By Ty Merrow
he 2017 NLL World Champion Georgia Swarm today announced that the team has re-signed forward Lyle Thompson (Onondaga Nation) to a four-year contract. The contract locks up the reigning NLL MVP through the 2020-21 season.
“In only his second season in the league, Lyle won the league MVP award and established himself as one of the most complete players in the NLL,” Swarm Owner and General Manager John Arlotta said. “His ability to score and create offensive opportunities for others made him the league leader in points last season. With that said, it is his hustle and work ethic that makes him so unique. When the MVP of the league is also your hardest worker on and off the floor, it has a tremendous positive impact on the entire organization.”
“I’m excited about it, coming off a good season as a team and personally,” Lyle said. “I think the future is bright for the Swarm, and I’m excited for it. The relationship with my teammates, my coaches, the owners and everyone in the Swarm organization, all have played a key role in my success. Comfort goes a long way, and confidence as well. I think those are two things that have really helped me grow as a player and as a person.”
Lyle led the league in points with 116 in 2017 and captured the NLL Scoring Title. His 45 goals and 71 assists were both new career highs, and his 116 points shattered the Swarm’s previous record of 95 for a single season. In addition to scoring the game-winning goal four times in the regular season, the Onondaga Nation, N.Y., native ranked second on the team with 126 loose balls, caused 15 turnovers and also went 21-for-44 in the faceoff circle. Lyle turned in four games with 10 points or more, including a 6-goal outburst on Feb. 19 during a home win vs. Rochester. Against the Colorado Mammoth on April 1, he set a career-high with 11 points (4G, 7A) to help Georgia emerge on top 21-13.
The University of Albany alum’s successes continued into the postseason as he was named the Champion’s Cup MVP. In the Swarm’s four-game postseason sweep, Lyle scored 21 points (6G, 15A). He saved his best for last during Game 2 on the road against the two-time defending champion Saskatchewan Rush. Lyle was integral in getting the ball back in the final play of regulation so Georgia could tie it up. In overtime, his drawing of two defenders allowed him to assist his older brother Miles Thompson on the game-winner and earn the Swarm their first-ever Champion’s Cup.
Lyle averaged 2.5 GF/GAME and 3.9 AF/GAME during the regular season. His 45 goals were tied for third in the league; his 71 assists good for second. His 126 loose balls led the Top 24 scorers, and his 21 faceoff wins was the best amongst the Top 54 scorers.
In addition to being integral in helping the Swarm win their first-ever Champion’s Cup, Lyle also scored the 259th team goal of the season for Georgia, breaking the previous record of 258 held by the 2002 Rochester Knighthawks. Georgia finished with 266 goals on the season.
Drafted No. 1 overall in the 2015 NLL Draft, Lyle turned in a solid rookie campaign along with fellow standout rookies Randy Staats, Jesse King and Chad Tutton. The 6-foot, 180-pound righty finished his first year in the NLL with 60 points (27G, 33A), 81 loose balls, 12 caused turnovers, and went 18-for-33 in faceoff opportunities. He was named to the 2016 All-Rookie Team.
In his two years in the NLL, the 25-year-old has played in 36 regular season games and recorded 176 points (72G, 104A), 207 loose balls, and caused 27 turnovers. In five postseason games, Lyle has 27 points (10G, 17A), 28 loose balls, and caused six turnovers.