Reader Mike Vergano attended Rhode Island Kingfish Training Camp, and was kind enough to send us this report about it.
As snow buried the northeast this weekend, the Rhode Island Kingfish held their official training camp in Warwick, RI. Thirty-four hopefuls braved the weather and traveled from as far as Canada to try and impress the coaching staff. Coaches Charlie Blanchard and Steve O’Donnell ran the prospects through two hours of drills and scrimmages on both Saturday and Sunday. Rumor has it that the RI Kingfish are seen as the NALL underdog team this upcoming season. They’re expected to have the youngest squad with the least amount of box experience, but this observer believes this dark horse team will be a worthy opponent.
Four goalies attended training camp. Joe Evans was a stand out with his dynamic and athletic style of play as well as superior stick skills. While most box keepers are static and work the shooting angles, Evans incorporates cat-like reflexes and agility in between the pipes. Evan’s experience with the Boston Box Lacrosse league and Vermont Voyagers has definitely paid off.
Canadian Pat Poirier was a notable presence. Poirier has played goalie in Canada for the West End Warlocks and for the Vermont Voyageurs. This 6’3″ 260 lbs native of Verdun, QC has an extensive box lax goaltending pedigree.
Mikey Vergano is the local RI talent vying for a goal keeper roster spot. He comes out of the Boston Box Lacrosse league and gave an impressive and strong performance at training camp, especially in light of his relative limited experience.
Rounding out the goalie hopefuls was Mike Cregan, a Canadian who has played in the Ontario Junior A League. This youngster looked confident and had a very solid showing. The performances of these four goaltending prospects will not make the goalie selection easy for the coaching staff.
The White Team vs Dark Team scrimmages provided the much anticipated training camp highlights. Notables on the defensive end of the floor included two Vermont Voyagers – Duke Szymanski, a vocal leader both on the floor and from the bench, and Pat Hargreaves. Dark Team offensive standout, Brian Krol, contributed at least three crease diving goals to inspire the Dark Team bench.
There were no disappointments, as it appeared that every player brought his “A” game to the tryout. The intensity level during the scrimmages was equivalent to a regular season game, as was evident by the coaching staff reminding the guys to turn down the intensity on a few occasions.
From my perspective on the White Team bench, box lacrosse rookies Dan Kelly, Nick Stenberg (a RI native), Craig Bunker and Zach Smith, to name just a few, provided strong defensive performances for the White Team. The offensive end of the White Team bench featured experienced box players AJ Laffin, Matt Vozollo, Evan Roberts, Dave Kemp and James Schutt. Other names of note on the White Team were Bob Dabrio, Brett Scirello, Gary Crowley, Sean Church, Alex Scriffiano, Alex Marshall, and Matt Parrot.
The Dark Team bench was deep with experienced box lacrosse players such as Vermont Voyagers Duke Szymanski, Pat Hargreaves, Kyle Norchi, and Gareth Fabian and 2011 Boston Rockhopper Dan Hettler. Other names of note on the Dark Team bench were Brian Krol, Mike Maggio, Peter Smyth, Kyle Sminkey, Nick Maggio, Pat O’Shea, Justin Reid, Hakim Morris, and Chuck Czerkawshi.
Zach Taylor, of the 2011 Boston Rockhoppers, attended training camp but was unable to play due to an injury. Mike Nadler, also a 2011 Rockhopper, was not at training camp. Both Taylor and Nadler will be strong Kingfish contributors during the regular on the defensive end of the floor.
The coaching staff concluded the early Sunday morning training session (6:30AM to 8:30AM) with words of encouragement and appreciation for all those who attended the 2-day training camp. The away game schedule was confirmed noting that all team travel arrangements have been made and all that remains is to fill in the names of those selected to the active roster. Notifications as to who will be selected for the active roster and the alternate player list will be sent by the end of this week.
Although the Kingfish were recently informed that their home field, the Boss Arena at the University of Rhode Island, is no longer available for home games, the team appears excited for the upcoming season. There is no word yet on alternative plans for Kingfish home games, therefore the season opener scheduled for Sunday January 6th has been cancelled. The Kingfish will start their season on Saturday January 12th at Kentucky.