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Long Island Lizards will reshape after trading Danowski, Berger for top draft picks

Monday, 12th December 2011

Categories Boy's/Men's, Pro, Posted 12/12/11
From Press Release

Major League Lacrosse (MLL) held its 2012 Expansion Draft on Wednesday which brought forth not only major roster changes throughout the league, but a blockbuster trade between the new Charlotte Hounds and the Long Island Lizard.

During the draft, MLL announced the Charlotte Hounds would acquire Lizards’ attack and midfield staples, Matt Danowski and Stephen Berger, as well as two draft picks in exchange for the No. 1 MLL Collegiate Draft pick. Additionally, the Hounds would surrender MLL All-Star and former Boston Cannons attackman Max Quinzani, who was drafted by Charlotte in the second round (4th overall selection) of Wednesday’s Expansion Draft.

“We’ve always had Matt Danowski and Stephen Berger as two of our main guys on this team,” said Long Island Lizards General Manager Casey Hilpert. “They’ve both been tremendous teammates and great for this organization so it was a very difficult decision for us to make. It’s tough to lose staples in your offense, but at the same time, we feel that we now have a few pieces that will help us win next season.”

The few pieces Hilpert refers to include Quinzani and the coveted No. 1 selection in the 2012 MLL Collegiate Draft that will take place on January 13, 2012 in Philadelphia, PA. The Lizards have not yet announced which current collegiate star tops their list, but they do say the team is looking to fill the undeniable void in their attack left by Matt Danowski.

“It’s one of those situations where we have one pick in mind that will make the most sense for our organization,” Hilpert said. “That was our intention when we made the trade. We are going to sit down and analyze the situation to make sure it’s right for us, but we’re looking for someone who is going to be a staple in our attack and a face for our organization for many years to come.”

The two NCAA collegiate players topping everyone’s lists are nationally renowned attackmen Rob Pannell of Cornell and Steele Stanwick of the University of Virginia. Pannell happens to hail from Long Island, and would fit the mold for the rebuilding Lizards organization.

The Charlotte Hounds received two of the biggest names in Major League Lacrosse in Wednesday’s trade. As a new team starting from scratch, the Hounds noted the importance of having athletes ready to play at the professional level by April 28 when the 2012 MLL season begins.

“We decided to make a move that would provide us with MLL-ready players for training camp at the start of the season in exchange for a MLL Collegiate Draft pick that could potentially be a big game changer for the League,” said Hounds Director of Sales and Marketing, Wade Leaphart. “Danowski’s ties to the area with his father coaching at Duke University, combined with Berger’s interest in wanting to come down this way also led us to make the decision.”

Several other trades came to fruition during Wednesday’s draft. Dan Burns was the 1st overall selection, drafted by the Rochester Rattlers, and was traded back to Hamilton (along with Rochester’s 2nd and 3rd round picks in next week’s MLL Supplemental Draft) for Kevin Leveille and Hamilton’s 2nd round pick in the Supplemental Draft.

In the third and final trade, the Ohio Machine sent Brian Spallina and their 26th overall selection in the 2012 MLL Collegiate Draft to the Chesapeake Bayhawks for the 21st overall selection in the 2012 MLL Collegiate Draft.

Next up is the 2012 MLL Supplemental Draft, which will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011. MLL will host a live blog on its website at


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