NLL: Roughnecks add speed, scoring through draft

Harrison Matsuoka of the Okotoks Raiders. (Photo credit: Cliff McCaig)

Last Thursday night, young lacrosse players from across Canada and the U.S. logged in to the first ever virtual draft to see if they would be one of the lucky 93 names selected. For nine of those players, their dreams came true when they were selected by the Calgary Roughnecks in the. The Riggers added a number of talented players and stuck to their motto of choosing the best available talent regardless of position.

With their first selection and coming in at fifth overall, Calgary selected Tanner Cook, a coveted lefty from the Whitby Warriors and UNC. Cook will no doubt give the left side a huge boost when he enters the lineup. After a season in which the Roughnecks lost Riley Loewen to the Warriors and Jesse King and Ryan Martel to injury, the Riggers will be hungry to get the rugged lefty on the ‘Dome floor. At 6’3” and 205 pounds, Cook plays an aggressive game which is something the Roughnecks haven’t had in the recent past. Despite his size, Cook is a good finisher and will get an excellent opportunity to learn from veterans Dane Dobbie and Curtis Dickson.

After announcing a blockbuster trade that saw the team swap fan favourite Tyson Bell to the Halifax Thunderbirds for picks 14 and 20, the Roughnecks quickly restocked their back end with Harrison Matsuoka and Ethan Ticehurst. Both Matsuoka and Ticehurst are known for their speed and ability to finish. The duo will be a nice fit for Calgary’s quick strike transition game centred around goalie Christian Del Bianco.

Ethan Ticehurst of the Coquitlam Adanacs. (Photo credit: Cliff McCaig)

While the above picks will all be returning to college for a fifth year, Patrick Dodds from the Victoria Shamrocks will be able to offer an immediate impact. Drafted at 21st overall, Dodds is another big body at 6’3”and 212 pounds. After the departure of Rhys Duch, Dodds will vie for a spot alongside fellow righties Curtis Dickson, Tyler Pace, Marshal King and Haiden Dickson. In 2019, the Victoria native had 36 regular season goals and added nine more in the Minto Cup.

Calgary used pick 32 to select a goaltender in Justin Geddie. The BCJALL Rookie of the Year for the Nanaimo Timbermen, Geddie posted an 8.71 GAA and will get plenty of time to develop as he is just 19 years old. Geddie joins Landon Kells and Del Bianco to form a youthful core of future goalies for Calgary.

The offseason trade of Dereck Downs netted the Riggers pick number 37 and with that they took the 6’7” Rhys Blake. A towering defender for the Port Coquitlam Saints, one can only imagine what the Calgary defense would look like with Blake on one side and Reece Callies on the other.

With picks 63 and 72 the Riggers selected forwards Brody McLean and Jackson Morrill. McLean netted 69 points in 47 career junior A games while American Jackson Morrill ranks second in all-time scoring at Yale with 220 points.

With their 87th and final selection, the Roughnecks took righty forward Laszlo Henning from the Calgary Mountaineers. Another big body at 6’3” and 205 lbs, Henning compiled 149 goals and 309 points in his junior A career and is currently playing for the Burnaby Lakers of the WLA.