Rock, Powless agree to 1-year deal

The Toronto Rock have finally inked their key offseason acquisition to a deal.

On Thursday, forward Johnny Powless put pen to paper on a new one-year agreement with the Rock, the team announced.

Powless was acquired by the Rock in a trade with the Calgary Roughnecks that saw Dan Taylor head out west. Due to ongoing collective bargaining agreement negotiations between the National Lacrosse League and the Professional Lacrosse Players’ Association, he couldn’t sign his deal until now.

“I’m pretty excited to be here and be close to home,” Powless said, according to the team. “I’m excited for the season to begin and for my family to watch me play here.”

The native of Six Nations, Ontario was the fifth overall pick of the Rochester Knighthawks in the 2011 NLL Draft. Powless was the youngest player in the league entering his rookie season in 2012 – he was just 18 years old.

In his first season with the Knighthawks, Powless posted 26 goals and 50 points in 16 games. He also pitched in 11 points in three postseason contests as Rochester captured their third Champions Cup in franchise history.

Powless would turn into one of the cornerstone players of a Knighthawks dynasty that would roll to three straight championships from 2012-2014. He would also receive a nomination for the Lou Marsh Award as Canada’s top athlete in 2014.

He was traded to the Vancouver Stealth ahead of the 2015 campaign, but would play just over half a season before being shipped to Minnesota for reigning Rookie of the Year Logan Schuss.

Powless’ first full season with the Swarm organization – which moved to Georgia in 2016 – would be his best to date. Featuring in a stacked offensive front, Powless finished with a career-high 35 goals and 72 points in 18 games.

He would win his fourth championship and first with the Swarm in 2017.

After starting the 2018 season with Georgia, Powless was dealt again, this time to the New England Black Wolves. He would finish the year with 31 points in 17 games.

The Rock will be the fifth team that the 25-year-old has been a part of. He is already familiar with the organization, as he played for the Oakville Rock – who Rock owner, president, and general manager Jamie Dawick is the director of lacrosse operations for – this summer. Powless posted a team-high 46 points in the playoffs and helped Oakville to its first appearance in the Major Series Lacrosse Finals.

With the Rock losing a few key pieces in Turner Evans and Brett Hickey through this summers expansion draft, the fit couldn’t be better for Powless. As a lefty, he will slot into Evans’ old role in the lineup as a threat in the pick and roll game with Adam Jones. He can play both on the crease and as an outside shooter, which will allow for the Rock to use him in different sets and scenarios.

2019 has the promise to be a bounce-back season for Powless. He brings a heap of experience to the team and his talent will be a welcomed addition to a forward core that already boasts some great talent.

“You just have to work hard and buy-in to the structure and game plan set out by the coaches,” Powless said. “I think if we work hard and take care of business on the floor we’ll be alright.”

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