CALGARY — Begrudgingly, Garrett McIntosh was happy to see his younger brother Ben win back-to-back National Lacrosse League championships.
Of course, he would have rather gotten his hands on the Champion’s Cup in each of the past two seasons. But, if not him, he was pleased that Ben won the title in his rookie season with the Edmonton Rush in 2015 and then again after the franchise relocated to Saskatoon the next year.
“When he wins championships and we’re not in there, yeah, I’m happy for him,” said the elder McIntosh brother, who wasn’t the least bit happy for Ben when the Rush beat his Calgary Roughnecks 15-11 at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday night, “but when it’s competitive like this, I’m always extremely competitive and I hate losing to him – probably the worst team to lose to in the league for me, that’s for sure.”
Ben scored three times and added three assists and was named the game’s first start on Saturday, but he could have probably had even more points if not for the defensive work of his older sibling.
“There was a couple of good battles against him,” recalled Garrett, 27, who plies his trade as a defenceman, while Ben, 25, chose to suit up on offence instead. “I found myself caught between him and Robert Church at one point, which is always a scary situation.
“I did get one nice, little hit on his hips, which was nice – a little sneaky one, but other than that it was pretty clean. I didn’t get to hit him as hard as I wanted too yet, but we definitely see each out there a little bit, so it’s nice.”
While Garrett was selected in the third round, 24th overall, of the 2013 NLL Draft by the Roughnecks, Ben was taken first overall by the Rush the next year.
Although Ben has had bragging rights the past couple years when their two teams meet up, Garrett is encouraged with how tough the Riggers have played the Rush of late.
“The two teams are definitely neck-and-neck,” said Garrett. “It seems like it comes down to about five minutes every game, where either they go on a run or we go on a run to take it. It’s difficult to lose, but that’s the way she goes. We have a couple more games against them.”
A few, actually – on Feb. 25 and March 24 at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon, before the two teams wrap up the season series on April 29 back at the ’Dome.
Growing up in Coquitlam, B.C., the McIntosh brothers had their fair share of battles, but they always found a way to make up.
The same still holds true now – fierce competitors on and off the floor, but ultimately still brothers and friends.
“We’ll have a couple chirps back and forth,” said Garrett. “We’ll reconcile for a little bit until the next time we see each other.”