“Players better be ready for training camp, it’s about to get really competitive.”
The words of General Manager Dan Richardson after completing the 2019 NLL Entry Draft on Tuesday night in Philadelphia, and an edict to a team that needs to be better if they want a shot at the playoffs this upcoming season.
The Warriors had just three selections at the NLL Draft, and made the most of a situation that many felt left Vancouver with a competitive disadvantage…no draft picks in the first or second round in 2018 or 2019. “It would be easy for a team to throw their hands up and complain about what they don’t have,” opines Richardson. “That’s not us. We made the most of this draft and are now ready to get all of our players together for training camp.”
The Warriors managed to snag defensive transition speedster Derek Lloyd in the fourth round, #52 overall. “Lloyd was available to us because we did our homework,” states Richardson. “Derek is currently enrolled in Chiropractic school in Minnesota which scared a number of teams away, but after speaking with him he advised us that he had availability on weekends. Perfect for us and a great addition to our defence.”
Before selecting Gord Phillips in round six, the Warriors snapped up the biggest surprise in the NLL Draft, 6-5, 230-pound forward Keegan Bell from Port Coquitlam. Bell had been originally projected to be Top 10 NLL draft pick, but somehow slid through four rounds to land in Vancouver’s lap in Round Five.
“Usually an injury or red flag would make a player slide like this…there is nothing like that in Bell’s situation,” says Richardson. “It was unfortunate for him, but in the end great for both he and us that Keegan landed in Vancouver. We are happy to have Keegan and eager to see if he can fight for a spot on our team.”
And a fight training camp will be. 38 players fighting for 21 active and 4 practice roster spots. The GM can’t wait to get going. “We have 38 players coming to camp, including 18 new faces,” Richardson factualizes. “18 new players that are either rookies looking to fight for a spot, veterans who we brought in to make our team better, or players who get a second chance to make a NLL team. We were 5-13 last season, there shouldn’t be a player on our roster who feels comfortable. You don’t get handed a spot on a 5-13 team; you need to earn it to make us better.”
October 25th is when camp officially begins…for every Warriors player, they had better believe that training camp has already started.