(Tuesday, Dec. 20) – The Georgia Swarm has announced its final 20-man roster in preparation for the 2017 NLL season.
Georgia opens the season at home against the two-time defending champion Saskatchewan Rush on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 7:05 p.m. ET from Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field at Infinite Energy Arena. Fans can purchase Single-Game Tickets for the Home Opener at www.GeorgiaSwarm.com/SingleGame or by calling 844-4-GASWARM.
Over 9,000 fans witnessed Georgia win its inaugural home opener this past January against the Toronto Rock, 12-7. The Swarm went on to finish 8-10 in 2016 and clinched a playoff spot in the East Division Semifinals where they ultimately lost on the road to the New England Black Wolves in an overtime thriller, 14-13.
“It has taken us several years to build a roster with this level of talent and character both on and off the floor,” Swarm Owner and General Manager John Arlotta said. “Last year’s playoff loss did not sit well with us; I’m extremely proud of the work and commitment our coaches and players put forth this offseason in an effort to win a Champion’s Cup in 2017.”
The Swarm has been hard at work the past three weekends in Toronto for training camp, and in that time competed in two preseason contests against the Toronto Rock and Rochester Knighthawks. With less than 20 days remaining until the Home Opener, Swarm coaches and players alike are anxious to start a new chapter and build upon last year’s strong finish.
“Our camp roster was small but very competitive,” Swarm head coach Ed Comeau said. “Each and every player came in top shape and showed their best. We had tough decisions to make but are very pleased with the players we selected for the 2017 season.”
Much like its roster did last season, Georgia’s lineup features a solid mix of young talent, speed, athleticism as well as accomplished veterans.
Returning players include two-time NLL Transition Player of the Year and Team Captain Jordan MacIntosh, ‘16 NLL Rookie of the Year Randy Staats, the ’16 Swarm leading goal-scorer Shayne Jackson, three-time NLL champion Johnny Powless and all three Thompson Brothers (Lyle, Miles and Jerome).
New faces include veteran goalie Mike Poulin and forward Jordan Hall, who were acquired this offseason. Both Poulin and Hall bring a combined 19 years of NLL experience to the table and a plethora of playoff experience. On Monday afternoon, the Swarm added 6-foot-3, 220-pound defenseman John Ranagan, who appeared in 34 games for the New England Black Wolves from 2015-16.
During the 2016 NLL Draft, the Swarm also acquired several big-bodied defensemen in Bryan Cole (No. 4 overall), Connor Sellars (No. 10 Overall), Leo Stouros (No. 17 overall) and Liam Byrnes (No. 44 overall). The Swarm is looking for their young defensemen to compliment the likes of Jason Noble, Mitch Belisle, Chad Tutton, Alex Crepinsek and Ethan O’Connor on the backend.
“We are excited about the changes we made for the 2017 season,” Comeau said. “Our draft picks improved throughout camp and we look forward to watching them continue to grow throughout the season. We also brought in some veteran leadership with Mike Poulin and Jordan Hall. Their experience will help us continue to work towards our goals for the upcoming season.”
Returning on the sideline to direct the Swarm’s defense is assistant coach Sean Ferris, who has worked alongside Comeau for over a decade in the NLL. Assistant coach Dan Ladouceur is new to the mix and will coach the team’s offensive unit; Ladouceur won five championships during his playing days with the Toronto Rock.
“The 2017 Swarm will continue to be dynamic on offense while our defense will also display a more physical, athletic presence while defending our goal,” Comeau added. “We want to utilize our athleticism and play an up-tempo style of lacrosse.”
Inactive Roster: MacIntosh and Powless will start the season on the Physically Unable to Perform List (PUP), due to injuries that occurred over the summer. Forward Jesse King is also on the PUP List after sustaining an ACL injury this past summer, and is unlikely to play in 2017. In addition, transition player Joel White was placed on the Hold Out List due to personal reasons.
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