CALGARY, AB — The 2015 draft was a big one for the Calgary Roughnecks. Literally.
The Roughnecks drafted nine players in total, the most of any team in the National Lacrosse League. With two picks in each of the first three rounds, the Riggers loaded up on talent.
In the first round, they took forwards Wesley Berg and Reilly O’Connor.
Berg, 22, played his college lacrosse with Denver University, where he won a National Championship in 2015. Originally from Coquitlam, BC, the 6’1″ righty spent the 2015 summer with the Oakville Rock of the Major Series Lacrosse league (MSL), where he had seven goals and seven assists.
O’Connor, a lefty, will look to set into the spot that Daryl Veltman left behind when he signed in Buffalo this summer. He posted eight goals and 15 assists with the Brooklin Redmen in the MSL.
Berg and O’Connor were teammates on Team Canada at the 2012 FIL U-19 Men’s Field World Championship, winning silver.
Mitch DeSnoo, the 13th overall pick of the Roughnecks, has connections with both Berg and O’Connor, too. The defenceman/transition player played with Berg on the Oakville Rock during the 2015 summer. He recorded two goals and three assists during the regular season. His connection to O’Connor goes back to his junior lacrosse days, where they won two Minto Cups (2011, 2013) with the Whitby Warriors.
The youngest Roughnecks draftee, Christian Del Bianco, was the first goalie taken during the NLL Draft at 15th overall. The 18-year-old declared early for the draft after winning gold with Team Canada at the 2015 U-19 World Lacrosse Challenge.
With the Coquitlam Jr. A Adanacs, he recorded a perfect 10-0 record in the regular season with a 5.91 GAA and a .856 SV%. In the playoffs, he was 12-4 with a 6.85 GAA and a .814 SV%.
With their two picks in the third round, the Roughnecks selected two defenceman from out east.
At 24th overall, Calgary selected Tyson Bell from Onondaga Community College. Bell recorded 10 goals and eight assists in 2015. The stay-at-home defenceman helped lead Onondaga to their second straight NJCAA Championship.
With the very next pick at No. 25, Calgary selected a 6’4” defensive end from the University of Windsor.
Wrong game, right?
A dual sport athlete, Kellen LeClair played his lacrosse with the Windsor Clippers (OLA Jr B) and the Six Nations Arrows (OLA Jr A). A shutdown defenceman, LeClair helped neutralize the Adanacs’ top scorers to help the Six Nations arrows claim the 2015 Minto Cup.
In the fourth round, Calgary took Jacob Ruest, a right-handed forward who played for the Langley Thunder of the Western Lacrosse Association. In his first season with the Thunder, Ruest scored eight goals and added 24 assists.
Jordan Kancsal, another Western kid, was the next pick at No. 44 for the Roughnecks. A local boy, Kancsal played for the Calgary Mountaineers Jr A. The standout goaltender will join an already strong unit between the pipes.
With their final pick of the draft, Calgary picked another right-handed forward in Carson Barton. The Grand Canyon University alum won the 2015 MCLA Division I Title and was named the player of the tournament. He was also named to the 2015 MCLA 1st Team All-American Attack.
Though me missed all of 2014 with an ACL injury, Barton recorded 110 goals and 55 assists the two seasons prior. In 2015 with the Coquitlam Adanacs, he had 14 goals and 15 assists.
Each member of the Roughnecks 2015 NLL Draft class bring a great skill set to the table and showcase the bright future of the team.