This year’s Bandits squad features plenty of new faces as first-year general manager and former Bandit goalie, Steve Dietrich, has brought in some fresh talent to help improve on last year’s 7-9 campaign that ended with a first round playoff loss to Toronto.
The biggest of Dietrich’s offseason acquisitions is veteran Shawn Williams who returns for his second stint in Banditland. Williams played two seasons in Buffalo (2000-01) before being traded to Rochester, where he spent 10 seasons with the rival Knighthawks. He played with Edmonton last season and helped the Rush make it to the NLL Champions Cup final. Other veteran newcomers include forwards Mike Hominuck, Jamie Rooney and Aaron Wilson, transition players David Brock and Nick Cotter and defensemen Glen Bryan and Derek Suddons.
Buffalo also has a promising crop of rookie players led by first round draft pick (fifth overall), Dhane Smith. The 6’ 3”, 195-pound native of Kitchener, Ontario is the cousin of Bandits defenseman Billy Dee Smith and made an impact on his first day of camp by scoring twice during a scrimmage. Three other rookies that have a chance to make the final roster are Carter Bender, Jordan Critch and Hayden Smith. All three were selected in the second round of this year’s draft.
Mark Steenhuis and Scott Self were both at camp but did not participate due to injury. Both players recently had procedures done but are expected to be back in a few weeks. Luke Wiles and Billy Dee Smith were absent because of on-going contract negotiations. Dietrich declined to comment on the status of either player.
Members of the Bandits organization met the media following Saturday's afternoon session:
Bandits GM Steve Dietrich
Head coach Darris Kilgour