Players, coaches, and general managers from the National Lacrosse League’s (NLL) 13 franchises, spread across North America, assembled virtually Thursday night for the League’s 2020 Draft Selection Show. Unlike years past, they may not have been in the same room, but that didn’t stop the NLL Entry Draft from being the moment of a lifetime for over 90 players drafted across 6 rounds. Team “war rooms” and player Zoom “rooms” were connected in real-time to produce a world-class broadcast event that was simultaneously streamed on B/R Live, @NLL Facebook, and YouTube. The New York Riptide made their second consecutive first overall selection, taking Cornell forward Jeff Teat (Brampton, ON).
Vancouver, which had originally been slotted at No. 3, moved up one spot to No. 2, trading with Rochester to guarantee to get their man, Drexel defenseman Reid Bowering (Coquitlam, B.C.). Then Rochester, like New York having just completed its first NLL season as an expansion franchise, grabbed Robert Morris forward Ryan Smith (Burlington, ON) third. Rounding out the top five picks: San Diego snagged Ohio State forward Tre Leclaire (Surrey, B.C.), and Calgary chose forward Tanner Cook (Courtice, ON) of North Carolina.
“We may not have been together in the past at Xfinity Live in Philadelphia or other cities and locations before that, but it was another memorable Entry Draft with some great young talent moving to the next level,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz. “We are proud of the way NLL teams, players, and staff adjusted and produced such a top tier event that captured the excitement of the first major step towards the league’s 35th season.”
The first round continued with 16 total selections, as Georgia made the first of its four initial round picks at No. 6, grabbing University of Vermont transition Robert Hudson (Oakville, ON), then taking Ohio State defenseman Jeff Henrick (Orangeville, ON) at No. 8, Ethan Walker (Peterborough, ON) at No. 10 and Laine Hruska (Warman, SK.) at No. 13. Other first-rounders included forward Marshall Powless (Six Nations) at No. 7 and Connor McClelland (Brampton, ON) at No. 12 by Saskatchewan; Brad McCulley (Victoria, B.C.) at No. 9 by Buffalo; Ethan Riggs (Hamilton, ON) at No. 11 by Halifax; Harrison Matsuoka (Calgary, AB) at No. 11 by Calgary; Mac O’Keefe (Syosset, N.Y.) at No. 15 by San Diego; and Jackson Suboch (Toronto) at No. 16 completing the round by Philadelphia.