The Georgia Swarm today announced they have signed five of their eight draftees in the 2020 NLL Entry Draft. Robert Hudson, Laine Hruska, Sam Firth, Tanner Buck, and Reece Eddy have all agreed to two-year contracts.
“As we prepare for the 2020-21 season, we are very happy to add both quality players and those of character to our roster,” Swarm head coach Ed Comeau said. “Each of the players we added possesses the necessary skills and attitude to take the next step to the NLL. We have advised all of our rookies, free agents, and returning players to be ready for a competitive training camp.”
Hudson, 23, was selected in the first round (No. 6 overall). Out of Oakville, Ontario, the transition player is an alum of the University of Vermont. In 44 games for the Catamounts, Hudson had 71 points (50G, 21A), 25 ground balls, and six caused turnovers. Listed at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, the left-hander played in 17 regular season games as a rookie with the Brampton Excelsiors in Major Series Lacrosse (MSL), posting five points (1G, 4A). In four postseason contests, Hudson netted two goals.
Hudson spent four seasons with the Mimico Mountaineers in the Ontario Jr. A Lacrosse League (OJALL) from 2015-18. In 64 regular season games with the program, he had 65 points (27G, 38A). In 22 postseason games, Hudson had 21 points (12G, 9A).
“It’s a dream come true to have the opportunity to play in the NLL and for such a great organization like the Swarm,” Hudson said. “I can’t wait for the season, and I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to continue to play lacrosse and meet the guys.”
Hruska, 19, was selected in the first round (No. 13 overall). He becomes one of three goaltenders to be selected in the first round of an NLL Entry Draft in the past decade, joining Evan Kirk in the 2011 Entry Draft (selected No. 6 overall by the Minnesota Swarm) and Dillon Ward in the 2013 Entry Draft (selected No. 3 overall by the Colorado Mammoth). Out of Warman, Saskatchewan, Hruska is also the second-highest drafted player from Saskatchewan – defenseman Casey Zaph was selected by the Buffalo Bandits in the first round (No. 7 overall) of the 1997 Entry Draft.
Listed at 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds, Hruska was named the 2020 Arena Lacrosse League (ALL) Rookie of the Year and named a 2nd Team All-Star following his 7.57 GAA in 285:19 min. played with the Whitby Steelhawks. In the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League (RMLL) Jr. A, Hruska was named the 2019 RMLL Goaltender of the Year and to the 1st Team All-RMLL after he posted an 8.07 GAA and .837 SV% in 721:03 min. with the Saskatchewan SWAT.
“It’s an honour to be drafted by such an amazing and historic organization such as the Swarm,” Hruska said. “I’m super excited to begin learning from some of the players I watched when I was a kid, and I can’t wait for what’s to come.”
Firth, 21, was selected in the third round (No. 39 overall). He won a Minto Cup in 2019 with the Orangeville Northmen in the OJALL. Listed at 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds, he was called up for the 2017-19 seasons (the 2017 season by the Peterborough Lakers), playing in seven regular season games and posting 16 points (8G, 8A). Firth has 24 postseason contests at the Jr. A level under his belt, and he has recorded 49 points (18G, 31A). In 79 regular season games with the Nepean Knights of the Ontario Jr. B Lacrosse League, the Ottawa, Ontario native has 348 points (154G, 194A). He has 68 points (28G, 40A) in 16 postseason Jr. B contests.
“I couldn’t be happier to have signed my first contract with the Swarm,” Firth said. “I’m incredibly grateful and excited for the opportunity. Playing in the NLL is something I’ve dreamed about since I was a little kid, and I couldn’t be more excited to get to work and start the season.”
Buck, 20, was selected in the fourth round (No. 60 overall). Tapped to play a transition role for the Swarm, the Orangeville, Ontario native played his first full season for the Orangeville Northmen in the OJALL in 2019, recording 65 points (28G, 37A) in 19 regular season games. In 12 postseason contests, he posted 27 points (5G, 22A). Listed at 5-foot-8 and 155 pounds, Buck also played in the ALL with the Toronto Monarchs from 2019-20, and in his 25 regular season games played in that league, he recorded 93 points (53G, 40A).
“It was a huge honor to sign that contract,” Buck said. “Georgia is definitely a top-tier team, and I’m excited to see what I can bring to the team going into next season.”
Eddy, 23, was selected in the sixth round (No. 88 overall). Listed at 6-foot-0 and 163 pounds, he played his junior and season seasons at Boston University, one of four captains for the Terriers in his senior year. His first two years of college lacrosse were spent at Canisius College. Across his four years of NCAA DI lacrosse, Eddy collected 237 ground balls and caused 95 turnovers in 55 games, leading his team every year in caused turnovers. Out of Skaneateles, N.Y., Eddy wrapped up his rookie season in the 2020 Premier Lacrosse League Championship Series with the Chrome Lacrosse Club, scoring a goal, scooping 13 ground balls, and causing five turnovers. He was a finalist for the Brodie Merrill LSM of the Championship Series award.
“I could not be more appreciative of (Swarm Owner and General Manager) John Arlotta, Ed Comeau, and the entire Georgia Swarm staff for this opportunity and making a dream come true,” Eddy said. “I am excited to get started and contribute in any way possible to bring this organization another NLL championship.”
The Swarm’s other two first-round picks – Jeff Henrick (No. 8 overall, Ohio State University, New Westminster Salmonbellies) and Ethan Walker (No. 10 overall, University of Denver, Peterborough Lakers) – were placed on the Draft List. Both players are returning to their respective universities for a fifth season season of NCAA eligibility, which was granted to 2020 seniors following the cancellation of the 2020 NCAA men’s lacrosse season.
Henrick, 22, plays defense at Ohio State University and is a two-time team captain (2019, 2020). He is the Buckeyes’ active career leader in caused turnovers with 30 of them. In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, the Orangeville, Ontario native played in seven games, posting two points (1G, 1A), 19 ground balls, and seven caused turnovers. During the 2019 Western Lacrosse Association season, Henrick played with the New Westminster Salmonbellies. In 17 regular season games, he recorded 14 points (6G, 8A), and he netted a goal in five postseason contests.
Walker, 23, plays attack at University of Denver. Out of Peterborough, Ontario, he has 219 points (142G, 77A), 84 ground balls, and seven caused turnovers in his NCAA career. Walker spent the 2019 summer in the MSL with the Peterborough Lakers, playing in six games and posting 12 points (5G, 7A).