The National Lacrosse League has announced three finalists for the 2015 Pinty’s Wingman of the Year Award. Calgary Roughnecks forward Shawn Evans, Toronto Rock forward Josh Sanderson and Buffalo Bandits forward Dhane Smith were named as the top trio of playmakers in the league this season.
Evans set the new NLL single-season scoring record with a league-high 130 points, tied the league record with 83 assists, and had 47 goals which were sixth-most overall. The 10-year veteran led the league in shorthanded goals (5) and power play assists (31) while his 96 loose balls ranked third among forwards, 12th among non-faceoff men and 21st overall. Evans scored at least two goals in 15 of 18 games played including nine hat tricks, had four or more points in every game, and four-plus assists in 13 games. The 29-year-old won the NLL MVP award in 2013. The Peterborough, Ont. native, who played collegiately at Bellarmine University, was the second overall pick in the 2005 NLL Draft. Evans won Wingman of the Week twice in 2015.
Sanderson tied for the league lead and tied the NLL single-season record with 83 assists while finishing sixth in the scoring race with 102 points (19+83). The 38-year-old helped the Rock to a first-place finish and eventual East Division title as the team’s leading scorer. The 18-year NLL veteran had 13 points in one game, which marked the highest single-game output in the league this year, and had at least one point in all 18 games played including 11 games with six-plus points. His 90 loose balls were fifth most among NLL forwards. The Orangeville, Ont. native, who was a second-round (16th overall) selection in 1997 NLL Draft, won the NLL Player of the Month award for January and won Wingman of the Week three times during the regular season.
Smith finished third overall in the league in assists (68), fourth in points (107), and ninth in goals (38) in his breakout season. The third-year pro recovered 75 loose balls, which ranked eighth among forwards and tied for 36th overall in the league. The 23-year-old recorded at least one assist and three points in all 18 games played including 14 games with five or more points. A two-way forward with defensive and special teams roles, Smith also tied for the league lead with four shorthanded assists. The Kitchener, Ont. native was selected in the first-round (5th overall) of the 2012 NLL Draft. Smith won Wingman of the Week twice during the regular season.
Pinty’s served as an official partner for the NLL on TSN during the 2015 season. Each week, an NLL player received the “Pinty’s Wingman of the Week” award based on their performance with respect to passing prowess and playmaking abilities. The weekly winners were automatically entered into the pool of nominees for the first-ever Pinty’s Wingman of the Year award, with the finalists determined by the league office.
Week 1) Josh Sanderson – Toronto Rock
Week 2) Josh Sanderson – Toronto Rock
Week 3) Ryan Benesch – Buffalo Bandits
Week 4) Adam Jones – Colorado Mammoth
Week 5) Dan Dawson – Rochester Knighthawks
Week 6) Dhane Smith – Buffalo Bandits
Week 7) Cody Jamieson – Rochester Knighthawks
Week 8) Rob Hellyer – Toronto Rock
Week 9) Josh Sanderson – Toronto Rock
Week 10) Shawn Evans – Calgary Roughnecks
Week 11) Jeremy Noble – Colorado Mammoth
Week 12) Curtis Dickson – Calgary Roughnecks
Week 13) Mark Matthews – Edmonton Rush
Week 14) Shawn Evans – Calgary Roughnecks
Week 15) Brett Hickey – Toronto Rock
Week 16) Mark Matthews – Edmonton Rush
Week 17) Dhane Smith – Buffalo Bandits
Week 18) Ben McIntosh – Edmonton Rush
The 2015 Pinty’s Wingman of the Year award winner will be announced at the NLL Season Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 29 in Toronto, Ont.
Established in 1943, Pinty’s Delicious Foods Inc. has long been recognized as a poultry industry builder, innovator, and leader. The company provides a complete range of premium quality, value-added fresh and frozen chicken products to the Retail and Food Service Industry. The Burlington, Ont.-based food manufacturer has added the NLL to an extensive list of sports sponsorships that includes the NFL, NASCAR, Tennis Majors on TSN, and athletes Team Jacobs and Team Homan. Pinty’s is also the title sponsor of TSN’s annual All-Star Curling Skins Game.