Vancouver Sun


- By Gord Kurenoff


Assistant captain Rhys Duch, pictured, the Stealth’s human highlight reel from Victoria, says last season’s 4-14 record remains a “touchy topic,” but insists the new-look Stealth addressed its many weaknesses during the off-season and should win back the fans who only support winners. “We’re not the Cubs who never win the World Series but still sell out. We need to win to fill our arena,” said the star forward. “We’re ready to prove last year was an anomaly. We’re bigger, faster, hungrier, more skilled. Teams are going to hurt playing against us. I’m determined to not allow a repeat of last season.”


Coquitlam’s Tyler Garrison, pictured right, wasn’t parroting the “no big deal” line some tepid teammates were chirping when asked about TSN broadcasti­ng five Stealth games this season, including tonight’s NLL season-opener in Calgary (TSN, 6 p.m.) and next week’s homeopener in Langley (TSN2, 7:30 p.m.). “I’ll be honest, being on national TV is pretty cool. It feels like a pro sport when you’re playing on live TV. Our games with Calgary are always fun.” The Stealth’s other TSN games are Feb. 21 (in Calgary), April 4 (Edmonton) and April 18 (Rochester).


He was The Man playing for the Calgary Roughnecks, winning two Champions Cups and appearing regularly on Cowtown TV and radio. He finished his NLL career in 2012 with 346 goals and 723 points. Now, Kaleb Toth, pictured right, is in charge of coaching the Stealth’s offence. “You could say I’m cheering for Calgary to lose (tonight),” said Toth, who last year scouted for the Roughnecks before accepting the Stealth job. “It’s always exciting going back. It’s like a second home for me. I hope they do well this season, just not against us.”


He’s only 21, but has three Champions Cup rings and was a finalist for the 2014 Lou Marsh Award, recognizin­g Canada’s top athlete. Johnny Powless of Six Nations, Ont., pictured right, was acquired in a mid-October trade from the champion Rochester Knighthawk­s, has also won two Mann Cups, a Minto Cup and NLL’s Most Sportsmanl­ike Player Award. “Johnny is one of the best players in the NLL,” said GM Doug Locker, after negotiatin­g a two-year deal with the star forward. “He’s got rock star status on the reserve. Quiet guy who’s a team-first star.”


He helped select the Bombshells this summer as a guest cheerleadi­ng judge, and learned to like their dance song Bang Bang, but Dan Perreault admits it’s been all work since. Promoted from assistant coach to top dog, Perreault has been busy trying to put his stamp on the Stealth following a trying 4-14 season. “We all want a bounce-back season. We all have a lot to prove. There is some extra pressure to win this year and make the playoffs. The league is so tight that sometimes a lucky bounce will mean the difference between winning or losing. Last year we didn’t get those lucky bounces.”

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