The Edmonton Rush selected forward Robert Church with the fifth overall selection in the 2013 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft taking place this evening in Toronto.
Church, who hails from Coquitlam, B.C., starred for Drexel University (NCAA) the past two years and rose to prominence this summer with the Burnaby Lakers (WLA), scoring 33 points in just nine regular-season games and adding 13 more in only four playoff games. Although his stint was brief with the Lakers, Church certainly increased his profile with a 10-point game.
The Rush moved back one spot in the first round, from No. 4 to No. 5 after making a trade with the Minnesota Swarm. In exchange for the flip, the Rush acquired rugged defender Nik Bilic.
"I believe we get a very talented young player in Robert, and at the same time, bolstered our defense by adding Nik Bilic," said Rush General Manager/Head Coach Derek Keenan.
"I couldn't be more excited to play in Edmonton with Coach Keenan and the guys I've played with in the past - Mark Matthews and Jeff Cornwall," added Church, who stands 5-foot-10.
Rated the No. 3 prospect and best right-handed shooter by www.inlacrossewetrust.com, Church entered the draft after leading Drexel University in scoring the past two seasons including 57 points (33 goals, 24 assists) for the Dragons in 2013. He was also named Honorable Mention All-American and First Team All-CAA this past season at Drexel after leading the Colonial Athletic Conference in points-per-game average. A former CAA Rookie of the Year, Church's 121 career points put him fourth in career points and eighth in career assists for Drexel University.
Prior to joining the collegiate ranks, Church anchored the attack of the Coquitlam Adanacs and was named the British Columbia Junior League's Player of the Year and a First Team All-Star with a league-leading 107 points. While with the Adanacs, Church was named the Minto Cup MVP when Coquitlam won the championship in 2010.
Bilic played the last two seasons with the Swarm racking up nine points plus 60 loose balls and 15 forced turnovers along with 53 penalty minutes in 28 regular-season games. The five-foot-11, 195-pounder from Burnaby, B.C., played summer ball with the WLA's Langley Thunder managing eight points and 59 penalty minutes in 14 regular-season games, plus three assists and 40 penalty minutes in 10 playoff games.
The Rush had two picks in Round 2, and with the 11th overall pick, the club chose left-handed forward Riley Loewen, who finished his collegiate career as the all-time leading goal scorer (184) with Limestone College. He finished his senior season with 54 goals and 90 points, leaving his five points shy of becoming Limestone's all-time points leader. His accolades in his final college year were highlighted by being named the conference's Player and overall Athlete of the Year plus First Team All-American honors.
Loewen played summer ball with the Maple Ridge Burrards (WLA), notching 23 goals including eight on the power play plus 14 assists for 37 points.
Edmonton's second selection in Round 2 was the 13th overall pick and was used to grab Adrian Sorichetti from Hofstra University. Sorichetti, who stands six-foot, 200 pounds, finished third in scoring for Hofstra with 27 points in his senior season. A former Whitby Warrior junior standout under Coach Keenan, Sorichetti played six games of summer ball with the Brooklin Redmen (MSL).
The Rush entered the night without a pick in Round 3 or 4, but they worked a deal with Minnesota to get into the fourth round and selected Reid Mydske with the 30th overall pick. Mydske, a six-foot-three, 200-pound defender, is the younger brother of Rush all-star defenceman Brett Mydske who was Edmonton's third-round pick in the 2009 draft.
The younger Mydske, who was the B.C. Junior League's Top Defender in 2012, played 10 games for New Westminster (WLA) this summer following his freshman season with ASA College in New York where he was a Second Team All-Region standout. In exchange for the Mydske selection spot, the Rush shipped their 2013 fifth-round pick (42nd overall pick) and a fourth-round pick in 2014 to the Swarm.
With their final pick coming in Round 6 (51st overall), the Rush selected Edmonton product Ben Snider, a six-foot-three, 215-pound left-shooting defender. The University of Alberta student plays for the Delta Islanders (B.C. Junior League) and is a tough rearguard, racking up 62 penalty minutes in 22 games this season.
The Rush traded their second sixth-round pick (52nd overall) to Minnesota in exchange for a sixth-round selection in the 2014 draft.
Full entry draft list can be found at www.nll.com