California Redwoods re-sign Rob Pannell through 2024
By Jerome Taylor | Feb 7, 2024
The question had been circulating in lacrosse media all year. After the Redwoods' semifinal loss to the Archers, Pannell addressed the question one final time before heading into the offseason.
“I’m not wearing any other jersey,” Pannell said in the post-game press conference. “If I’m not being signed by the Redwoods. I’m not interested in going into a different locker room, being around a different group of guys… I love this locker room, I love the leaders from the top down… If I’m coming back, I’m coming back to play with them and compete with them.”
Well, Pannell decided whether he’s coming back, as he and the Redwoods agreed that the veteran X-attackman would return for at least one more season, signing him through 2024.
“Rob’s one of the best to ever do it. I’ve loved working with him over the years. He was unanimously selected as a captain by his peers, which spoke volumes of his leadership and his role with us as we continue to work to try and win this championship. He’s a guy I’ve got complete trust in to continue to lead our team on that side of the ball,” Redwoods Head Coach and GM Nat St. Laurent said.
“[St. Laurent] traded for me, he believed in me when maybe I wasn’t wanted at a certain time in my career and took me in. It’s something I’ll never forget,” Pannell later said in that press conference. “As long as he’s the coach of the Redwoods, that’s where I want to be.”
Pannell figures to be the start of a series of re-signings for the ‘Woods, as there are 16 players with contracts expiring in March 2024. The bulk of that group, which includes Ryder Garnsey, Garrett Epple, and Jack Kelly, should be back in the green and yellow come summer.
But expecting all of those players to return is unrealistic for a team that didn’t win the championship and spent a good portion of 2023 trying to get more output from their midfield, which ultimately resulted in the midseason Myles Jones for Romar Dennis (who’s contract is also up in March) trade.
“We’ve lost to the Archers two years in a row in the playoffs, and obviously, bringing back the same exact team in this league is not realistic,” St. Laurent said. “There’s always going to be changes. We took a step forward this year but fell short, so now we’ve got to find the right group to try and win this year.”
Not to mention the belle of the 2024 free-agent ball: Jeff Teat.
When a player like Teat’s service becomes available, every GM in the league whips out their phone like they’re in an old western and worries about the fit later.
In any event, whatever the roster is when summer comes around, Pannell will once again be leading the California Redwoods’ offensive unit, and that’s something St. Laurent, the rest of the Redwoods, and, ‘Woods’ fans are happy about.