Redmen pleased with selections in the MSL draft
By Sam Laskaris
The Brooklin Redmen scooped up a couple of current professionals in the first round of the Major Series Lacrosse (MSL) Entry Draft.
The five-round draft was staged at the Cobourg Community Centre on Sunday afternoon. The MSL’s Cobourg Kodiaks hosted the event.
Brooklin had the third and fifth over-all picks in the draft. The Redmen kicked off their selections by taking goaltender Riley Hutchcraft, a graduate of the Mimico Mountaineers’ Junior A squad. And then two picks later Brooklin chose Jeff Wittig, who has spent the past five seasons starring with the St. Catharines Athletics Junior A club.
Both Hutchcraft and Wittig are currently on National Lacrosse League (NLL) rosters. Hutchcraft is the backup goalie for the Toronto Rock while Wittig is on the practice roster of the Colorado Mammoth.
Brooklin also selected two of Hutchcraft’s teammates with the Mountaineers later on in the draft. Those individuals were Jackson Suboch, who was picked up in the third round, 15th over-all, and Josh Toguri, chosen in the fourth round, 21st over-all. The Redmen also utilized their second-round pick on Pickering native Justin Robinson, a product of the Brampton Excelsiors’ Junior A squad, and their fifth-round pick on Noah Bushnell, an offensive star who played four seasons with the Windsor Clippers’ Junior B franchise.
Brooklin general manager Brad MacArthur deemed Sunday’s draft a huge success for his organization. “The kids we picked up are all high character guys,” he said. “We’re really happy.”
Hutchcraft, who spent the past four seasons with the Mountaineers, was ecstatic to be drafted. “It’s unbelievable,” he said. “I’ve always dreamed of playing in (the MSL).”
Despite being a junior star and having already cracked an NLL roster, Hutchcraft said he didn’t know what to expect heading into the MSL draft. “When I saw I went in the first round it was a surprise,” he said. “But I was actually very excited it was Brooklin that drafted me.”
Hutchcraft was at the Philadelphia airport – the Rock played in Philly on Saturday night - when he heard he was drafted by the Redmen. “When we landed Brad called me and talked to me and welcomed me to the team,’ Hutchcraft said.
Though he is on the Mammoth practice roster, Wittig, who lives in St. Catharines, is spending his weekends now travelling to all of Colorado’s home and away contests. He was on a flight from Vancouver (where the Mammoth played Saturday night) to Toronto when he found out he was drafted by the Redmen.
“I knew the draft was (Sunday),” Wittig said. “I was on Twitter refreshing the page every couple of minutes. That’s how I found out I was drafted by Brooklin.” Wittig added he had an inkling he’d be chosen by the Redmen because he knew the squad had a pair of first-round picks and MacArthur had expressed plenty of interest in him.
“I figured I was going to go in one of those two spots,” Wittig said.
As for Suboch, he’s in the U.S. now as he’s a third-year student, on a field lacrosse scholarship, at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Being drafted by the Redmen was some rather welcome news for him.
“It’s a huge honour,” he said. ‘And I’m very excited. I couldn’t be happier. I pretty much jumped out of my seat when I saw they had picked me.” Suboch is also thrilled that both Hutchcraft and Toguri were drafted by Brooklin as well. “We’re very close,” he said. “And they’re my best friends. It’s going to be very special if we’re all going to be able to play there together.”
Toguri echoed this sentiment. “The three of us have been together our whole lives,” said Toguri, who is a fourth-year student at the University of Guelph. Toguri was also pleased he was drafted by the Redmen, a franchise with a rich history. “I’m really grateful obviously,” he said. “And I’m really excited to play for such a great organization like Brooklin.”
The first person Toguri called after he found out he was drafted by Brooklin was one of his biggest boosters, his father Jamie. “Riley’s father (Brad) is one of his good friends as well,” Toguri said, adding the fathers had previously discussed how much of a highlight it would be to have their sons continue playing together in the MSL.
Toguri is already playing for a Durham Region club. This marks his first season suiting up for the Oshawa Outlaws, members of the Arena Lacrosse League.