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NLL announces 2020 season awards, Shayne Jackson wins MVP

The NLL season came to a screeching halt in mid-March as did every other professional sports league due to the coronavirus pandemic. While the league won’t be crowning a new champion in 2020, they did go forward with the annual league awards, announcing winners on Tuesday night via social media. Here’s a quick look at the 2020 NLL award winners.

Defensive Player of the Year: Graeme Hossack, Halifax Thunderbirds

The defensive stalwart claimed his third-straight defensive player of the year award. Hossack tallied nine goals and nine assists in the 12-game season, while collecting 107 loose balls. The fifth-year pro was on track for a career year in multiple categories, including points and shots on goal. 

Transition Player of the Year: Challen Rogers, Toronto Rock

Repeat winners seemed to be a theme throughout the NLL Awards this season as Toronto’s Challen Rogers repeated his 2019 performance, claiming his second-straight Transition Player of the Year Award. The Coquitlam, BC native was on pace for career highs in goals, assists, and points, while adding 55 loose balls. The Rock captain edged out Kiel Matisz and Zach Currier for the award.

Goaltender of the Year: Doug Jamieson, New England Black Wolves

In a year that featured great goaltending performances across the league Doug Jamieson’s numbers stood out. Appearing in 11 games with an 8-3 record for New England, the goalie allowed 8.8 goals per game, while posting a save percentage of .829. No goaltender in the NLL who appeared in more than three games, had a better save percentage or goals against average than the Canadian who also tied for most victories in the NLL as well.

Coach of the Year: Paul Day, Philadelphia Wings

Day turned around a Wings club that went 4-14 last season this season, finishing the season at 8-6 prior to the shutdown. He also has been able to groom traditional field lacrosse players like Trevor Baptiste and Matt Rambo into solid box lacrosse players who largely contributed to the team’s 2020 success.

General Manager of the Year: Paul Day, Philadelphia Wings

The turn around that garnered him Coach of the Year honors can also be credited to his work as a GM. Day assembled the top scoring offense in the NLL this season as the Wings tallied 151 goals led by a trio of players who scored over 20 goals during the shortened season. 

Tom Borrelli Media Member of the Year: Craig Rybczynski, Rochester Knighthawks

The play-by-play voice of the Knighthawks celebrated his 21st season in Rochester this year and 19th as the radio and TV voice of the Knighthawks. Craig Rybczynski is the longest tenured broadcaster in the NLL and also serves as the clubs lacrosse operations manager.

Rookie of the Year: Tyson Gibson, New York Riptide

The first overall pick in the 2019 NLL Draft lived up to the hype surrounding him this season claiming top rookie honors after finishing the year with 43 points (16 goals, 27 assists) in 12 games for the Riptide. Gibson led all rookies in points, while his 27 assists tied with Andrew Kew, and his 16 goals was only matched by Halifax’s Clarke Petterson.

Sportsmanship Award: Lyle Thompson, Georgia Swarm

For the third straight year, Lyle Thompson adds another award to his already large trophy case. The Swarm forward is now the first player in the NLL history to win the award three straight times since its inception in 2002.

Teammate of the Year: Dan Dawson, Toronto Rock and Mike Poulin, Georgia Swarm

Teammate of the year honors were awarded to both Dan Dawson and Mike Poulin. The veterans both showed a tremendous amount of leadership that we have been accustomed to seeing from them for years, with Mike Poulin being a consistent presence in net for the Georgia Swarm, and Dan Dawson making an impact for the Rock in his first season in Toronto.

Executive of the Year: John Catalano, Halifax Thunderbirds

John Catalano had the tall task of establishing a franchise in Halifax, and he did so with great success in year one. From a fan perspective, the Thunderbirds had consistently high attendance and were embraced by the city of Halifax. As far as lacrosse is concerned, the Thunderbirds were one of the top teams, finishing at 8-4 and third in the standings when the shutdown occurred.

Most Valuable Player: Shayne Jackson, Georgia Swarm

Shayne Jackson finished the season ranked in the top five in the NLL in goals, assists, and points after racking up 73 points (31 goals, 42 assists) in just 12 games. A model of consistency, the Limestone product was only 12 points away from tying his career high set during the 2018 season. 

NLL All-League and All-Rookie Teams

The league also announced the players named to the all-league and all-rookie teams for the 2020 season.

All-Rookie Team
Tyson Gibson, Riptide
Connor Fields, Seals
Joe Nardella, Black Wolves
Ryland Rees, Knighawks
Andrew Kew, Black Wolves
Clarke Petterson, Thunderbirds

All-League First Team
Shayne Jackson, Swarm
Challen Rogers, Rock
Callum Crawford, Black Wolves
Graeme Hossack, Thunderbirds
Doug Jamieson, Black Wolves
Kyle Rubisch, Rush

All-League Second Team
Rob Hellyer, Rock
Kiel Matisz, Wings
Cody Jamieson, Thunderbirds
Robert Hope, Mammoth
Dillon Ward, Mammoth
Dan MacRae, Riptide

Do you agree with the recipients of the 2020 NLL awards? Let us know in the comments or on social media.

Isaac Berky is a graduate of Adrian College and Syracuse University with degrees in Digital Media and Broadcast Journalism. Even though his playing career never took off, he's been able to cover the game on the collegiate level as a broadcaster, while also working around the sports industry before joining Pro Lacrosse Talk as a contributor.

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