The Washington Stealth have released defenders Eric Martin and Kyle Ross, completing a series of pre-season roster moves in preparation for its season opener Jan. 5th against the defending NLL champion Rochester Knighthawks.
The moves make way for a new class of players acquired through the draft and free agency. General Manager Doug Locker expects this will boost his defensive unit and help the Stealth return to the success it enjoyed in its first two years in Washington state.
“As CH (Washington Stealth Coach Chris Hall) has stated many times over the past several weeks, our training camps have been as competitive as they have ever been,” said Locker. “We feel that these moves are important to provide opportunities for our drafted and free agent players to have an impact on this team.”
Martin, a native of Norfolk, Va., is one of the original members of the Stealth organization and was instrumental in bringing an NLL championship to Washington state in 2010.
“This is perhaps the most difficult decision I’ve been a part of in the NLL,” said Locker.
“Eric has been a member of our organization since he broke into the league. He is a gifted, dynamic player – and a close friend,” he said. “It’s always difficult to release or trade a player. In this case it was excruciatingly difficult to come to grips with.”
After Martin’s acquisition in the second round (12th overall) of the 2004 NLL Entry Draft, the 6’2, 220-pounder, went on to become the Stealth’s all-time loose ball leader (848) and all-time leader in penalty minutes (401) over 114 regular season and 11 playoff game appearances.
In 2012, Martin recorded four goals and six assists for 10 points, grabbed 66 loose balls and forced 10 turnovers in 12 regular season games. Throughout a seven-year NLL career, the 31-year-old has scored 28 goals and 80 assists for 108 points.
Ross, a native of Port Coquitlam, B.C., has been with the Stealth since July 2011 after being acquired from the Toronto Rock in a trade for goaltender Matt Roik.
In 2012, the 6’3, 190 pounder appeared in 12 regular-season games recording three points (2g, 1a) and grabbing 37 loose balls.
In six NLL seasons with the Stealth (2012), Toronto (2011), Boston (2009-10), and Minnesota (2007-08), the 29-year-old has played in 74 career regular season games, tallying 12 goals and 30 assists for 42 points and collecting 348 loose balls. In the post season, Ross has appeared in six career playoff games, posting three points (1g, 2a) and 12 loose balls.