July 31, 2017 - National Lacrosse League (NLL) - Toronto Rock
Oakville, ON - Toronto Rock Owner, President and GM Jamie Dawick today announced the re-signing of defender Sandy Chapman to a one-year contract and defender Damon Edwards to a three-year contract. Tuesday will mark the beginning of the NLL's free agency period. Chapman was scheduled to become a UFA while Edwards could have become an RFA.
The signings are pending league approval.
Originally selected by the Rock in the 2001 NLL Draft (First Round, 12th overall), Chapman is a five-time winner of the NLL Champion's Cup. Four of those came with Toronto, while one was captured during a four-season stint with the Rochester Knighthawks. Chapman was the NLL's defender of the year in 2010 and also made the NLL's first All-Pro Team that season. 2017-18 will be his 18th NLL season and his 14th in a Rock uniform.
"Sandy is one of our defensive leaders and assistant captain," said Dawick. "He's a veteran and valuable piece of this team. Sandy sets a tone with his work ethic on the floor but also in how he conducts himself off the floor. He's someone that the younger players immediately identify with when they come to our team and want to learn what it takes to be a professional lacrosse player. We are very happy to have him back with the Toronto Rock."
Chapman and Edwards are key cogs of the Rock defence. Chapman is looked at as a veteran presence and the ultimate pro, Edwards is now following in those footsteps while battling through adversity.
Edwards is a second-generation Toronto pro athlete as his father Dwight enjoyed an 11-year CFL career that started and ended with the Toronto Argonauts. The elder Edwards' biggest asset was his speed as a wide receiver and kick returner. It's something the younger Edwards also uses to his advantage on the lacrosse floor. The upcoming NLL campaign will be his seventh, the sixth with Toronto.
After missing the 2016 season recovering from a torn ACL, Edwards returned to the Rock lineup in 2017, making an instant impact on the defensive side of the ball and in the team's transition game. The 28-year old from Toronto, ON scored a career-high eight goals to go along with seven assists and 15 points, appearing in all 18 games in 2017. In three playoff games, he cashed in with another three tallies and four points, sparking the Rock's transition offence. When the 2017-18 season begins, Edwards will have turned 29 and will continue to be one of the anchors of a young, fast and rebuilt Rock defence.
"When players are gone for a year and return, you quickly realize just how valuable they are," explained Dawick. "We missed Damon's speed and finish in transition in 2016 and it was a huge bonus getting him back this past season. Damon will continue to contribute in the ways we're accustomed to and get better as we move forward through his new contract term."
The Rock will see several players become eligible for unrestricted free agency on Tuesday including practice roster players Phil Caputo, Mikey MacDonald and Steve Fryer along with veterans Brandon Miller, Kasey Beirnes, Jeff Gilbert, Patrick Merrill and Rob Marshall. However, Dawick noted that he has agreed to terms on a deal with Miller that is being finalized and will be announced later this week.
"We could wake up tomorrow with considerably less inventory available," said Dawick when asked about the number of unsigned players with the Rock as well as other NLL clubs. "I don't anticipate a very active day on Tuesday but we will continue to explore our options."