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MAMMOTH SELECTS GOALTENDER IN FIRST ROUND, ONE OF FIVE PICKS OVERALL

With the third-overall pick in the 2013 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft, the Colorado Mammoth selected goaltender Dillon Ward. Four other players that will don the burgundy, black and silver heard their names called during Monday night’s draft at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre (TRAC) in Oakville, Ontario.

Ward, the first All-American in the history of Bellarmine University lacrosse, solidified his position as the top goalie prospect in the draft with his MVP performance in the 2012 Minto Cup. Previously, he was named the 2010 Canadian Player and Goalie of the Year by NLL Insider (now IL Indoor) and won the Robert Melville Memorial Award as the top Junior “A” goaltender in 2008, 2009 and 2011.

With the Mammoth, Ward and incumbent Tye Belanger will form one of the league’s most dynamic goalie duos.

“Our goaltending woes from early last season are quite well-known, so we don’t want to go through that again,” said Colorado head coach Bob Hamley. “We know Tye is our guy, and Dillon’s a fellow with a great resume. Dillon won a Minto Cup with Orangeville in 2012 and stole the show! He has a great future ahead of him. We want to make sure we have protection for Tye, and two young guys that will grow together.”

No goalie since Mammoth All-Decade Team member Gee Nash, who was the number-two pick in the 1999 draft (behind current Mammoth forward John Grant, Jr.), has been selected as high as Ward was on Monday night.

“I don’t know if I think of it as pressure – it’s more of an honor I think,” said Ward. “Looking back, there aren’t very many goalies that are chosen this high. I’m just really honored, and I’m excited to get started.”

“I’m looking forward to working with Dillon and seeing what he can bring to the team,” said Belanger, the Mammoth’s starting goaltender in the second-half of the 2013 season. “Hopefully we can work out a good, fair goalie competition between us. He’ll push me – and I’ll push him – to be better goalies and we can make this team better.”

Colorado didn’t have another selection until the fourth round, when it drafted left-handed transition player Cody McMahon with the 31st-overall pick and Cameron Mann (Jacksonville University) 32nd overall. McMahon is the son of former Mammoth head coach (and current Calgary Roughnecks assistant) Bob McMahon.

The Mammoth rounded out the draft by selecting University of Delaware alumnus Dom Sebastiani in the fifth round (40th overall) and Brampton, Ontario native Jake Weidner in the sixth (49th).

Training camp opens in November. The season-opener is set for Saturday, December 28 at 7pm MT at home on HealthONE Field at Pepsi Center against the Edmonton Rush.

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