The National Lacrosse League announced today that Toronto Rock forward Stephan Leblanc was named April’s Rookie of the Month after an outstanding 26 point performance.
“I’m real pleased to see Steph honoured like that for his hard work,” said Rock GM-assistant coach Terry Sanderson. “I know deep down that what is most important to him is his playoff run with us.”
Leblanc says Sanderson is bang on.
“It’s an honour to be recognized, but as long as the team keeps winning that’s what means the most to me.”
The first-year played with impressive poise and talent, leading the team with the clutch play of a veteran to receive three game MVP recognitions in the month. Toronto ended April with a 3-1 record, solidifying their post-season fate for the first time in two seasons.
The 24 year old lefty from Dundas, Ontario led the Rock with 26 points from 14 goals and 12 assists in April to end the 2010 regular season with 82 points.
The rookie, who calls himself a “bang and crash guy”, helps score goals, makes hits, and scoops balls. He doesn’t consider himself a standout player, rather a lucky spool of a talented offensive wheel.
“I don’t think its so much my play, as it is the offence as a whole,” said Leblanc. “We’re moving the ball and it’s hard to zone in on just one player. I’m also on the left side with Colin (Doyle) who will always get covered, so it makes more space for me.”
On April 3 in Philadelphia, Leblanc had a month’s best 10 points from five goals and five assists. Even his lowest points performance was above par, getting off a goal and two assists in April 10’s loss in Buffalo.
Leblanc was also honoured as February’s rookie of the month after recording 31 points over six games. Teammate Garrett Billings was given the League nod in January.
The NLL Monthly Player Awards are determined by a vote of the General Managers & Head Coaches of the league’s eleven member clubs.
“We feel that his performance is a sign of good things to come,” added Sanderson. “We are extremely proud of the kid.”
After knocking off the Buffalo Bandits last weekend, Leblanc looks to continue his playing streak into the second round of the NLL playoffs. The Rock head to Orlando to take on the Titans at Amway Arena this Saturday, May 8 at 7:35 p.m.