TORONTO -- High-scoring forward Mark Matthews of Oshawa, Ont., was drafted first overall by the Edmonton Rush as talent developed in Canada supplied all of the first-round National Lacrosse League picks for the third year in a row.
The Minnesota Swarm got the next three players Monday night: imposing defenceman Brock Sorensen of Peterborough, Ont., offensive force Kiel Matisz of Stoney Creek, Ont., and forward Shayne Jackson of Bowmanville, Ont.
The Buffalo Bandits had the fifth pick and chose forward Dhane Smith of Kitchener, Ont., and the Calgary Roughnecks used the sixth and seventh positions to get forwards Joe Resetarits of Hamburg, N.Y., and Matthew Dinsdale of Coquitlam, B.C.
Edmonton also had the eighth pick and took Matthews' Whitby junior teammate Curtis Knight, also a forward.
The Colorado Mammoth went for forward Colton Clark of Burnaby, B.C., and Minnesota closed out the first round when it called the name of defenceman Alex Crepinsek of Oakville, Ont.
Resetarits is the only American selected in the first round in the last three years. He honed his indoor skills playing junior in St. Catharines, Ont., and senior in Brampton, Ont.
The Toronto Rock had to wait until the second round for its first chance and selected defenceman Brad Kri of Acton, Ont.
If there ever was a time for lacrosse to thrive in Edmonton, it is now. GM-coach Derek Keenan's crew created a buzz last May by unexpectedly making it to the NLL final for the first time and they've now got a dynamic scorer in Matthews to lead the offence.
"We have to be realistic," said Keenan. "We were 6-10 last season.
"We had a great run at the end and were real close to winning it all but we need to have more consistent regular seasons. Mark is going to help us do that."
Matthews, six foot four and 210 pounds, played field lacrosse this summer in Denver where he was a U of D all-America NCAA star. The 22-year-old last played indoors in 2011 when he helped the Whitby Warriors win the Canadian junior championship. He amassed 87 points in 21 post-season games.
"It's not like he has to come in and score seven a night because we'll have a pretty good supporting cast around him," said Keenan. "I'm sure when you're the first overall pick and you're highly touted like he is there will be some pressure on him but he'll have good guys with him both from skills and leadership perspectives.
"He's not going to have the weight of the world on his shoulders and have to worry about carrying our franchise because we've got a good core as it is. That's the way we're approaching it. But he's going to help, for sure."
Being re-united with Keenan, Knight and Rush returnee John Lafontaine, another former Whitby teammate, appeals to Matthews, who has a left-handed shot.
"His systems fit our style," Matthews said of his past and future coach. "For the last couple of weeks it was pretty evident that Edmonton was going to take me and now that it's over it's nice to have that monkey off my back and we can start to focus on getting ready for the winter.
"I haven't played (indoors) for a while but I practised with the Warriors and Derek over the course of the summer a bit to get the rust off and work on the speed and agility I'll need in the NLL game."
Minnesota was the first team in NLL history to get three of the first four picks.
Sorensen, 23, missed the senior indoor season in Peterborough while rehabbing from anterior cruciate ligament surgery last May. Swarm head coach Joe Sullivan, an assistant coach during summers with the Mann Cup-champion Lakers, is well aware of the potential possessed by the 6-6, 220-pounder, who was field lacrosse captain at Ohio State. His older brother, Kyle, is a Washington Stealth defenceman.
"My rehab is right on schedule," said Sorensen. "I'm expecting to be ready for late November, which is great."
He's eager to join Lakers buddy and Swarm captain Andrew Suitor in the Xcel Energy Center.
"Their youth speaks to why they were so successful last year," he said. "They transition the ball very well. They run and they run. Andrew is a good friend of mine and I'm looking forward to this."
Matisz, 6-5 and 220, has two summers of senior indoor play under his belt with the Brooklin Redmen. In junior, the 23-year-old was 2010 OLA scoring champion with Burlington. Like Matthews and Sorensen, Matisz, who attended Robert Morris University in Pennsylvania, also was an NCAA field player.
"Since I was eight years old, I wanted to go play collegiate lacrosse and I did that and now that I'm here and it's done I'm pretty happy about it," he said. "I couldn't be happier to go to the Minnesota Swarm. I can't wait to contribute."
Jackson was with the Langley, B.C., senior team this summer after playing on the Minto Cup championship team in Whitby with Matthews and Knight. He also placed NCAA field ball at Limestone College. He's smaller than the first three players selected but excels at setting picks for teammates.
Jackson was asked what the lure was to join a league offering a first-year pro salary of no more than $9,000.
"I don't play the game for money at all," he replied. "It's been a dream of mine to play in this league since I was little. I've never thought about the money. I'm just going to keep playing lacrosse like I have since I was 10 years old."
Dhane Smith, who just turned 20, was overjoyed to be picked by Buffalo. His cousin, Billy Dee Smith, is a Bandits veteran.
"I can't wait to be there and to get into camp," Smith said. "I'll try my hardest."
Resetaritis, who played field with the Hamilton Nationals this summer as well as with the indoor Excelsiors, was considered the most pro-ready prospect available so should be able to step right into the Calgary lineup.
"To be taken in the first round is something special, something I'll always remember," he said. "Coming to Ontario to play helped me develop as a player. Living close to the border helped. Winning the Mann Cup my first year with Brampton, playing alongside my brother (Frank Resetarits) was amazing. I learned a lot from Dan Dawson. I'm thrilled I've been able to play most of my life in Canada."
Dinsdale led the B.C. junior league in scoring this year playing for his home-town Coquitlam team.
Knight is much smaller at 5-9 than Matthews but his leadership traits are outstanding. Knight was MVP of the 2011 Minto Cup tournament.
Kri, the first Rock pick, was on the Orangeville junior team that won the Canadian junior championship this year. The head coach was Rock assistant coach Matt Sawyer. Kri, 20, has been a Rock fan since birth.
"I grew up on the other side of the window (in Air Canada Centre) and now that I'm going to be on the other side it's awesome," said Kri.