The Spinners announced today that they have re-signed four veteran members of the team’s 2016 MLU Championship winning roster for the upcoming 2017 season.
About a week after announcing that they have hired Charlie Hoppes to be the team’s new head coach, the Spinners announced their first re-signings for the 2017 MLU Season. Veterans Dave Baer, Gabe Colton, Himalaya Mehta and Billy Sickles will all be back with the Spinners this season.
Dave Baer (Photo by Kevin Leclaire – Ultiphotos.com)
Baer, a 5-foot-9 handler out of Shippensburg University has been a fixture with the Spinners since the team’s founding. 2017 will be Baer’s fifth season in the MLU.
“Dave Baer is one of those core guys who has been with the Spinners from the beginning,” said Hoppes. “It’s great as a coach to have Dave because I can use him on offense or defense, he can be a steadying presence or a bomber, and is tremendous in terms of buying into a plan and getting others bought in too.”
Baer, a very effective handler, currently ranks third in league history for both throws (1025) and catches (874) and holds a career completion percentage of 92.3%.
While Hoppes lauded Baer’s ability to play on both sides of the disc, the new coach knows exactly how he can use his other re-signed handler best.
Gabe Colton (Photo by Sandy Canetti – Ultiphotos.com)
Colton, a 5-foot-8 speedster out of Brandeis was one of the most effective defensive handlers in the league last season and a major part of why the Spinners allowed a conference lowest 16.1 goals per game last year.
“One of the most underrated players on that vicious Spinners D-line last year was Gabe,” said Hoppes. “He has game-changing speed and quickness, elite footwork, and the ability to punish opponents on the turn. He is a key player for our defensive line this year, especially with the tactical changes we hope to make.”
Colton, now entering his fourth season with the team, will be an anchor on the Spinners D-line, and will be relied upon to help his team convert after the turn.
An early front-runner for the 2016 Breakout Player of the Year Award, Mehta lost several weeks of his season to a broken bone in his hand, returning just in time for the MLU Championship. Returning for his fourth season with the team, the long and athletic Mehta instantly stretches the Spinners offense.
“Himalaya is the hardest working player I’ve ever been around,” said Hoppes. “He never stops running, plays elite level defense and has turned himself into a top-notch cutter as well. I feel like he’s been around the Philly scene forever, but he’s still so young. I expect him to take another major leap forward in 2017 and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for all of us.”
Putting up 15 goals and 8 assists in seven regular season games, the 6-foot cutter out of the University of Pennsylvania’s athleticism and speed made Mehta a trusted and respected deep threat for Philadelphia
Billy Sickles (Photo by Paul Andris – Ultiphotos.com)
Last, but certainly not least, Spinners fans will be happy to see Sickles return to action for the team in 2017, as he has become one of the most impressive young players in ultimate. Coming off a Eastern Conference Rookie of the Year Award in 2015, Sickles lead the conference in scoring last season and brought home the Eastern Conference MVP Award on the road to the MLU Championship.
“What can’t you say about Billy Sickles? He won the MVP last year and is only getting better,” said Hoppes. “Billy has the ability to play any position and guard nearly anyone in the league. Of the younger players in the sport today, it would be hard to find someone better than Billy Sickles to lock in as a cornerstone.”
Entering his third year in the league, stopping the 6-foot-1 hybrid out of St. Joesph’s University will be a significant piece for any opposing coach’s gameplan.