5 REASONS TO CHEER
Here’s what you need to know as the Saskatchewan Rush prepare for the upcoming National Lacrosse League season, writes Kevin Mitchell
1. Back From Toronto
The Rush held their first training-camp session last weekend in Toronto, staging workouts and playing the Toronto Rock to a 1212 scrimmage tie. The Rock led 10-4 at halftime, but Saskatchewan chipped away in the second half and eventually salvaged the draw. “There wasn’t as much rust as I thought there would be,” Saskatchewan head coach and general manager Derek Keenan said this week. “We had a lot of new bodies on the defensive side, and some breakdowns in the first half against Toronto, then played a lot harder and better in the second half. Overall, a really good weekend. The guys worked hard, and everybody’s fit.”
2. Fresh Face
The Rush swung a trade earlier this week, acquiring veteran defender Travis Cornwall from the Vancouver Warriors (previously the Vancouver Stealth) in exchange for a second-round draft pick in 2020. Cornwall is the brother of Rush defender/ transition Jeff Cornwall, who is taking this season off after landing a job with the Burnaby Fire Department. Travis Cornwall, originally drafted by Calgary in 2011, collected four goals, four assists and 32 loose-ball scoops while causing nine turnovers last season for Vancouver.
The Rush announced a flurry of signings over the last several days, inking forward Marty Dinsdale to a three-year pact on Friday, signing Jeremy Thompson and backup goaltender Tyler Carlson to one-year deals on Thursday, and before that, signing Ryan Keenan, Matt Hossack and league MVP Mark Matthews to three-year deals. Nick Finlay signed for one year. Robert Church, Mike Messenger and Nik Bilic remain unsigned.
Saskatchewan finished first overall in the NLL last season with a 14-4 record, while Calgary was third in the West Division with an 8-10 mark. The Rush beat the Roughnecks 15-13 to claim the West Division crown. Saskatchewan then beat Rochester in the best-of-three final.
The Rush get a bye during the NLL’s first two weekends, which means their first game isn’t until Dec. 28, when they travel to New England to play the Black Wolves. Their home opener is Jan. 5 against the expansion San Diego Seals.