Three former A’s drafted
Former St. Catharines A’s Mason Kamminga, Carter Zavitz and Alex Simmons were all selected in the National Lacrosse League draft last week. Photo by: SPECIAL TO BPSN.
Three former members of the St. Catharines WMKL Athletics didn’t have to wait very long to hear their names called at the National Lacrosse League draft last week.
Alex Simmons, Mason Kamminga and Carter Zavitz were all selected before the end of the second round with Simmons leading the way after being chosen fourth overall in the first round by the Albany FireWolves.
“Sitting in that chair was definitely a little nervewracking but all the guys that went above me all deserved it,” Simmons said. “It was nice not to have to wait that long.
“I was lucky enough to go early in the draft and I devote that to everybody who I was involved with with the A’s.”
Simmons had an inkling Albany was going to choose him.
“I talked to them before and everything they said to me was very comforting,” he said. “They were very nice and with (former Toronto coach and current Albany coach and general manager) Glenn Clark watching me with Beaches, that was nice to know they knew me at a different level other than a personal level.
“They were ecstatic to have me. It was pretty thrilling.”
Simmons recently transferred to Syracuse University where he will play his fifth year of college eligibility. The forward will be available on the FireWolves Roster for the 2023-24 season.
“They know they’re not going to have me for a year but it’s nice to know they have your back and are willing to take the time to let me develop,” Simmons said. “I think that speaks volumes for the kind of organization they are and I can’t wait to get out there and make a difference for them.”
The New York Riptide picked defenceman Mason Kamminga in the second round, 27th overall.
“It wasn’t too long but it felt like forever just sitting there shaking and sweating,” Kamminga said. “It was amazing to hear my name called.”
Kamminga had no idea who would select him or where he might be chosen.
“I was hoping for the best. I was hoping for the first two rounds and as early as possible but I was extremely happy with where I ended up,” he said.
Kamminga, who just completed his Masters in Business Administration from the University of Detroit Mercy, played with the Six Nations Chiefs this summer in the Major Series Lacrosse senior A loop and feels that experience will help him with the transition to pro.
“I played there with a lot of guys who are in the NLL, tons of NLL players on the D end who I was playing with and it was awesome,” he said. “I learned a lot from the stuff they would say in between periods and asking questions and watching them play.
“I got a taste of how my game will translate in the NLL. You never know until you get there but I think with my grit and tenacity and get-in-your-face defence, I think I’ll be able to translate it and to go along with the cerebral part of my game. I think I’ll be able to pick up whatever system the New York defence is playing and be able to adapt my game to it.“
Kamminga is working with an insurance agency in Toronto doing liability underwriting and says he has the full support from his company to pursue his dream.
“It’s really awesome,” he said.
With the 14th pick of the second round (37th overall), Panther City drafted Zavitz from Princeton University.
“It’s a great feeling,” Zavitz said. “It’s super exciting. It was a stressful day but at the end of the day I walked away smiling.”
Zavitz will be reunited in Panther City with former A’s goaltender Nick Damude and current A’s coach Steve Toll, who is a member of Panther City coaching staff.
Zavitz said he was impressed with how the draft was organized.
“You show up and it was very professional. The whole NLL did a great job with the event. It was a great feeling and happy to be one off the draftees who was invited to come to the event.”
Zavitz was accompanied to the draft by A’s general manager Jeff Chcoski, assistant GM Sean Howe, two brothers, two grandparents and his best friend
“It was awesome. My grandparents were super excited when I told them they should come and my brothers were very glad they ended up coming,” he said.
All three celebrated together when they returned to St. Catharines following the draft.
“That was awesome,” Kamminga said. “I’m happy for both of them. It was awesome to see it go full circle. It was pretty special to be able to do it with some of my brothers.”
“It was pretty special for everybody,” he said. “I couldn’t be more proud of those guys. They deserve it just as much as I do. They have been some of my best friends since I was little and we’ve been waiting for this day for a while. I’m just so happy for them.”
A’s acorns: Former Athletic Brett Erskine has signed a two-year deal with Albany. Erskine was drafted by the FireWolves in the sixth round of the 2021 draft.
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