The National Lacrosse League has announced three finalists for the 2014 NLL Sportsmanship Award. Toronto Rock forward Garrett Billings, Edmonton Rush forward Curtis Knight and Buffalo Bandits forward Shawn Williams were all deemed to have exemplified a high level of sportsmanship to go along with tremendous play on the field this season.
Billings, who this year became the first player in league history to record three-straight 100-plus point seasons, registered just two penalty minutes in 15 games played before suffering a season-ending knee injury. The Langley, BC native won the Sportsmanship Award in 2013 and continues to serve as an ambassador for the game. The five-year pro, who played collegiately at the University of Virginia, was the sixth-overall pick in the 2009 NLL Entry Draft.
Knight, who enjoyed a breakout sophomore season by leading the Rush with 35 goals while finishing second on the team with 72 points (35+37), recorded only two penalty minutes in 18 games played in 2014. The Oshawa, ON native, who played collegiately at the University of Guelph, was the eighth-overall selection in the 2012 NLL Entry Draft.
Williams, a 17-year NLL veteran, finished fifth on the Bandits in scoring with 49 points (13+36) and recorded eight penalty minutes in 2014. The Scarborough, ON native played in all 18 games this year to extend his league-record ironman streak to 230-straight games. The 39-year-old persevered through his son’s battle with lymphoma and remains as one of the most respected players in the NLL both on and off the field.
The 2014 NLL Season Awards are determined by a vote of the league’s Board of Governors, General Managers and Head Coaches. The winners will be announced at the first-ever NLL Season Awards Ceremony on Sunday, Sept. 21 in Oakville, ON.
The schedule of finalist announcement for the remaining NLL Season Awards is as follows:
Tuesday, June 10: General Manager of the Year Award finalists
Wednesday, June 11: Head Coach of the Year (The Les Bartley Award) Award finalists
Thursday, June 12: Defensive Player of the Year Award finalists
Monday, June 16: Transition Player of the Year Award finalists
Tuesday, June 17: Goaltender of the Year Award finalists
Wednesday, June 18: Rookie of the Year Award finalists
Thursday, June 19: Most Valuable Player Award finalists
Monday, June 23: Executive of the Year Award finalists
Tuesday, June 24: Media Person of the Year (The Tom Borrelli Award)