Berger Headed Back to Lizards; Briggs to Boston
Six-time Major League Lacrosse All-Star Stephen Berger is headed back to the Lizards organization. The Charlotte Hounds traded Berger to New York for midfielder Colin Briggs, attackman Ryan Young and a third-round draft pick in the 2014 MLL collegiate draft, the Lizards confirmed Friday.
The Hounds then sent Briggs to the Boston Cannons for a second-round pick in the 2014 MLL collegiate draft in Part II of Friday's deal.
Berger, playing with expansion Charlotte, was named MVP of last year's All-Star Game. He played his first seven years with the Lizards, who have since undergone an ownership change and also traded away long-time Lizards like Nicky Polanco and Brian Spallina.
The trade gives New York a projected starting lineup that includes Berger, Max Seibald and Stephen Peyser in the midfield and Mark Matthews, Matt Gibson and Rob Pannell on attack. The Lizards swung a deal with Denver to acquire Matthews on draft night this year and the organization still owns the rights to Pannell after drafting him first overall in 2012, before Pannell suffered a season-ending foot injury with Cornell. He's back with the Big Red this spring.
"I'm excited," Berger said. "It was great playing for an expansion team, but coming back to play for a team I was part of for so many years is a really exciting opportunity. As a player, the Lizards were my home. And now, as a veteran player, coming back to play with the team and players I played with for so many years is great, it's like playing with family."
Said Lizards coach Joe Spallina: "Our goal is to win a championship, adding a player of Stephen Berger's quality as well as his big game experience, we believe gets us a lot closer to that. He is a proven all-star, great teammate and our fans love him. This is a big time acquisition for our organization on and off the field."
The Lizards this offseason rebranded from the Long Island Lizards to New York Lizards and announced the will play a pair of games at Randall's Island in New York City.
For the Hounds, Matt Danowski is the most proven offensive weapon. Young, acquired in the trade Friday, has played 19 games with the Lizards over the past two seasons, tallying 17 goals and seven assists for a total of 24 points. He will add needed depth to a Hounds attack unit currently featuring Danowski, Eric Lusby and Shayne Jackson.
"While we are going to miss Stephen Berger's experience, we are excited to add a dynamic young player in Ryan Young and two top-25 draft picks for the 2014 MLL Draft," Hounds coach Mike Cerino said in a press release.