Boston Cannons Bolster Team for 2018 with New Additions On and Off the Field as the Organization Sets Sights on a Championship Season
New Vice President of Operations and key Player Movement signing headline a busy offseason of impact moves for the Cannons heading into next season
BOSTON, MA – The Boston Cannons of Major League Lacrosse, announced a series of key acquisitions to strengthen its business operations and on-field product as the team prepares for the 2018 season. The offseason moves are highlighted by the hiring of Mark Drago as Vice President of Operations and Strategy, along with the signing of MLL All-Star midfielder Kyle Denhoff.
A well-respected leader in the sports and entertainment industry in the greater Boston area and native of Melrose, MA, Drago joins the Cannons to help enhance the game experience and grow the team’s brand in the community. As the former Executive Director of Film and Entertainment for the State of Massachusetts, Drago spearheaded the passing of the first-ever film tax incentive in Massachusetts. In that role, he paved the way for a multitude of films to be filmed in Massachusetts, including The Departed, Gone Baby Gone and Fever Pitch. On Beacon Hill, Mark has also served as a trusted assistant to three Massachusetts Governors and cultivated relationships with top local, state and federal officials.
“In the events business, where success is almost always determined by the quality of relationships with clients, Mark brings more than two decades of experience and connections to the Cannons,” said Ian Frenette, President of the Boston Cannons. “Especially in Boston, where Mark has deep roots, he is a perfect fit to help take our organization to the next level. His presence will have significant impact in growing our fan base with new events, experiences and engagements for fans.”
For more than 20 years working through the Governor’s office, Drago has had an active role in supporting monumental sports and entertainment events, such as World Cup Soccer, Sail Boston, The Ryder Cup, Deutsche Bank Championship, Major League Baseball All-Star Game, NHL All Star Game, and the 1998 Presidential Inauguration. In 2004, he was appointed as President of the Massachusetts Sports Partnership (Commission), where he used his political acumen to collaborate with diverse group of constituents and grow the commission’s state budget. Prior to joining the Massachusetts Sports and Entertainment Commission, Drago has held leadership roles in Massachusetts including handling International Marketing for the Massachusetts Port Authority. In his new role, he looks forward to working with Boston area businesses, charities and fans to continue the Cannons growth in the lacrosse community and beyond.
“It is an honor to join the Boston Cannons organization and help further its mission to bring many Major League Lacrosse championships back to Boston,” said Drago. “Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S. and has been embraced by Boston sports fans. I’m looking forward to getting started and taking the Cannons to new heights.”
On the field, the Cannons have made major moves in the offseason highlighted by the signing of MLL All-Star midfielder Kyle Denhoff from the MLL Player Movement. A two-time All-Star and resident of Boston, Denhoff arrives after playing the first 5 years of his career with the Rochester Rattlers. Denhoff’s signing complements the core group of returning Cannons players including recently re-signed leading goal-scorer Davey Emala and Captain Justin Turri. The trio will join goalie Tyler Fiorito, defenseman Mitch Belisle, and face-off Specialist Joe Nardella who are all back for the 2018 season as well.
“We have an extremely talented and committed group of core players heading into next season with a single goal for 2018, to bring the Steinfeld Trophy back to Boston,” Frenette continued. “We are excited to see the group mesh together with the addition of Kyle and our developing young players. We are building a team that brings a lot of toughness to the field and will play hard for Coach Quirk.”
The Cannons will continue to build their roster this offseason through player signings and the 2018 MLL Supplemental draft on December 8, where the Cannons will have the first overall pick. The Cannons will have the opportunity to strengthen its roster further with the first overall pick in the 2018 MLL Collegiate Draft in the spring, adding another top young talent to the roster.
“Our front office staff is hard at work to build a team that puts us in a position to bring a second MLL Championship to Boston,” said Cannons Head Coach Sean Quirk. “I love the continuity with so many returning players and think that the new additions will fit well into our system. Toughness is going to define our play in 2018 and I think we’re heading toward an exciting season with this group coming together.”
The Cannons will once again call Harvard Stadium home in 2018, with new and improved features to enhance the fan experience. The Cannons anticipate several key announcements in the coming weeks that will have a significant positive impact on and off the field for Cannons fans and the lacrosse community.