April 30, 2013 - Major League Lacrosse (MLL) - Hamilton Nationals
The Hamilton Nationals have activated five players from their National Lacrosse League in-active list this week, adding six-time MLL Defensive Player of the Year Brodie Merrill, Jordan Hall, Kevin Ross, Kevin Crowley and Garrett Billings.
All the players are expected to be in the Nationals' lineup when Hamilton takes on the Boston Cannons at 7:00 p.m. Saturday night. Fans can watch the game live on ESPN3.
Head Coach Dave Huntley gets the centerpiece of his defense back with Merrill's return and adds four goal-scoring threats. Merrill plays for the Philadelphia Wings, whose season ended Saturday in the East Division Semifinals.
Huntley, who is back as the team's coach for the first time since the 2010 season, was excited to have Merrill for the opening weekend.
"Brodie is the definition of "Best Player in the World" at his position. He has been in the conversation for the past eight years," said Huntley. "To get a guy of that caliber back is very important. He does everything for us."
On offense, the Nationals welcome back Crowley, who was second on the Nationals with 24 goals and 37 points in 2012. Crowley completed his second season in the NLL and was sixth in the league in goals (34) as part of a 72-point campaign.
Billings rejoins the team after a breakout season in 2012, notching 14 goals and 12 assists (26 points) for the Hamilton Nationals. Playing forward for the NLL's Toronto Rock in 2013, he finished the regular season ranked second in NLL scoring for the second straight year with 100 points (30+70). He was named the winner of the NLL's Sportsmanship Award.
Hall returns to the Nationals after missing the 2012 season with an injury. In 2013, he returned to professional lacrosse with the Philadelphia Wings. In 15 games, he collected 14 goals and 28 assists in 15 games. The Nationals are eager to get him back in the lineup, where he notched single-season bests in 2011 in goals (14), assists (9) and points (23).
Ross also makes his Nationals return after being claimed by Hamilton from the Major League Lacrosse Player Pool on January 24th. When he last played for the Nats in 2010, Ross recorded one goal and two assists. Ross just completed the 2013 season with Philadelphia of the NLL, where he was fourth on the Wings with 53 points (20+33).
Hamilton has also added defenseman Kyle Rubisch and midfielder Jeremy Thompson of the Edmonton Rush, and attackman Alex Demopoulos of the Colorado Mammoth to the roster, but they are not scheduled to play this weekend.