TORONTO – The Toronto Rock re-signed forward Josh Sanderson and defender Phil Sanderson to two-year contracts, while inking forward Brian Beisel and goalie Bob “Whipper” Watson to one-year deals.
Watson has played his entire career in Toronto and has led the team to five championships. Last season, Watson boasted an 11-4 record and an impressive .757 save percentage.
“With Whipper you have one of the big-time, big-game goalies,” said head coach / GM Terry Sanderson. “It’s nice to know when you look at the back of your defence that the last line is very solid. He creates so much confidence for our guys. He’s the cornerstone to this successful team.”
Josh “Shooter” Sanderson finished third on the team in scoring – fifth in the league – with 102 points in 16 games and led the league in assists with 71. He’s regarded as one of the league’s best set-up men.
Coach Sanderson, who is also Josh’s father, said the left-handed offensive star helped to boost the Rock’s overall production.
“Josh has enabled us to open things up a little more on offence,” he said. “And we’ve got him locked up for a two-year deal, so it shows his commitment to our club.”
Terry’s nephew and Josh’s cousin Phil “Flip” Sanderson is a rugged defender and will add some stability out the backdoor. Phil finished with 3 goals and 10 assists last season and appeared in all 16 of the Rock’s games. Flip also took faceoffs for the Rock, winning 39% of his 108 draws.
Beisel had 7 goals and 8 assists in 15 games last season and was used in both offensive and defensive roles.
“Beisel and Flip (Phil) are two guys we hoped we would get defensive stability with last year when we brought them in and they haven’t disappointed,” Sanderson said. “We’re much better with those two guys in the lineup. They’re gritty and capable of getting things done.”
Along with both Josh and Phil Sanderson, Beisel played in the summer league with the OLA Major Series finalist Brampton Excelsiors. Watson took the summer off to spend time with family.
Last week, the Rock also agreed to terms with forward Mat Giles, acquired in the off-season in a trade with Rochester, and recently-acquired defenceman Brad Macdonald, who came to the Rock as part of a draft-day trade with Calgary. Both players are in their final year of contracts signed with their former clubs.
“I’m happy with how this team is shaping up,” said Sanderson. “We’ll continue to work hard to sign the rest of our guys in time for training camp in the fall.”
As per club policy, other terms of the deal were not disclosed.