September 18, 2015
TORONTO ROCK PLAYERS CHASE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
2015 World Indoor Lacrosse Championship Gets Underway This Weekend
Oakville, ON – The Toronto Rock will be well represented with three players participating in the 2015 World Indoor Lacrosse Championships that kickoff this weekend in Syracuse, NY.
Team Canada will be in pursuit of a fourth consecutive WILC title when they open play on Sunday evening against the host Team Iroquois. The Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) event is held every four years. Canada has a spotless 17-0 record, capturing each of the first three tournaments emblematic of global lacrosse supremacy.
The Rock originally had four members competing at the WILC, however transition player Brodie Merrill withdrew from Team Canada earlier this week due to an injured hand. Merrill anticipates making a full recovery in time for Toronto Rock training camp at the end of November.
Pulling on the red and white maple leaf from the Rock are Stephan Leblanc and Brandon Miller. Goaltender Nick Rose will play for England in the tournament and already has an 8-7 exhibition win over Australia under his belt as his team officially opens the tournament on Saturday against the Czech Republic.
Leblanc gained some international experience playing for Team Canada in an exhibition game in November of 2013 in Montreal, Quebec at the Bell Centre against Team Iroquois. The Rock veteran scored four goals and added an assist in leading Team Canada to a 12-11 win over Team Iroquois, the same team many feel will be Canada’s biggest challenger to the world indoor lacrosse throne.
Canada is deep everywhere, but there’s no position on the floor that they have more of a depth advantage than in goal. Aaron Bold, Matt Vinc and Miller are the three goaltenders that will fight for playing time in the Canadian crease. So that mix of masked men left Rose, a world-class goaltender in his own right, out of the Team Canada goaltending picture.
Since Rose’s grandfather is of English descent, that meant he was eligible to play for Team England at this year’s WILC. Non-passport holders, like Rose, are allowed to play as long as they are, in this case, English within two generations (grandparents or parents). Each team is allowed to roster up to four non-passport holders. It’s an opportunity that the 27-year old netminder has embraced.
“I’m looking forward to meeting some new people and really taking in the experience,” said Rose who will wear his grandfather’s name, Jack Cutler on the back of his jersey as a family tribute. “All of the guys I have met already are great guys, they’ve been together for a while, so I’m the new guy. I’m just trying to stay under the radar, play well and get in some good preparation for Rock training camp on top of it all.
“We have a reasonable shot to play for the bronze medal. We will be in tough against the tournament favourites, but if we can beat the Czech Republic on Saturday, we can set ourselves up nicely play into the medal round.”
Rose will have some NLL company on the Team England bench. Mike Hasen, head coach of the Rochester Knighthawks, will serve as the head coach of Team England. Current Calgary Roughnecks defenceman Tyson Roe and NLL veteran Tom Johnson will suit up in front of Rose for Team England as well.
Fans can follow the 2015 WILC by visiting www.wilc2015.com. All games leading up to the final will be broadcast online through the official website. Four games, including the championship game on Sunday, September 27th at 4pm ET, will be broadcast live on Universal Sports and online at www.universalsports.com.