From Canadian men’s indoor lacrosse team
GREER, CHAPMAN, MERRILL, CARNEGIE, SMITH AND MYDSKE ROUND OUT DEFENCE
The Canadian men’s lacrosse team has filled out its defence by naming Bill Greer, Sandy Chapman, Pat Merrill, Mike Carnegie, Rory Smith and Brett Mydske to the roster for the world indoor tournament in Prague, May 21-28.
Defencemen previously named to the roster were Ryan Cousins, Jeff Moleski and Kyle Rubisch. Transition specialists Brodie Merrill, Mark Steenhuis and Jordan Hall will be counted on heavily. Leading the attack up front will be Colin Doyle, John Grant Jr., Josh Sanderson, Dan Dawson, Jeff Zywicki, Shawn Evans, Rhys Duch and Stephan Leblanc. Goaltenders named to date are Anthony Cosmo and Matt Vinc.
Greer, 29, from Oshawa, Ont., will be representing Canada for the first time, continuing what has become a family tradition. Brother Zack won silver as a forward with Canada’s world field lacrosse team in Manchester, England, last July and sister Kalley won bronze as the goaltender for Canada at the 2009 women’s world tournament in Prague.
“I am tremendously honoured and thrilled to be named to Team Canada,’’ says Bill Greer. “It has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember to pull the maple leaf over my head and I feel so fortunate to be given this opportunity. It is going to be a privilege to play alongside such a talented group of players. The team is full of character guys who will work well together and do whatever it takes to accomplish our goal.’’
The 10-year National Lacrosse League veteran is a complete player, says Team Canada assistant coach Derek Keenan, who is Greer’s GM-coach with the Edmonton Rush.
“He is a top-notch defender, has excellent speed and stick skills in transition and makes good decisions on all areas of the floor,’’ says Keenan. “He has the ability to play offence if needed, is very good on the penalty kill and a good loose-ball guy.’’
Chapman, 30, another 10-year pro, was the NLL’s defenceman of the year last season and is again playing a prominent role for his home-city Toronto Rock.
“Chappy is the ultimate team guy,’’ says Team Canada assistant coach Paul Day. “He checks some of the opponent’s best offensive players and he can also run the floor and stay to play in the opponent’s end.’’
This will be Chapman’s first experience representing Canada so he’s understandably excited about being involved.
“The management team has put together a great group of players,’’ he says. “We have the potential to do very well.’’
Like the others, he’s well aware of the challenge ahead.
“I believe that every team is going to play its best against us and that every game is going to have its own unique challenge,’’ says Chapman.
Merrill, 31, is from Orangeville and also plays for the Rock. This is his ninth NLL season.
“When I think of him, one word comes to mind: grit,’’ says Keenan. “He is a do-whatever-it-takes-to-win type of player. He’s a tenacious defender with a nasty edge to him. If there is a barrier out there on the turf, Pat will typically go through it rather than around it. He’s a winner _ plain and simple.’’
Brothers Pat and Brodie Merrill were on Canada’s field team in Manchester. It was Pat’s first chance to represent Canada and he described it as “an amazing experience.’’
“I’m extremely honoured and feel very fortunate to get the chance to wear the red and white again this spring in Prague,’’ he says. “We came back from England with silver, unfortunately, and I’m very excited for another opportunity to compete and really hope that we can represent Canada well and bring home the gold this time.’’
Carnegie, 26, lives in Calgary and plays for the NLL’s Roughnecks. He’s in his fourth NLL season.
“It’s a tremendous honour to be named to Team Canada,’’ he says. “I feel blessed to be able to represent my country in the sport of lacrosse.’’
It’ll be his first international assignment.
“It’ll be an experience I won’t take lightly,’’ he says. “The expectations are to win and my goal in Prague will be to do anything I can contribute to the team’s success.’’
Smith, 24, from Toronto, is with the NLL’s Minnesota Swarm.
“He’s a young, tough, hard-hitting defenceman,’’ says Day. “Most people think of him as a fighter but after spending last year helping to coach him in Orlando I know he’s very good defensively and getting better every game.’’
Like his Team Canada teammates, Smith talks about being honoured and privileged to be part of it.
“It’s very humbling to be included on this team with such outstanding players,’’ he says. “I will play any role that is asked of me by the coaching staff. I am very prepared to bring a strong physicality and toughness to each game. This type of presence on the floor will hopefully contribute to a commanding team defence.’’
It’s not just his toughness that led to his selection, adds Keenan.
“Rory is on Team Canada because he is an outstanding defender,’’ he says. “His positional play is excellent and he hits harder than anyone in lacrosse. What we are most impressed with about Rory is that he is a sponge when it comes to learning. He is constantly improving his game and has the will to be the very best at his position.’’
Mydske, 22, is only in his second pro season. Yet, the Edmonton Rush defenceman has earned a spot on Canada’s team.
“When I got the phone call, I was in shock,’’ says the native of New Westminster, B.C. “I did not think I’d be getting this opportunity this early in my career if at all. There are so many other people who would like to represent Canada so I feel very privileged to be able to do so. Whether it’s shutting down an opposing forward or pushing the ball up in transition, whatever the coaches want from me, I am more than willing to do it.’’
Dr. Donald Hedges, an assistant general manager of Team Canada, watched the six-foot-four defenceman develop with the Jr. A New Westminster Salmonbellies and then with the Langley Thunder of the Western Lacrosse Association before he made a reputation for himself in the NLL.
“He is relentless and effective and moves people _ big people _ with hard but clean checking,’’ says Hedges. “He has an extremely strong work ethic in the gym and on the lacrosse floor. He commands respect. He is very coachable, humble, eager to improve, and he’s a good team player who has for years committed time to coach lacrosse to kids. Though he is quite young he is very capable and will be a fine ambassador for Canada wearing the red and white in Prague.’’