When the heart and soul of the Roughnecks, Dane Dobbie signed with the San Diego Seals in the off season, many thought this team was in trouble in the upcoming season. Losing Holden Cattoni, Jeff Shattler, as well as Rhys Duch in recent years as well, and you could see where the word “Rebuild” came into the conversation. The Roughnecks had other things in mind.
Curtis “Superman” Dickson was named the new Calgary captain after Dobbie left, and would be the primary focal point of the offense. Dickson’s resume in the last ten years being a Roughneck was 416 goals, 347 assists, plus 558 loose balls. This season Dickson has added 36 goals, 38 assists with 53 loose balls.
Adding to the offense is Jesse King, Tyler Pace, Dan Taylor, Tanner Cook, as well as Zach Herreweyers, who have all added to the scoring punch, making this a dangerous team that is peaking at the right time.
Calgary’s defense has experienced a similar string of high-profile player departures in recent years. Dan MacRae, Scott and Mike Carnegie, Jon Harnett, Tyson Bell, as well as Chad Cummings and Anthony Kalinich are all gone. You see that a change of guard was inevitable.
Joining Tyler Burton as elder statesmen on the defensive unit were Greg Harnett and Mitch Wilde. Behind them was a large core of younger players. Transition wizard Zach Currier, Reece Callies, Shane Simpson, and Eli Salama were the core. Along with Liam LeClair, Reece Callies, and rookies Ethan Ticehurst, and Harrison Matsuoka, the Roughnecks defense/transition became much quicker, and more agile, giving them more weapons to battle their opponents.
Christian Del Bianco, who has been nothing short of spectacular since his arrival in the league a few years ago, has been the steady rock in net all season long. With Del Bianco in net, every game is winnable, and at times, his ability alone has stolen a few for the Riggers.
Although Calgary started well, an injury to captain Curtis Dickson set them back a bit. Around mid-season I had picked them to finish third in the division, which is where they presently sit. A strong second half, helped propel them to the upper echelon of the division, competing with Colorado, and San Diego for the division title.
Division Still Not Determined:
The Roughnecks take on the Colorado Mammoth this Saturday, April 30th at 7pm at the Scotiabank Saddledome, in a match-up that will determine whether the Riggers will receive home turf advantage in round one of the National Lacrosse League playoffs. With a win, the Roughnecks will play a single-elimination quarter final game the weekend beginning May 6th in Calgary on WestJet Field, against West Division rivals San Diego Seals or Colorado Mammoth.
With A Little Help:
The Roughnecks are also in the mix for the NLL West Divisional Title with a win over Colorado and San Diego loss to the Vancouver Warriors on the final weekend of regular season play.
A number of races in either division will go right down to the wire, with every game meaning something somewhere. As I have said all season, this speaks volumes of the parity of the league. Giving us, the fans, some of the most intriguing and exciting games anywhere.
Gary Groob has been involved with Lacrosse for the majority of his life, whether playing, coaching, or covering the sport for the media.
An avid fan, with a real drive about helping to “grow the game”, Gary became part of podcasts about the game 10 years ago. Through the podcasts, he made an association with Kevin Neibauer of Lax Philly, who convinced him to come on board and write for them. The rest they say is history.
Through many miles (flying and driving) Gary has made inroads with the National Lacrosse League, Major Series Lacrosse League, the Ontario Lacrosse Association, as well as the Arena Lacrosse League, covering the leagues, their teams, and players, working for, and in concert with all of them.
In the year 2020, Mr. Groob was made the media person for the Arena Lacrosse League, voted onto the board of directors of the Brampton Excelsiors Lacrosse Club, as well as being made administrator of the Lacrosse page “Global Lacrosse” with a membership of 9000 members in over 90 Countries.
Mr. Groob co-hosts a weekly Lacrosse show on Spanglish Sports World, and ZingoTV channel 250, as well as writes a weekly lacrosse column for La Portada Canada News (both in print, and online).
Mr. Groob’s other sports interests include Hockey, Football, Boxing, Wrestling, and Baseball, competing competitively in Boxing and Wrestling for many years.