On September 18, the Colorado Mammoth signed goalie Dillon Ward #45 to a five-year contract. This is a historic moment not only for the Mammoth, but Ward as well. Ward was selected by the Mammoth third overall in the 2013 NLL Entry Draft; the highest a goaltender was taken in 14 years. He was originally the backup goalie to veteran Ty Belanger at the beginning of the season. However, the Mammoth made a change soon after the season started giving Ward the starting position, and it was the best move the Mammoth made.
In 2014 he was named Rookie of the Year in the NLL by Inside Lacrosse magazine; was runner-up as NLL Rookie of the Year; and named to the NLL All-Rookie Team. During his rookie season, he had 592 saves; a .773 save percentage; and an 11.58 GAA.
At the FIL World Lacrosse Championships in Denver this past July, Ward played for Team Canada. He started all seven games, with a record of 6-1. At the FIL, Ward was second overall in save percentage boasting 62 saves, 36 GA, a.633 save percentage, fourth in GAA 4.45, and 12th overall in saves with 8.86. Not only was he named Outstanding Goalie, but also the MVP of the FIL and selected to the All-World Team.
Ward has proven that he can handle the pressure of a starting goalie in the NLL; he’s an all-around stellar netminder in field lacrosse as well; and the Florida Launch have protected his rights for the 2015 season. His knowledge of the game having played not only in college where he earned the first All-American award in the history of Bellarmine University; he was named MVP of the Minto Cup in 2012; the 2010 Canadian Player and Goalie of the Year by NLL Insider; and received the Robert Melville Memorial Award as the top Junior “A” goalie in 2008, 2009, and 2011.
At 6’5” and 200 lbs, Ward sees the ball extremely well, covers the net, can read the opposing defense and make saves just as well as goalies that have been playing professional lacrosse for years. With the signing of some key defensive players, all who have height and great defensive capabilities; this will also give Ward that much needed protection in net.
Mammoth General Manager Steve Govett told ColoradoMammoth.com, “As a rookie in 2014, Dillon showed great poise between the pipes as he helped lead us to the postseason. He is as good as advertised, and maybe better!”
The Colorado Mammoth with their new coaching staff; key draft picks; and the signing of veteran players to long term contracts have put themselves in the position to be contenders again in the NLL and fans everywhere will see that the Mammoth will be a team to be reckoned with in the 2014-2015 season.