NLL: Ninety-three players selected during 2020 draft party

It’s finally official – Jeff Teat is a member of the New York Riptide. Jim Veltman made the announcement shortly after 7 p.m. on Thursday night as the NLL hosted its first virtual draft. Ninety-three players were selected over six rounds.

Though the NLL doesn’t have a return to play date yet, things are already in motion to prepare for the next season. The draft was the first major step in preparing for the 2021 season.

Unfortunately, Teat and other some high prospects were unable to be a guest on the broadcast due to NCAA rules, with many heading back for a fifth season. But that may have been for the better as the broadcast approached five and a half hours.

The draft featured very few technical problems and had the same excitement level that you’d find at any draft, thanks to hosts Devan Kaney, Stephen Stamp, Teddy Jenner and Tabitha Turner. And when you think about the number of people involved behind the scenes, from so many different places across North America, it was a pretty cool undertaking.

Immediately after the Teat formality was out of the way, the Vancouver Warriors swapped their third overall pick with Rochester’s second overall pick to ensure they landed defenseman Reid Bowering. Rochester subsequently picked Ryan Smith, the first of three forwards in a row to go. San Diego picked Tre Leclaire and Calgary picked Tanner Cook.

The Georgia Swarm had four first round picks: transition man Robert Hudson (6), defenseman Jeff Henrick (8), forward Ethan Walker (10) and goaltender Laine Hruska (13). Henrick had been predicted to go as high as second. Hruska, out of Saskatchewan, was the first goaltender to be picked and also the first player from Saskatchewan to ever be picked in the first round.

Saskatchewan’s first pick was Marshall Powless from the Six Nations Arrows at seventh overall. They used the 12th overall pick on Brampton’s Connor McClelland.

Buffalo selected recently declared Brad McCulley from Langley Jr. A.

Halifax took the biggest surprise of the first round in Ethan Riggs, a young defenseman who renounced his NCAA eligibility only recently. The Dundas, Ontario native is still in junior lacrosse although he also split time between the ALL’s Peterborough Timbermen and Six Nations Snipers this past season.

The Calgary Roughnecks stayed local with their first pick, taking Harrison Matsuoka from Okotoks Jr. A with the 15th pick.

The San Diego Seals took the first American-born player at number 16 selecting Mac O’Keefe from Syosset, NY. Though O’Keefe spent a season with the Orangeville Northmen, he’s better known as an attackman for Penn State.

Philadelphia had the last pick in the first round, taking defenseman Jackson Suboch from the Brooklin Lacrosse Club.

None of Toronto, Colorado and New England had first round picks. Colorado first picked at number 18, selecting Ron John from the Six Nations Arrows. New England selected Charlie Kitchen at 24. Toronto made a splash at number 30, picking Yale’s TD Ierlan, a well-know NCAA faceoff specialist.

Full draft results can be accessed here:

Of note:

  • Five goaltenders were taken: Laine Hruska (1st round, Georgia), Justin Geddie (2nd round, Calgary), Matteo Tack (3rd round, Vancouver), Nate Faccin (4th round, Colorado) and Dustin Hill (5th round, Halifax).
  • Jim Veltman drafted his son Kris to the New York Riptide.
  • The Brampton Excelsiors had five players drafted from their system: Jeff Teat, Robert Huson, Connor McClelland, Robert Stovel and John Vezina.
  • 62 draftees play for NCAA schools while another 12 play for CUFLA teams (Canadian University Field Lacrosse Association).
  • Nine players from the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League were chosen.
  • Eleven players from the Arena Lacrosse League, official partner of the NLL, were drafted, including three in the first round (Powless, Riggs and Hruska).
  • Jeff Teat, Reid Bowering and Harrison Matsuoka were all captains of their respective teams at the 2018 Minto Cup.
  • In addition to Hruska, only one other player from Saskatchewan was drafted: Wyatt Huax went 92nd to the Rush.
  • One player from each of the Colorado Collegiate Box Lacrosse Association (Troy Loper) and the Connecticut Box Lacrosse League (Mac O’Keefe) were drafted.
  • Current pros with other leagues include Pat Aslanian (MLL, Denver – Colorado), Miles Silvan (MLL, Denver – Georgia) Bryan Costabile (PLL, Atlas – Philadelphia), Reece Eddy (PLL, Chrome – Georgia), Grant Ament (PLL, Archers – New England), Jack Rapine (PLL, Archers) and Matt Gaudet (PLL, Chrome – Halifax).

We’ll have team-by-team analyses over the next few days so make sure to check back for more draft coverage.