TORONTO – The Toronto Rock Lacrosse Club announced its 23-man roster today, returning Jim Veltman, Colin Doyle, Bob Watson and Dan Ladouceur, four veteran players with five championships under their belt.
The Rock will welcome six new players to the fold including rookies Matt Taylor and Rob Marshall and free-agent signings Mat Giles, J.J. Dickie, Scott Campbell and Brad MacDonald.
Rock head coach and general manager Terry Sanderson said the privilege of having 17 players return is going to help the Rock repeat as champions in a highly competitive NLL East Division.
“We’re pleased with the number of players we have returning from last year along with the new guys we brought in to replace guys lost through expansion,” Sanderson said. “We’re grittier and we know we’re younger, but we think the upside is going to be good for this club.”
Of the free agents, Dickie and Giles will play on offence while Campbell and MacDonald add young talent to the Rock’s defence. MacDonald is also strong in transition.
“We realize the target is on our back,” Sanderson said. “We’re confident the adjustments are going to work, and we’ll compete again.”
Giles, who was a Mann Cup finalist with the Peterborough Lakers in the Senior A box lacrosse loop, spent last season with the rival Rochester Knighthawks, while Campbell spent most of the time on the Injured Reserve with the Minnesota Swarm. MacDonald, who won an NLL championship in his rookie season in 2004 with the Calgary Roughnecks, was acquired in a draft-day trade while Dickie did not play pro in 2005.
Eight of the 23 active roster players played with the Ontario Lacrosse Association provincial finalist Brampton Excelsiors squad.
The youngest player on the team is now Marshall, a 21-year-old rookie defender from Elora. Taylor, a 22-year-old who has won two consecutive Canadian University Field Lacrosse Championships with the Brock Badgers, is the next youngest player and the only other rookie on the active roster.
A three-man practice roster will be announced early in 2006, before the season opener.
Here is the roster:
Bob Watson and Phil Wetherup.
Dan Ladouceur, Patrick Merrill, Rob Marshall, Brian Beisel, Phil Sanderson, Derek Suddons, Brad MacDonald, Jim Veltman, Ian Rubel, Scott Campbell and Chris Driscoll.
Colin Doyle, Aaron Wilson, Mat Giles, Blaine Manning, Josh Sanderson, Rusty Kruger, Jason Henhawk, Matt Shearer, J.J. Dickie and Tim O’Brien.
Matt Taylor, Chet Koneczny and Jay Preece
The Rock begins defence of the Champion’s Cup on Jan. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Air Canada Centre in a rematch of last year’s championship final against the Arizona Sting. For tickets, visit www.ticketmaster.ca or call (416) 872-5000.