The Minnesota Swarm today announced that the team has signed F Dean Hill, F Zach Palmer and D Ian Crawford to one-year deals as well as T Sam Bradman to a two-year contract. Minnesota also agreed to terms with Rory McDade to join the sidelines as an assistant coach for the ’15 season. McDade was a forward with the Swarm from 2006-09.
Hill, 29, returns to the Swarm for his second stint with the organization, and 10th season in the NLL. Minnesota made a wise decision drafting the Scarborough, Ontario native in the fifth-round (No. 48 overall) of the 2005 NLL Entry Draft, as Hill went on to lead the Swarm with 32 goals in 2007. In his three-and-a-half seasons with Minnesota, Hill totaled 90 points (49g, 41a) and 59 loose balls from 2006-09. After spending time with Rochester (2009-10) and Edmonton (2011), Hill found success with the Washington Stealth on the left side from 2012-13. During the Stealth’s runner-up finish in the Champion’s Cup in ‘13, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound lefty notched 38 points (20g, 18a) and 29 loose balls in the regular season. As a member of the Colorado Mammoth in ’14, Hill notched three points (1g, 2) in two games played.
“Dean’s experience in this league will be a valuable asset to our team, and he’s committed to making an impact this season,” Swarm Owner and Governor John Arlotta said. “At 6-foot-3, 225-pounds, Dean also brings some much needed size to our offensive unit.”
Bradman, 24, made his Swarm debut in a preseason contest back in ‘12, and put forth a solid first impression, scoring two goals. Minnesota acquired the former Salisbury University standout in the third-round (No. 24 overall) of the 2012 NLL Entry Draft. The 6-foot, 165-pound righty won back-to-back National Championships from 2011-12 with Salisbury and notched 71 goals as a senior. The Canton, N.Y. native has spent the past few years as a member of Team STX and played with both the Ohio Machine and Rochester Rattlers of the MLL in ‘14.
“Sam is a player that we’ve been very high on since drafting him two years ago,” Arlotta said. “He’s a natural scorer and a great athlete. We’re looking forward to seeing what he can bring to the table now that he is able to fully commit to the Swarm.”
Palmer, 23, spent the ’14 season on the Swarm’s practice squad after being selected in the third-round (No. 23 overall) of the 2013 NLL Entry Draft. The left-handed forward from Johns Hopkins University totaled 71 goals and 140 points during his four-year collegiate career (2010-13). In 2012, Palmer led the Blue Jays in points (53) and assists (26), and finished second in goals (27). The 5-foot-7, 175-pound native of Oshawa, Ontario played his junior ball with the Whitby Warriors and won a Minto Cup in 2011.
“We’re excited to give Zach another opportunity this training camp to prove himself on the left side,” Arlotta said. “He worked hard last year in camp, and displayed a nice scoring touch.”
Crawford, 31, is an energetic defenseman who attended Minnesota’s training camp in ‘12, and is also the brother of Swarm forward, Callum Crawford. The 6-foot, 220-pound righty has spent the past seven seasons playing with the Kahnawake Mohawks of the Quebec Senior Lacrosse League (QSLL). During his time with the Mohawks, the Ottawa, Ontario native has played with the Thompson Brothers.
“We were impressed with Ian’s work ethic and positive energy during his time with us at training camp in 2012,” Arlotta said. “He’s the type of guy who pushes everyone around him and we’re expecting him to bring that same mindset again this year.”
McDade, 33, is also returning to the Swarm for his second stint with the team, but this time around as an assistant coach. McDade spent four seasons with Minnesota from 2006-09 as a forward after being signed a free agent in ‘05. The New Westminster, British Columbia native totaled 30 points (5g, 25a), 30 loose balls in 18 career games with the Swarm, and notched career-highs in goals (4), assists (13) and points (17) during the ‘08 campaign. After his NLL days, McDade began his career on the bench and is currently the head coach of the WLA’s Burnaby Lakers, who feature Swarm forward Scott Jones on its roster. McDade was also a regular fixture in the Lakers’ lineup as a forward from 2003-12, and played Junior ‘A’ ball for his hometown New Westminster Salmonbellies.
“Rory was part of the Swarm when we first bought the team, and I was always impressed with his professionalism and leadership,” Arlotta said. “Since then, he has gained some outstanding coaching experience in the Western Lacrosse Association, and after watching him coach and have success, I felt that he was now ready to bring that experience and leadership to the NLL and the Swarm.”
The player contracts are currently pending league approval.