Lough, Scott Campbell and Rob Marshall. Cam Woods and Dan Ladouceur also return and add strength to the defensive lineup.
Blaine Manning returns after coming off an impressive 74 point season (30 goals, 44 assists) in 2008 and forward Lewis Ratcliff will begin his first full season with the Rock this weekend after joining the team mid season last year. Ratcliff scored 42 goals last season, 13 of which were in the five games with the Rock.
Ratcliff and Manning are joined by newcomer forwards Jason Crosbie, Josh Wasson, Bill McGlone and Luke Wiles. Wiles, acquired by the Rock in September during a trade with the San Jose Stealth, tallied 54 points (20 goals, 34 assists) last season with San Jose.
Also joining the roster this season is forward Craig Conn, who is expected to return to the floor at the end of January after taking the entire 2008 season off to rest an injury.
The Rock and Titans split the season series 1-1, in 2008 and the Rock are looking to kick off the ’09 schedule with a win on the road this weekend.
The Rock vs. Titans game on Saturday evening will be available live via streaming video, free of charge, at www.nll.com <http://www.nll.com> .
The Rock return to Toronto for the home opener on Saturday January 10th 2009 when they host the NLL defending Champions, Buffalo Bandits at the Air Canada Centre. Game time scheduled for 7:00 p.m. EST.