The Minnesota Swarm open their training camp for the 2014 season on November 29th at the Toronto Rock Athletic Center in Oakville, Ontario. There are 3 weekend sessions planned for camp. The first one runs from November 29th thru December 1st, the second is December 6-8, and the final session is December 13-15. All sessions will take place in Oakville.
The Swarm will also play three exhibition games during training camp. They will face the Colorado Mammoth on December 6, the Rochester Knighthawks on December 7, and the Calgary Roughnecks on December 14. I will let you know closer to the date if those games will be aired on the lacrosse network on YouTube. The December 7 game against the Knighthawks will be broadcast on YouTube and will feature a pregame ceremony honoring Pat O'Toole as he enters the NLL Hall of Fame. For any readers we may have in Rochester, NY, the preseason game against the Knighthawks is free and takes place at the Blue Cross Arena. Those of us who can't afford a plan ticket, however, will just have to watch from home and wait for the home opener on January 19 for live action.
Andrew Suitor will be back this season following a season ending knee injury and surgery last season. He just signed a 5 year contract (pending league approval) and is looking to be the Swarm captain for many years to come. He has spent the summer rehabbing his knee, documenting his progress on Twitter with the hashtag #biggerstrongerfaster. The team struggled at times without their Captain, so it will be great to get him back.
The Swarm drafted a record 10 draft pick this year, and these 10 will all be fighting for a chance. The Swarm picked up Logan Schuss, Jason Noble, Cameron Flint, Scott Jones, Reid Acton, Zach Palmer, Jordon Houtby, Dominique Alexander, J.J. Laforet, and Nicholas Jonas at the draft, and they should all be competitive during camp. I'm expecting Schuss and Noble to make the team out of camp and wouldn't be at all surprised if Flint or Jones found their way into a roster spot.
Camp will be competitive this year with the new CBA dropping the roster size from 23 to 20 and increasing the practice squad roster to 4 from 3. With fewer spots available, everyone will be fighting for position. Head Coach, Joe Sullivan expect this to be the most intense camp yet and says the plan is to assess the players and have the final roster selected by the first Sunday. The second and third weekends will be fighting for starting spots, he went on to say. Training camp should be a fierce experience for all involved, and it should be fun to watch things develop.
Stay tuned for more updates as camp progresses.