More than 365 days and counting.
It’s been a long wait for 2020 14th-overall NLL Draft pick Harrison Matsuoka.
And now, the local product will finally gear up in the big leagues as Roughnecks training camp gets underway on Nov. 5.
“I’m pretty pumped,” Matsuoka said. “I would have liked to have gotten started quite a while ago but obviously with COVID we weren’t able to. I haven’t really been a part of a team for quite a while so I’m just excited to get in the locker-room, meet all the guys and get playing.”
The four-year Stony Brook University Seawolves starter and three-year captain plans to show what he’s got training camp, and with lightning fast legs and a knack for the transition game there’s no doubt Matsuoka will fit in nicely.
“I’m bringing in some speed in the transition game and some quickness out the back gate,” he explained. “I know we already have a lot of that with Zach Currier and Reece Callies but I’m hoping I can add onto some of that speed coming out the backend.
“I’ve heard training camp is pretty fast-paced. We do quite a bit of games and lots of playing so I’m just looking forward to getting to play with the guys, getting used to the new systems and getting used to the pace of the NLL.”
Despite the lengthy wait for an opportunity to play, Matsuoka has kept busy. Between keeping a stick in his hands via his work at ELEV8 Lacrosse and workouts with Roughnecks Strength and Conditioning Coach Sean Hope-Ross, he’ll be in tip-top shape come November.
“I’ve been working out with Sean often,” said Matsuoka. “He’s been my trainer for a couple of years now so I’ve been training a lot with him. I’ve also been at some floor times with some other guys that play in the league in Calgary and just making sure I’m hitting the wall in my free time.
“On top of that, I’ve been working with ELEV8 for quite a while now. Right now we’re doing the fall program, working with kids in high school and junior high and training them to hopefully get scholarships in the U.S. And we’re also doing some classroom training where we go into schools across Calgary and we teach kids lacrosse in gym class, it’s been really great.”
So, 392 long days down, less than a month to go.
Then, a new countdown will begin for the former Okotoks junior A Raider: 21 days remaining until his Rough House debut.
“I’ve been coming to Roughnecks games for as long as I can remember,” said Matsuoka. “Being able to play in the Saddledome in front of my family, friends and the amazing fans is pretty much a dream come true.”