The Island Storm is one step closer to setting its opening night roster.
The team made two moves on Sunday releasing small forward Denzel Jackson and power forward Dwayne Smith. The latter decided to leave the team to play in Mexico, a surprised head coach Joe Salerno said.
"We let Dwayne out of his contract to pursue that," Salerno said Sunday night, but
"We did not want to see Dwayne go."
The Storm was planning on keeping the power forward as one of its four required Canadians. It doesn't have a Canadian to replace him at the position, so it is looking at a variety of possibilities with 13 players in camp fighting for 12 spots.
"It really has a domino effect," Salerno said. "It was a pretty big blow."
Smith played for the Storm in 2013-14 and was traded to Moncton before the start of the 2014-15 season. The Storm re-acquired his rights at this year's draft.
The team is still carrying five Canadians and Salerno said they could all make the opening-night roster.
The Storm gets its final exhibition game in Monday at 7 p.m. in Moncton against the Miracles.
It is a chance for players to solidify their spot, grab a role, but also for the team to keep improving heading into the first game of the season on Boxing Day.
Salerno said he would like to see improved defence Monday as the team hopes to keep teams to around 96 points this season. He'd also like to see the offence be crisper and sharper than the first exhibition game Friday in Sydney, N.S.
The team is hoping to get point guard Gary Gibson into the lineup Monday for his first action of the preseason as he recovers from an ankle injury.
The Storm will place Smith on its inactive roster and retain his rights if he decides to come back to the league.