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Written by POL NIKULIN   
Wednesday, 16 March 2011 18:17

Local lacrosse team ready to play home game after lengthy road-trip

Seven weeks since their last game in Calgary, the Roughnecks come home to play the visiting Edmonton Rush on Saturday night.

The game comes at an uncertain time in the Roughnecks’ organization, as the team's finances have taken over the story of their season.

“There is always uncertainty. That being said, everybody believes in this organization. They believe in Brad (Bannister) as an owner and a general manager. He is going to do what is best for the organization, and this group of young men,” said transition player Geoff Snider.

On February 22, Bannister asked the city – fans, corporations and city officials – to support the team that has been in Calgary for the past 10 years.

Calgary Roughnecks goaltender Mike Poulin makes a save during the Jan. 29 game against the Edmonton Rush. It was the most recent home game for the Roughnecks.
Pol Nikulin/Calgary Journal

Assistant captain Kaleb Toth – who has been a Roughneck since the team's inaugural season and is a born and raised Calgarian – is hoping to see some new faces at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday night.

“I think a lot of Calgarians haven’t watched a lacrosse game. There are still some people out there who don’t know what lacrosse is about,” Toth said. “It is one of those things where as soon as you watch a game, you fall in love with it.”

If there were ever a time for the city of Calgary to step up and help the franchise, it would be now. The Roughnecks are in financial trouble and the upcoming three-game homestand could go a long way in securing a team for next year, Toth said.

“I know that the city is really behind what we are doing here,” Snider said. “I think our ticket sales for the weekend are going well, and we are looking to have a huge supporting crowd at the Saddledome on Saturday night.

“It will be a good homecoming for us.”

The Roughnecks are sitting in first place in the West division, two wins ahead of the Minnesota Swarm. The recent roadtrip, in which the team went 3-1, has the players excited to come back and play for the home crowd.

“Everyone is excited to get back home to play in the Saddledome again, and hopefully play in front of the biggest crowd we have had all year,” Toth said. “We are hoping we can get at least get 15,000 fans out, and we are hoping that the people in the city come out and support us.

“We are looking forward to it, we are getting anxious to play in front of our fans again.”

The city is getting behind the team as well, as the Okotoks Raiders Junior A lacrosse team is challenging fans to buy tickets for the upcoming games.

Dennis Shute, vice president of the Raiders said, “Our contribution was to purchase 250 tickets, and we are challenging the others to step up and help out – if that is ticket purchases, public support initiatives and corporate campaigning. We aren’t concerned. We just want everyone in the Calgary area lacrosse community to keep our team here.”

The Raiders have had a close relationship with the Roughnecks for the past three years. Roughnecks captain Andrew McBride, forward Mark Scherman, and defenceman Bruce Codd coach the Raiders team.

The Roughnecks are looking forward to the homestand so they can show Calgary why they are the number one team in the West.

“It is something that we've earned as a group. We have a group of guys who are buying into being teammates, everyone is coming together as a unit,” added Snider.

“We've scratched and clawed for that spot, we have earned it.”

The game is happening at the Scotiabank Saddledome on March 19, at 7:30 p.m. For tickets visit