The Georgia Swarm today announced that it has re-signed transition player Jerome Thompson to a one-year deal and free agent goaltender Craig Wende to a two-year deal.
“Jerome is a great fit with the Swarm,” Swarm Owner and General Manager John Arlotta said. “His attitude and approach have contributed greatly to our success on the floor and our team culture. We’re excited to have him back and looking for him to have a breakout year.”
Thompson, 30, switched to a transition role for the 2017-18 season and dressed for nine regular season games for the Swarm. He recorded 12 points (6G, 6A), 20 loose balls, and three caused turnovers while posting a .222 SPCT.
His abilities as a transition player grabbed attention throughout the league, and Thompson was named the IL Indoor “Grinder of the Week” at the beginning of Jan. in recognition of him adapting to a new role quickly.
Listed at 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds, Thompson has spent four seasons in the NLL. Over 37 career games, he has posted 78 points (24G, 54A), collected 101 loose balls, and caused seven turnovers.
“I definitely have high expectations, especially seeing what we did two years ago,” Thompson said. “We’ve got a good core of what we had then, so I think we can do it again and go all the way. For me personally, I’m looking to have a really good year, a breakout year for myself. Looking forward to it.”
Wende, 27, has a record of success with the Oakville Titans in the Ontario Sr. B Lacrosse League. He helped the Titans win the OSBLL Finals in 2018 and advance to the President’s Cup. In 12 regular season games this season, he has played 689:58 min. and posted a 7.74 GAA. During the OSBLL playoffs, Wende started all nine games for the Titans, posting an 8.61 GAA across 536:32 min. of action.
“Craig had a great summer in Canada and led his team to win the OSBLL Finals and earn a spot in the Presidents Cup Tournament in Nanaimo,” Arlotta said. “We were looking for a goalie that is developing quickly, and Craig certainly fits that definition. We’re excited to see him against NLL competition that will help him continue that growth and development.”
In two seasons with Oakville, Wende has started in 23 of the 24 games he has played in. In 1340:05 min., he has only allowed 159 GA, good for a 7.12 GAA. In 12 playoff contests, he has tallied 716:14 min. in front of the net and an 8.63 GAA to complement it.
Wende was signed to a one-year deal with the Rochester Knighthawks at the end of Oct. 2017, but he was released during training camp. The Kitchener, Ontario native adds depth to the Swarm’s goaltending squad currently consisting of fellow Kitchener natives Mike Poulin and Kevin Orleman.
“When I found out I got a contract from Georgia, I was definitely happy for the opportunity,” Wende said. “I heard it’s a really good organization, and I’m excited to learn and develop my goaltending abilities, learning from probably one of the best goalies around, Mike Poulin.”
Wende’s contract is currently pending league approval.
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