Veltman, Watson Rock on

RYAN WOLSTAT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:14 AM ET

Fittingly, two players that have become synonomous with the Toronto Rock over the years once again have been named as the club's franchise players.

Captain Jim Veltman and goaltender Bob Watson, each winners of five championships with the Rock, were "franchised" for the fourth year in a row and will now receive the National Lacrosse League's maximum salary, plus an additional 20%, instead of becoming unrestricted free agents.

The 40-year-old Veltman has compiled 375 points in 115 regular-season games with the Rock and is the all-time professional lacrosse leader in loose balls.

Watson, 36, is regarded as the NLL's best big-game netminder and was named the top goalie in Major Series Lacrosse this summer after posting a 6-3 record and an 8.44 goals-against average for the Brampton Excelsiors.

Watson compiled an 8-8 mark with the Rock last season, a year after an 11-4 campaign.

NLL teams can designate only up to two franchise players.

Rock director of lacrosse operations Mike Kloepfer said he also is in negotiations with veterans Dan Ladouceur, Chris Driscoll and Matt Shearer, all of whom are scheduled to become unrestricted when the league's free agency season opens tomorrow.

Each of the three players are expected to return because they have day jobs that require them to be close to Toronto.

Kloepfer also admitted the Rock has interest in a number of free agents, particularly quick defensive or transition players.

"We'll be aggressively pursuing guys (tomorrow)," he said.

"It's always nice to add defence (because) the league is getting faster in transition."

Kloepfer also said he has called and congratulated star Rock forward Colin Doyle on his recent victory with Team Canada at the world lacrosse championship. It was Canada's first world title since 1978.


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