Monday, May 16, 2016

Oakville Rock add trio of defenders for 2016 season

Challen Rogers (right) will be joining the Oakville Rock after a
standout career with the Jr A Coquitlam Adanacs. (Photo: Ward
Laforme Jr)
The Oakville Rock made big strides in 2015, but a slow start meant they had to battle just to make the playoffs. The team returns much of its roster from last year and is hoping the infusion of three high-profile defenders can push them higher up the Major Series Lacrosse standings and help them compete for their first Mann Cup. 
Oakville native Dan MacRae is an elite National Lacrosse League defender with the Calgary Roughnecks. He spent his first senior season in MSL with the Brampton Excelsiors but has played with the Victoria Shamrocks in the WLA four of the seasons since then, including winning a Mann Cup last summer.
Bradley Kri took a few years to establish himself as a regular starter in the NLL but played a strong role for the Toronto Rock in 2016, particularly in the faceoff circle. 
Perhaps the biggest news is that Challen Rogers is joining the Rock. The Coquitlam Adanacs Jr A grad is a strong candidate for the first overall pick in this fall's NLL Entry Draft. The trio only bolster what was already looking like a bright future for the Rock. 
Below is Oakville's press release outlining the makeup of their roster for this summer.

The Oakville Rock will look to start how they finished last season, not how they started it. After going 0-7 out of the gate, Phillip Sanderson was let go as the team’s Head Coach and replaced by Matt Sawyer, who led the team to a 3rd place finish and their fist ever franchise playoff berth and yet still did not win MSL Coach Of The Year.
There is reason to believe the Rock will improve on last season’s success. Sawyer, for one, is back in the fold, as is the team’s General Manager Josh Sanderson, who took over the reins after his father Terry’s passing. Also returning are Defensive Coach Jon Harasym and Goaltending Coach Pat Campbell. Last year’s Assistant Coach Blaine Manning will not be back this summer, due to family commitments.
In terms of player personnel, the Rock will run with mainly the same offensive group. Both Captain Stephan Leblanc and Dan Lomas, who tied for the team lead in points will headline the left side.  Former Denver University stars Jeremy Noble and Wes Berg will team up once again, while Brett Hickey will be sidelined this summer. Returning this summer will be Toronto Rock Star Rob Hellyer, who makes the right side a tough assignment for opposing defenders. Rounding out the offense will be: Kevin Ross, Brendan Thenhaus, Jordan Critch, Bryan Cole and Rookie Eric Fannell.
The biggest changes for the Rock will be out the back door. General Manager Josh Sanderson said he wanted to get “meaner and bigger!” Joining the fold this year are veteran Defender and Oakville native Dan MaCrae who returns home after winning the Mann Cup with Victoria last season, along with Brad Kri who comes back east with a full season with the Toronto Rock where he asserted himself as a legitimate faceoff man. The Rock are also excited to be adding rookie Challen Rogers who is graduating from Coquitlam Jr. A. Rogers is a big defender who has a good stick and will likely be a top pick in the 2016 NLL Draft. Jamie Batson was acquired in the off-season from Cobourg. Damon Edwards has been rehabbing his knee for almost a full year after suffering a torn ACL in a game against Peterborough. Also returning are Jason Noble, Alex Crepinsek, Mitch Desnoo and Billy Hostrawser who will spend the first 3 games of the season serving a suspension as a carry over from last seasons playoffs. Adding some young blood are Ian Mackay was protected as a 2015 Affiliate and Ryan Wagner who was drafted out of St. Catherines Jr. A.
Nick Rose returns between the pipes after what was his best NLL season statistically. His play last season was really the reason the Rock were able to steal some games. Steve Fryer provides a reliable and steady option as a backup.
The Rock will play their home games Monday night’s at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre. Except for Friday, July 8th when the host the Six Nations Chiefs at 8PM. For full schedule or for tickets go to: