For the second straight year, Xfinity Live in Philadelphia was the site of Tuesday’s National Lacrosse League Entry Draft, and the New York Riptide, one of two expansion franchises, began construction on this year’s roster, with its first contest less than three months away. With the first overall selection, the Riptide grabbed Tyson Gibson out of Robert Morris University, then later selected Tyson Bomberry out of Syracuse University with another first-round pick.
“We’re very excited to get the two guys we wanted in an ideal situation tonight,” Riptide Assistant GM and Director of Lacrosse Operations Lance Basler said. “We feel they can contribute right off the bat on offense and defense. They are true gritty guys and great DNA for our team.”
For Gibson, a native of Maple, Ontario, joining the new squad means a great opportunity.
“I want to do what I can to get this team off to a great start,” said Gibson following his selection. “I didn’t know that I’d be the first pick, but it’s really a dream come true, and I can’t wait to get started with my new teammates.”
New York, which will play its home games at NYCB Live at Nassau Coliseum, had 11 picks on the evening. Rounding out the franchise’s first draft haul are Jake Fox (2nd Round, Johns Hopkins), Connor Farrell (2nd Round, LIU Post), Gale Thorpe (2nd Round, Ohio State), John Wagner (3rd Round, Marquette), Travis Longboat (3rd Round, Six Nations Arrows), Jack Rowlett (3rd Round, UNC), Matt Borges (4th Round, Ohio State), Daylen Hill (5th Round, Six Nations Rebels) and Brad McKinney (6th Round, Syracuse).
Other teams got into the act with local talent as well. At the top of the list is second overall pick Ryland Rees from Stony Brook, who was taken by Rochester. Rees, from Vancouver, literally has the sport in his blood. “I remember watching my grandfather play when I was three,” he said before the draft.
And while lacrosse has expanded its footprint to new areas, seeing a player from NJIT in Newark picked in the first round is a bit of a surprise. Aaron Forster, an Ottawa native, was picked by the Toronto Rock.
“I can’t be more thankful for my teammates,” said Forster. “Newark was different from home, but with New York right next door, it was a great experience.”
And ending up in his home province is a “dream come true” for the Highlanders’ all-time leader in goals.
“Eight years ago I played in an All-Star game there, and now I’m going to get to play there as a member of the Rock,” he added.
Other players from area colleges selected Tuesday include Ryan MacSpayden (1st round, Mercy), Derek Lloyd (4th round, Stony Brook), Luke Keenan (5th round, Princeton), and Gord Phillips (6th round, Monmouth).