NLL Entry Draft 2016

I was able to attend the NLL entry draft once again this year. It’s certainly fun to see all the players, coaches, GMs, media people, and the commissioner in one place, but it’s really cool to watch the players get drafted and see their excited parents, siblings, and girlfriends. I could watch it on the live stream, but it’s fun to be there in person. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to be at the TRAC tomorrow for the awards ceremony.

I have nothing much to say about the players drafted since I’ve never seen any of them play, with the possible exception of any Burrards or Chiefs from the couple of Mann Cup games I went to. This article is just about the draft itself.

NLL Draft

In previous years, Andy McNamara and Stephen Stamp gave their opinions and insight in between picks while Claude Feig briefly interviewed each player chosen. This year, it seemed that Stamper and Andy’s insight was reserved for the webcast and there were no interviews at all. In between picks, it was awfully quiet in the building. But it turned out that it wasn’t supposed to be that quiet – by the end of the first round, they had fixed the audio problems and we could hear Stamp and McNamara. Feig was not around, but Mia Gordon was interviewing many of the players (though we couldn’t hear her). I was sitting directly behind where she was doing the interviews, so I managed to get some screen time as well.

Have to give props to Stephen Stamp: it’s one thing to be critical of players in a blog or podcast or radio interview, but it really takes a pair to list a player’s shortcomings when he’s right there in front of you. “Ah, they just drafted Joe Laxalot and he’s walking to the podium now. Good offensive player, great outside shot, but not very fast and a little weak on the defensive end. I had him going lower in the draft, surprised they picked him.”

I took a couple of pictures with my phone but they didn’t turn out well at all so I stole the draft logo from the NLL site. I just noticed that the CN Tower is a lacrosse stick.

As usual, the TRAC was hopping, with a bunch of chairs on the floor itself and some people in the stands too. By the time the show got underway, most of the chairs were taken so I’m glad I got there early to grab one. And also as usual, Jamie Dawick and the TRAC people put on a professional show with a video board listing all the picks in the current round (though a bigger font might have been nice) and once the audio problems were fixed, the sound was good as well. I obviously didn’t see the web feed but I didn’t see anyone tweeting about problems with it. There were a bunch of wifi networks available, with names like “RochesterColorado” and “GeorgiaBuffalo” and such, as well as three TRAC ones and a couple of “NationalLacrosseLeague” ones. Alas, they were all password protected.

A bunch of Rush players were sitting right next to and in front of me – Matthews, Rubisch, Corbeil, Lafontaine, Knight, Sorichetti, and some other kid. I saw that other kid looking pretty nervous and taking a few deep breaths right before the first pick was made, and then once Ryan Keenan’s name was announced, he stood up and walked to the front. I don’t know if he was nervous because he didn’t know whether he’d be picked first or if he was nervous because he did know. He gave a little thank-you speech, which I think was also new. He’s now at least the second player to be drafted by his father, after Curt Styres picked Brandon a couple of years ago. Josh Sanderson was once taken by his father Terry in an expansion draft, which kind of counts.

OK, one actual lacrosse-related comment. There were a few trades on the night, only one of which included a player and not just picks. The Bandits sent a second round pick to the Knighthawks for Brad Self. Self is up for Transition Player of the Year at Tuesday’s awards, and all he’s worth is a second round pick? I’ve rarely disagreed with Curt Styres on lacrosse moves, but I wouldn’t have made this one. I know nothing about Dan Lomas, who the Knighthawks chose with the traded pick, but if the Knighthawks are lucky, he’ll turn out to be as good as Brad Self is now. Then again Self is 35, so perhaps they figured after a year or two of Lomas learning the ropes, he could be really good for ten years or more, so the long term gain will eventually offset the short term pain. But for a team that missed the playoffs last season and may be without Cody Jamieson for all of next season, adding more short term pain may not have been wise.

Other notes:

  • There was clearly no “what are we going to wear?” email going around the Rush camp. Chris Corbeil and Kyle Rubisch (and Lafontaine, I think) each wore a suit and tie, while Mark Matthews was wearing green denim jeans and a hoodie. Adrian Sorichetti and Curtis Knight split the difference – jackets but no tie.
  • I don’t always pick this up from watching on TV but some lacrosse players are BIG people. Mark Matthews is huge. Jim Veltman isn’t that big but he’s very tall. I was surprised at how big Glenn Clark is. I didn’t see Dan Dawson there this year but I saw him at last year’s draft and he’s massive. You can read “6-foot-5” in however many articles you want but until you’re standing next to someone that big, you don’t really realize just how big that is.
  • Almost didn’t recognize hipster Jimmy Quinlan with the bushy beard. It’s no Iannucci, but getting there.
  • This is going to make no sense to anyone but Steve, but thanks to Steve Bermel for the peanut butter.
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