Former A’s ready for NLL draft
Former St. Catharines Athletic Alex Simmons is expected to be selected high in the first round of Saturday’s National Lacrosse League draft. Photo by: BILL POTRECZ
Alex Simmons is about to be rewarded for years of hard work and dedication.
The former sniper for the St. Catharines WMKL Athletics is expected to be selected high in the first round of the upcoming National Lacrosse League draft.
“It’s very safe to say he will be a top-five pick,” A’s general manager Jeff Chcoski said of Simmons.
Simmons, a 23-year-old Smithville resident, is eager to attend the draft which will be held Saturday afternoon in Toronto.
“I’m really looking forward to it. Growing up it’s always been a dream come true to hear your name called. When that time comes, I’ll be really excited,” Simmons said.
Simmons has had contact with multiple teams.
“You don’t know when or where you’re going to go, but just being a part of it, I’m really excited,” he said. “Don’t really have an idea because you don’t know what teams want. Just being polite and thankful they are calling. They are getting to know me and I’m getting to know them on a name-to-name basis and seeing what the right fit is.”
Simmons, who transferred to Syracuse University to complete his education after four years at the University of Denver, wrapped up his junior A career last summer as the A’s captured the Iroquois Cup where he was named most valuable player.
“I know Alex always arrived a little late from school because he went to Denver but when he got back he made an immediate impact on our team and the league,” Chcoski said. “He always made our team better as soon as he hit the floor.”
Simmons gives credit to the A’s for laying the foundation to his career.
“I owe basically everything to them,” he said. “That’s the program who basically made me who I am. They’ve given me so much — Sean Allen, Dan Pilon, Steve Toll — all these guys they’ve put me in the position I am.
“They have a really special place in my heart. Wherever I go Saturday, I’ll owe about 99 per cent of it to them.”
Another former Athletic, Carter Zavitz, also has a strong chance to be selected.
“I’m definitely excited. I’m not sure what is going to happen but I’m grateful for the opportunity to hopefully hear my name called,” Zavitz said.
Zavitz said it would be a dream come true to be drafted.
“I grew up and I was able to watch my cousin Steve Toll play and I went to NLL games growing up,” said Zavitz, a 23-year-old St. Catharines native. “I think for any young Canadian box player the NLL is always a top goal.
“I’m very excited for the chance to hopefully have a chance to play.”
Zavitz, who has gradated from Princeton with a degree in economics, is confident he can make the jump to the pros despite his diminutive stature.
“It will definitely be a steep learning curve,” he said. “Once you reach the pro level there are bigger guys and guys who have been there for many years. It will definitely be a challenge but it’s something I’m very capable of.”
Zavitz will also be attending the draft in person along with A’s assistant general manager Sean Howe and Chcoski.
Former Athletic Mason Kamminga is eligible as are current A’s Ben Doherty, Peyton McIntosh, Reid Lowe, Mike Wilson and Austin Paddy.
A’s acorns: A’s assistant coach Ken Millin has been added to the staff with the NLL’s expansion Las Vegas Desert Dogs franchise.
The following are the award winners from the A’s annual awards night.
Joe McCaffery Award (regular season top scorer): Keaton Zavitz.
Ted Howe, Sr. Award (regular season MVP): Keaton Zavitz.
Tom Garriock Award (top defensive player): Austin Paddy.
Jack Gatecliff Award (most improved player): Reid Lowe.
Ed/Helen Sawicki Award (most dedicated player): Peyton McIntosh.
Jim Brady Award (rookie of the year): Nathan Fehr.
Bob Luey Award (leadership): Jackson Webster.
St. Catharines Old Boys Award (sportsmanship): Gavin Howard.
Gord Halliwell Award (playoff MVP): Clay Scanlan.
Steve Toll Award (transition player of the year): Mitchell Armstrong.
Paul Coates Award (top out-of-town player): Ben Doherty.
Lee Randall Award (volunteer): Kim Levesque.
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