CALGARY, AB — The Calgary Roughnecks added another offensive weapon to their already potent arsenal.
After selecting Denver Pioneers stud Wesley Berg fourth overall in the 2015 NLL Draft, Mike Board and company turned around and nabbed lefty forward Reilly O’Connor of the Brooklin Redmen (MSL), where he put up eight goals and 23 points in 12 games as a rookie, with the sevelth overall pick.
Prior to joining the Redmen, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound forward completed a stellar collegiate career at Georgetown University which spanned four years — 2011 – 2015 — compiling 66 goals and 133 points in 57 games. O’Connors lacrosse days with the Hoyas ended on a sour note, though, falling to Berg and the Pioneers in the championship final.
“Georgetown was a great experience for me,” said O’Connor, who was named captain of the Hoyas prior to the start of the 2013-14 season. “I think the biggest thing is that it’s field lacrosse, but it’s still lacrosse. I had the stick in my hands every day and working out and met some unbelievable people and kind of was able to add some things to my game over the years. It was just a great experience there.”
O’Connor’s junior career numbers were staggering, too.
He became the first player in Ontario Jr. ‘A’ lacrosse to rack up three consecutive 100+ point seasons since John Grant Jr. accomplsihed the feat in the mid-90’s, and collected a pair of Minto Cups along the way with the Whitby Warriors.
Not too shabby.
“What I look to bring is an unselfish brand of lacrosse,” said the humble 22-year-old. “A kind of guy that buys into the coaches game plan and does whatever it takes and whatever is asked of me. In junior I was more of a guy who carried the ball a lot and was more of a setup and playmaker but I really can do whatever the coaches ask of me.”
Not since O’Connor was a member of Team Ontario at the U-16 Field Lacrosse Nationals has he visited Calgary. Despite his limited of knowledge of the city, the Brooklin, ON native is ecstatic to be a part of the Roughnecks organization.
“I’m super excited,” O’Connor said. “To be honest I don’t know much about the area but I’m really excited just to be a Roughneck and just to get this thing going.
It’s always a special feeling. Words can’t really describe it. Just to be drafted into the NLL in the first place is pretty special. To go to an amazing team like Calgary makes it even sweeter.”
Calgary already boasts one of the most lethal group of offensive sticks in the NLL. With the loss of Daryl Veltman and Shawn Pollock in the off-season, Board suggested prior to the Draft that his top two picks are candidates to play in the upcoming NLL season.
O’Connor would like nothing more.
“Shawn Evans is [a former] MVP and is a really special player,” O’Connor said. “Curtis Dickson probably is the most dynamic player in the game today. I’m really looking forward to playing with a guy like Dane Dobbie who is just fearless, a guy who knows how to score big goals and does whatever it takes. A guy like Jeff Shattler is just extremely talented and tremendous player himself.”
Regardless of O’Connor’s lacrosse pedigree, he knows he’s in tough when training camp rolls around in December.
“I’m going to try to do whatever it takes to make this team,” he stated. “I know it’s going to be a tough roster to crack so I’m going to give it my all to make the team.”
When he does make his way to camp, O’Connor can feel a little more comfortable knowing he’ll have at least one personal connection to the team. O’Connor and his fellow draft mate Berg were teammates when the pair represented Canada at the 2012 FIL U-19 Men’s Field World Championships held in Turku, Finland.
A fond memory for O’Connor, for sure.
“We went to Finland together. Right away we just kind of hit it off and had a great connection. We’re still close to this day and it’s going to be amazing playing with him. He’s a great person and an amazing lacrosse player.”