NLL veteran defender returns to Toronto for 2011 season
Toronto – The Toronto Rock Lacrosse Club have acquired unrestricted free agent and former Orlando Titans defender Patrick Merrill to a four year deal this week. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Introduced into the NLL as a Rock player in 2003, Merrill played in Toronto for the first five seasons of his career until he was picked up second overall by the New York Titans during the 2007 Expansion Draft.
Being very familiar with the coaching staff in Rock assistant coach and GM Terry Sanderson, Patrick is looking forward to playing for Toronto again.
“I’m extremely thrilled to be back playing for the Rock organization” Merrill says. “It’s a very strong team on the floor and a first class organization off the floor. I know the Rock ownership, coaching staff and players put winning first and that is very important to me.”
The assistant captain and defenseman spent two seasons as a Titan in New York before the team moved to Florida where he spent the 2010 season with the Orlando Titans and tallying 13 regular season points (1 goal, 12 assists). Along with his Titans squad, Patrick appeared in two NLL playoff games in 2010, the second of which was the East Division final where the Toronto Rock defeated the Titans 15-10 and pushed them into the Championship game.
Having coached him in the past during summer lacrosse, Sanderson and head coach Troy Cordingley know Merrill is comfortable with the way they run the defense and are big fans of the way he plays the game.
“He plays with an edge that in a way makes us a harder team to compete against” says Sanderson, “and brings a great wealth of leadership qualities that you really can’t have enough of.”
Merrill, 31, has appeared in the NLL playoffs every season he’s played in the League. Two of these playoff years were with the Rock that also led to NLL Champions Cup titles. The first in 2003 when the Rock defeated the Rochester Knighthawks and most recently the 2005 season when he was a part of the Championship victory for the Rock over the Arizona Sting at the Air Canada Centre.
‘It was an amazing experience to be a part of two Championship teams with the Rock and I’m really hoping to help this team bring another to the great lacrosse fans of Toronto” Merrill adds.
Patrick, along with his Toronto Rock teammates will kick off the 2011 regular season against his younger brother Brodie Merrill and the Edmonton Rush. The Rock home opener takes place on Saturday January 8th at 7:00 p.m. ET at the Air Canada Centre. Visit http://www.torontorock.com for the full 2011 Toronto Rock schedule.
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