Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 12/24/13
From Press Release
The Philadelphia Wings of the National Lacrosse League (NLL) will begin their 28th season of play on the road against divisional rivals the Buffalo Bandits at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, NY on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The Wings look to achieve their record 7th NLL Championship after making the playoffs in 2013, for the second consecutive season.
The Wings made a number of moves this off-season, compiling a 20-man roster containing 10 new members and 10 hold-overs from last year’s team. Veteran Forwards Ryan Ward and Tracey Kelusky along with Goalie Evan Kirk highlight the key additions. Ward and Kelusky were acquired as free agents. Kirk was the key return in a trade this Fall that saw Drew Westervelt dealt to the Colorado Mammoth.
Kelusky will be meeting his former team for the first time when the Wings take on the Buffalo Bandits in the season opener. Ward returns to the Wings, who originally drafted him third overall in the 2003 NLL Entry Draft.
“By acquiring Tracey [Kelusky] and Ryan [Ward] this offseason, we’ve brought in players with experience and a high lacrosse IQ,” said Wings first-year head coach Blane Harrison. “This will only help us by having a strong impact on the rest of the team.”
Philadelphia returns Captian Brodie Merrill, 2013 leading scorer Kevin Crowley (Shipley assistant coach), key contributors on offense in Forwards Jordan Hall and Kevin Ross and defensive standout Brett Manney (Holy Ghost Prep, Delaware, NXT coach).
The Wings are currently without several regulars who are taking off time to prepare for the United States tryouts for the FIL World Championships. Some of these players include Paul Rabil, Max Seibald and rookie Tucker Durkin (La Salle).
Rookie additions, Garrett Thul, Don Alton, John Ranagan, Brian Megill and Michael Poppleton will all play in their first professional game during the season opener. Alton was selected in the fourth round of the 2013 NLL Entry draft. Thul, Ranagan, Megill, and Poppleton all signed following the Wings rookie and free agent camp in November.
“We were very happy with how our training camp turned out,” said Harrison. “We have been able to incorporate skilled players from our free agent camp and teach them our system. This is a change for me to transition to head coach. There are plenty of expectations for the Wings with such a decorated team history, and we’re ready for the challenge.”
This game will mark the first of three contests this season between the Wings and their long time divisional foe, the Buffalo Bandits. Following the 2014 season opener at Buffalo, Philadelphia hosts the Bandits for their home opener at Wells Fargo Center on Sunday, January 12 at 4 p.m.
Tickets for all Wings 2014 home games are available by phone at 215-389-WING or online at WingsLAX.com.