OAKVILLE- The 2018 MSL Draft will be held in Oakville this Sunday, January 28th, 2018. The Oakville Rock will be front and centre with two picks in the first round (3rd and 5th) of the six-team, five round draft. It wasn't too long ago that the Rock, then in Ajax-Pickering were perennially picking first overall. Since the team has moved to Oakville, they have secured a number of top players and assets, which have helped the Rock become perennial contenders in the MSL.

 The team's GM Josh Sanderson took over the GM duties following the untimely passing of his father Terry, who was instrumental in the relocation to Oakville and laying the foundation to build the team. "I'm following the same plan my father had for this team, which was to build through the draft and get better. It's really easy to trade away good players, but we've tried to draft players we're comfortable with and players we trust. We've had a lot of success with the likes of Rob Hellyer and Wes Berg. A guy like Mitch De Snoo has been a staple for us on the back end for a few years now." said Sanderson.

The Rock have taken strides the past two seasons, going the distance in their First-Round playoff series against Peterborough in 2016 and Six Nations in 2017. Sanderson still feels like they can take the next step. "We've improved and certainly gotten better, but at the end of the day, we're in the same spot and that's watching the Ontario Final and Mann Cup from home. We want to compete for a Mann Cup every year, that's our goal!"

 That sentiment prompted Sanderson to pull off the biggest trade in team history this offseason, acquiring lefties Ryan Benesch and Johnny Powless from the Six Nations Chiefs. It did come with a price though, as the Rock were forced to give up youngsters Eric Fannell, Bryan Cole, Ryan Wagner and Ian McKay. "It's because of the draft that we were able to make this trade. All were Oakville draft picks and all got an opportunity to contribute and show what they had. They were a big part of our successes, but we needed to address scoring from our left side."

 It was even more important to address left side scoring as the team has placed forward and captain Stephan Leblanc on the suspended list due to work commitments. Rookie Andrew Kew, who was protected as part of the Burlington Chiefs Jr. A affiliation agreement will battle Connor Fields the team's third lefty this season. Other moves made this off-season saw lefty Dan Lomas traded to the Cobourg Kodiaks for defender Luc Magnan and a first-round pick, previously held by Six Nations.

 The Major Series Lacrosse Draft will take place in Oakville on Sunday, Jan 28th. The draft is not open to the public, but you can follow the Rock's twitter account at @oakvillerock or on the league twitter account @MajorSeriesLax