The long wait is finally over – the Calgary Roughnecks 2014 NLL season is almost here.
On Friday night, they’ll play a visit to the new-look Toronto Rock, a former nemesis who had the Riggers number last season.
“We are really excited to get going,” said captain Andrew McBride.
The matchup pits the top team in each division from last season, however the Rock have undergone one serious change since last May. Toronto management decided to part ways with then-head coach Troy Cordingley, and have since named John Lovell as the main man behind the bench.
Last season, the Riggers lost both game to the Rock, dropping the season opener 13-11, and following it up with a 17-12 setback in February in Toronto.
“It’s a big challenge for us to head into Toronto but we hope to put our best foot forward and compete hard in there,” said head coach Curt Malawsky.
As for the rosters, both teams featured little changeover in the off-season. The Roughnecks will be without the services of Scott Ranger who is on the Physically Unable to Perform list. The Rock saw the retirement of Blaine Manning and Cam Woods, a pair of longtime fixtures with the organization.
“Every game in this league is going to be competitive so it’s going to come down to working hard and the ability to focus on the task at hand,” McBride said. “In our league, we have other jobs and distractions. You have to be able to come in and focus. It’s going to be a tough test for us in Toronto. It’ll be a tough place to play in their home opener.”
It’s been a few weeks since the Roughnecks finished their pre-season schedule. In three scrimmages in December, the Roughnecks were perfect, finishing off with a 3-0 record.
“At camp, we were fortunate enough to get to play some exhibition games which is always good,” McBride said. “It helps get the systems going and the ability to play against other players. It’s going to be a good year for us. We are looking to run the ball well.”
Ball drop is 5:30 p.m. MT, and fans can watch live on NLL.com.