With the National Lacrosse League season kicking off next week, the Boston Cannons of Major League Lacrosse will have plenty of rooting interest in the indoor league. Rosters for the 2017 season were announced on Monday and two of the Cannons will be on the Toronto Rock roster in Challen Rogers and Brodie Merrill while Kevin Buchanan returns to the new England Black Wolves and Mitch Belisle with the Georgia Swarm.
Kyle Jackson, who did not play a game with the Cannons but was added midway through the season, also made the Rochester Knighthawks roster. Jackson was retained by the Cannons in the recent supplemental draft, and is expected to be a part of the 2017 season.
Josh Hawkins, who tried out with the Black Wolves, was one of the final cuts. The Loyola graduate had previously been drafted by the Vancouver Stealth organization.
Merrill and Belisle, two of the anchors of the Cannons defense, missed the start of last season as well. That blow is softened in 2017 with second year player Brandon Mullins projected to have a bigger role in the back line, and Michael Pellegrino expected to be more heavily relied upon.
Buchanan missed a large portion of Boston’s season thanks to the Black Wolves playoff run, and it could be the case again, but the Cannons’ offense is more established than ever with the emergence of Kylor Bellistri and John Uppgren.
Rogers, who made his first MLL appearance last season, saw his role grow as a two way midfielder as the year went on, including making a couple of huge defensive plays late in the year. He is expected to be back with the Cannons despite also being a part of Toronto’s roster.