Training Camp Report: Toronto Rock

While the Toronto Rock’s success is predominantly attributed to their core group of established NLL players, the Rock’s consistency in acquiring young talent via draft or free agent signings has also been integral in the squad’s success. With rookies such as Jesse Gamble, Scott Johnston and Damon Edwards all seeing playing time last season,  coach Troy Cordingley and staff have shown no hesitations including first time NLL players as part of Toronto’s roster. The team christened the new Toronto Rock Athletic (TRAC) December 1st as training camp officially began.

Joining the Rock fresh off his recently signed contract was veteran sniper Shawn Evans. Although Evans 2012 season with the Edmonton Rush saw him finish fourth in team points and second in team goals during the regular season, the Peterborough native was benched during playoffs by bench boss Derek Keenan. The already deteriorating relationship officially ended on November 26th when the Rush released Evans following their opening weekend of training camp.

While his conditioning is often questioned, Evans brings proven scoring ability and championship experiences in both the NLL and MSL to the table. Given the chance he could mesh well with Toronto’s already potent right side that features Garrett Billings, Kasey Beirnes, Blaine Manning and Brendan Thenhaus, as well as 2012 3rd round draft pick Kyle Belton who was also signed last week.

Some new faces joining Evans at training camp were Chris White and Nick Inch. A former Buffalo Bandit captain and several time All-Star, White is a big time pick up for Toronto who will have an immediate impact on defense. After being included in the 2011 trade involving Josh Sanderson, Inch opted not to join the Rock for the 2012 season in order to focus on his career as a firefighter. Previously a four year member of the Minnesota Swarm, the defender will return from his brief NLL hiatus for a fresh start with Toronto.

Some unfortunate news to come from Toronto’s first weekend of training camp is the injury to 2012 2nd round draft pick Mike Lum-Walker. A former Minto Cup champion with the Whitby Warriors, Lum-Walker suffered a knee injury that will sideline for the duration season, bringing an abrupt end to his rookie year.

Future Toronto Rock pre-season events include a trio of exhibition contests. The TRAC will host two games on December 8th and 22nd, with the team traveling to Montreal for their December 15th match up versus Rochester.

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