#71 Kevin Ross
SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Swarm today announced its final 23-man roster and three practice squad players for the 2012 season. Minnesota opens its eighth season of play in the NLL on the road against the Colorado Mammoth on Saturday, Jan. 14.
The Swarm will head into the season opener with 11 returning veterans and 12 new faces on the roster. Among the new players this season are four of the team’s 2011 draft picks; three veterans acquired this offseason and five free agents.
Swarm Owner and President John Arlotta said, “We made a conscious decision following the 2011 season to reconfigure our roster, and everyone from coaches, scouts, and our Associate GM have worked hard to put this team together. With so many new players, they have worked equally hard during training camp to integrate these players into the Swarm system. I think our fans will really enjoy this group of players because they have shown in our scrimmages and exhibition games that they are going to be playing an exciting, never give up brand of lacrosse during the 2012 season.”
“We’re very excited about our 23-man roster and three practice squad players,” Associate General Manager Joe Sullivan said. “The guys really pushed each other during training camp and the team’s camaraderie is considerably higher than I ever thought it would be this early on.”
The Swarm’s roster is headlined by the return of F Ryan Benesch, who became the first player in team history to lead the NLL in scoring after posting a career-high 95 points (46g, 49a) last season. Benesch will anchor the team’s left-side and is joined by righty F Callum Crawford (the franchise’s record holder for points in a single season), lefty vets Kevin Ross and Jamie Shewchuk, and rookies Corbyn Tao (R), Jay Card (R) and Joel Henry (L).
This offseason, Minnesota made it a priority to add defensive and transition players. The team addressed both of those areas by acquiring T Greg Downing, D Mitch Belisle, D Jeff Gilbert and selected T Jordan MacIntosh with the fourth overall section in the 2011 NLL Entry Draft. MacIntosh will handle the team’s faceoff duties along with T Andrew Suitor, who was an NLL All-Rookie Team performer in 2011. Returning on transition with Suitor are Andrew Watt, Rich Morgan and Tyler Hass, who also made the All-Rookie Team last year.
At the goalie position, seven-year Swarm veteran G Nick Patterson returns, and is joined by rookies Evan Kirk and Tyler Carlson. “We have three goalies on our 23-man roster that have all played absolutely outstanding in training camp,” Sullivan said.
Joe Cinosky and Matt Kelly are the team’s two defensemen back from last season and are joined by free agents Dan Ball, Nik Bilic, and Brendon Doran.
The Swarm placed two of its 2011 draft picks - F Todd Baxter and F Pat Smith - on the practice squad. Baxter is a Minnesota native (Eden Prairie) and played collegiate lacrosse at Denver University, where he made it to the Final Four in the 2011 NCAA Division I Tournament. The team also added free agent D Joe Wasson to the practice squad.
Forwards (7) – Ryan Benesch, Jay Card, Callum Crawford, Joel Henry, Kevin Ross, Jamie Shewchuk, Corbyn Tao.
Defensemen (7) – Dan Ball, Mitch Belisle, Nik Bilic, Joe Cinosky, Brendon Doran, Jeff Gilbert, Matt Kelly.
Transition (6) – Greg Downing, Tyler Hass, Jordan MacIntosh, Rich Morgan, Andrew Suitor, Andrew Watt.
Goalies (3) – Tyler Carlson, Evan Kirk, Nick Patterson.
Practice Roster (3) – F Todd Baxter, F Pat Smith, D Joe Wasson.
*Bold denotes returning players
The Swarm hosts the Buffalo Bandits on Treasure Island Field at Xcel Energy Center for their home opener on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. CT. Swarm fans looking to lock up season tickets in 2012 can take advantage of a Buy 2 Get 2 at 50% offer. By purchasing two season tickets at full price, fans can add an additional two tickets for half the cost. Lower level single game tickets can be purchased for as low as $20 to all eight home games by calling 1-888-MN-SWARM or visiting mnswarm.com.