CALGARY, AB – It’s going to feel like a family reunion when Wesley Berg suits up for the Calgary Roughnecks.
The Coquitlam, BC native was selected by Calgary in the first round, 4th overall, of the 2015 NLL Draft on Monday and it’s a city he’s very familiar with. Berg’s mother is a Calgary native and he has a large number of extended family in the area.
“My mom was born in Calgary actually and a major part of my family lives out there – maybe 100 or so cousins that live in the Calgary area,” Berg said. “A lot of them are really excited. I don’t even think I’ll be able to get enough tickets for all the people that will want to come. It’s pretty exciting. I’ve been to Calgary quite a few times It’s a fun city to be in.”
That’s not all that’s familiar with Berg, though.
He carved out an impressive career in junior lacrosse with the Coquitlam Adanacs – coached by Riggers bench boss Curt Malawsky.
In 2010 he put up 42 points in 14 games and captured the Minto Cup with the Adanacs — his rookie campaign. A season later he won the BCJLA, scoring title, amassing 60 goals and 114 points in 20 games, edging out a pair of his teammates and former Roughnecks runners Matthew Dinsdale and Travis Cornwall.
Berg made his way to Denver University after that stellar season and made an immediate impact on their field program. As an 18-year-old freshman, he finished tied for second on the team in goals (26) and fifth in points (37). He would go on to win numerous awards with the Pioneers and finish as the all-time leader in goals, with 188, and points, with 255.
He capped off his profound collegiate career by powering the Pioneers to their first national championship in school history and was selected 15th overall by the Denver Outlaws in the 2015 MLL Collegiate Draft.
As good as he was in college playing field, that’s not where his lacrosse roots are.
“I actually have mostly a box [lacrosse] background,” said Berg, who racked up 254 points in 53 BCJALL games. “Just from playing college where with most of the hype is coming from because we just won the national championship and I played on team Canada in field last year and we won.”
The 22-year-old had an inkling he may be headed to the Stampede City well before his name was called at Monday’s Draft.
“Curt was my coach in junior and he said that’s what they hoped would happen but nothing is really for sure with trades and things that could go on,” Berg admitted. “I was hoping that’s what was going to happen and they kind of hinted that they were going to try get me at number four so it worked out well that way.
“It’s exciting. I grew up watching a lot of these games. I’ve been waiting a while to finally get drafted and play here so I’m very excited and I’m very happy to go to Calgary.”
The offensive wizard will be a welcome addition to the Roughnecks attack.
After losing Daryl Veltman to free agency, and Shawn Pollock to an expired contract, Calgary has some holes to fill on offense and the right-handed shooter Berg would be a great fit with the already lethal combination of Shawn Evans and Curtis Dickson, paired up on the right side of the floor.
The thought of sharing the turf with those two has Berg excited.
“It will be great. Especially with how good Dickson is one-on-one and Shawn Evans with how big of a playmaker he is,” Berg said. “I’m a big body that can create some space for them and then I have some good vision and they can find me in front of the net along with a lot of the other players on the left side so hopefully it will work well and I can complement them well.”
Berg got his feet wet playing against the likes of Dickson, Evans and several other NLL stars this past summer in the MSL. After being selected first overall in the WLA by the Coquitlam Senior Adanacs, Berg was dealt to the Oakville Rock in a cross-league transaction, where he made his senior debut.
An injury limited Berg’s action to just seven games with the Rock but he still managed to score seven goals and added five assists. The Rock’s season was cut short when they were eliminated by Dickson, Evans and the Peterborough Lakers in the playoffs where Berg dressed in all five games collecting eight goals and 15 points.
He now has the opportunity to win an NLL Championship with the Roughnecks, a team that’s qualitied for the playoffs in 13 straight seasons, the longest active streak amoung Calgary professional sports teams.
“Calgary is a great team so it would be nice to win a championship in the first year with a team that’s already kind of proven how good they are. Maybe just add to their wining ability.”