(Friday, Dec. 18) – The Georgia Swarm today announced the team’s final 20-man roster in preparation for the 2016 NLL season.
In less than two weeks, the Georgia Swarm will begin its inaugural season on Friday, Jan. 1 against the Colorado Mammoth for a 9:30 p.m. ET road showdown at Pepsi Center. Georgia hosts its first-ever Home Opener the following weekend on Saturday, Jan. 9 against the Toronto Rock at 7:05 p.m. at Infinite Energy Arena. Home Opener Tickets can be purchased by calling 844-4-GASWARM or online at GeorgiaSwarm.com/Tickets.
The Swarm has been hard at work the past two weekends in Toronto during training camp, and will conclude with one final session this weekend, which includes a scrimmage against the Toronto Rock. Last Saturday, the Swarm defeated the Rochester Knighthawks 12-11 in preseason action in front of over 9,600 fans at the Blue Cross Arena.
“We’re excited to get started,” Swarm head coach Ed Comeau said. “We asked the guys that were at training camp to make it difficult on the coaches, and they certainly did that. We’re happy with the guys that we have and we’re in a good position to grow as a team and compete in a really tough league.”
The Swarm’s final 20-man roster is comprised of forwards, defensemen, goaltenders, and transition players, who specialize in playing on both ends of the floor and can transition up the floor during fastbreak opportunities. The Swarm’s roster also contains four practice players.
Heading into 2016, Georgia’s lineup features a solid mix of young talent, speed, athleticism as well as accomplished veterans. During the offseason, the Swarm added a league-high four first-round selections during the 2015 NLL Draft in Lyle Thompson (No. 1), Jesse King (No. 3), Chad Tutton (No. 5) and Randy Staats (No. 6).
“The biggest thing for us is being able to bring a lot of energy,” said Comeau when asked what to expect from his squad. “We want to use our athleticism and bring energy every night. We are going to compete hard from whistle-to-whistle and if we can do that and play to our system, we’ll be put in a position to compete and hopefully come out on top more often than not.”
Returning players include two-time NLL Transition Player of the Year Jordan MacIntosh, ‘15 Swarm leading scorer Shayne Jackson, ‘15 All-Rookie Team member Miles Thompson, and three-time NLL champion Johnny Powless.
“People are going to talk about us being young, and as I said to the guys, being young doesn’t give any benefits in this league,” Comeau said. “The veteran leadership will be important and we know we have that on our team. Some of the guys wouldn’t be vets on other teams, but they are on our team. The leadership from within will be important to learn from our mistakes and become battle-tested really quickly in this league.”
Assistant coaches Sean Ferris and Blane Harrison will aid Comeau on the bench this season; Ferris will oversee the defense, while Harrison will orchestrate the offense. The trio previously coached together with the New York/Orlando Titans from 2008-10.
Goaltender Brodie MacDonald was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform List (PUP) on Thursday and will miss camp this weekend due to an illness, but will rejoin the team for the season opener in Colorado.
2016 Georgia Swarm Roster (*Denotes first-year players)
Forwards (9): Josh Gillam, Shayne Jackson, Jesse King*, Joe Maracle, Kiel Matisz, Johnny Powless, Randy Staats*, Lyle Thompson* and Miles Thompson.
Transition (6): David Earl, Jordan MacIntosh, Jason Noble, Ethan O'Connor, Chad Tutton* and Joel White.
Defensemen (4): Reid Acton*, Mitch Belisle, Alex Crepinsek and Drew Petkoff.
Goaltenders (1): Zach Higgins
Practice Squad (4): Thomas Hoggarth* (D), Marcus Holman* (F), Jordan Houtby (D), Sean Young* (T).
Physically Unable to Perform (PUP): Brodie MacDonald (G) and Michael Seidel* (D).