5/10/11 12:00 AM


(Hamilton, May 10)… The Hamilton Nationals released their roster for their inaugural Major League Lacrosse season in the Steel City. Among the 25-man active roster are returning leading scorer John Grant Jr., five-time Defensive Player of the Year Brodie Merrill, and Six Nations and Syracuse star Cody Jamieson.
The Hamilton Nationals moved into their new home this weekend as the MLL team held two days of training camp at Ron Joyce Stadium at McMaster University. The practice sessions were run by head coach Regy Thorpe, and assistant coaches Jason Johnson, Brian Hobart and Gary Gait.
“We had a great start to the weekend,” said Thorpe. “We have players on our roster that are committed to Hamilton and the MLL first. We might make some changes throughout the year, but the balance of our roster is intact.”
Grant enters his third season with the Nationals after leading the club with 36 points in 2010. The Peterborough native is one of four top point producers returning from last season. Joining Grant is Kevin Huntley (19 points), Jordan Hall (19 points) and Brett Bucktooth (15 points). Hamilton will also count on offense from Jamieson, who is coming off a superb indoor season in Rochester. “Jammer” led all rookies in points and led the Knighthawks with 28 goals.
One of the key additions is midfielder Joe Walters, who missed the 2010 season. He was a member of the 2009 Nationals’ championship team and won back-to-back titles from 2008 to 2009. Additionally, Brian Christopher enters his third season in the MLL and first with the Nationals. He was selected with the fifth pick in the second round (14th overall) by the Denver Outlaws in the 2009 MLL Collegiate Draft.
The midfield also includes returners Craig Point (Six Nations), Dan Dawson (Brampton) and Joel Zalesky. Newcomers to the midfield include Jarrett Davis and Tyler Burton (St. Catharines), who both played for the Rochester Knighthawks this season.
On defense, the Nats return perennial All-Pro Brodie Merrill, Sid Smith (Six Nations), Matt Vinc (St. Catharines), Steve Panarelli and Steven Waldeck. The team added former Syracuse standout Sol Bliss who signed as a free agent. The Nationals boast d-Middies Billy Dee Smith (St. Catharines), Kyle Rubisch (Brampton) and Donny Moss. Geoff Snider is the primary faceoff man and provides toughness to the grit to the team. Snider is eighth all-time in faceoff wins (689) and seven in faceoff attempts (1,353).
The Nationals’ roster features three goalies as second-year pro Scott Rodgers, veteran Brett Queener and newcomer Joe Marra will backstop Hamilton. Rodgers ranked second among MLL goalies with a .571 save percentage and third with a 12.26 goals-against average. He finished fourth in the outdoor league's rookie of the year voting. The goalie was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2010 NCAA Championship as he helped Notre Dame reach the title game of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history.
Queener has two championships to his resume, winning in 2008 and 2009, while Marra spent three seasons at Fairfield University (2008-10) and was originally drafted by the Chicago Machine in 2010.
Hamilton will open its season on the road on Saturday, May 14th against the Denver Outlaws at 9:00 p.m. at INVESCO Field. Denver is coming off an 8-4 season and a trip to the MLL Semifinals. The Outlaws finished tied with the best record in the MLL, but were knocked off by the Long Island Lizards in the postseason. The Nationals were 0-2 against Denver as they finished 3-9 in 2010.
The Nationals will host the 2010 MLL Champion Chesapeake Bayhawks in their home opener at McMaster University on Thursday, May 19th at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are priced at $25, $20 and $15 plus applicable service charges. Children 10 and under are free for the home opener only. Tickets are on sale now and are available on or call 1-855-872-5000. For group sales please call 905-546-2391 or email
Hamilton Nationals
D - Solomon Bliss
M - Brett Bucktooth
M - Tyler Burton
M - Brian Christopher
M - Jarrett Davis
M - Dan Dawson
A - John Grant Jr.
M - Jordan Hall
A - Kevin Huntley
A - Cody Jamieson
G - Joe Marra
D - Brodie Merrill
M - Donny Moss
D- Steve Panarelli
M - Craig Point
G - Brett Queener
G - Scott Rodgers
D - Kyle Rubisch
D - Sid  Smith
M – Billy Dee Smith
M/FO - Geoff Snider
D - Matt Vinc
D - Steven Waldeck
M - Joe Walters
M - Joel Zalesky

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