CALGARY, AB — Sean Pollock found himself as the odd man out earlier this season with the Colorado Mammoth.
Now he’s got a new lease on his lacrosse life with the Calgary Roughnecks, who just so happen to be playing a home-and-home series this weekend against Pollock’s former team.
“I don’t have hard feelings towards them except for they’re in our way and I want to win and get into the playoffs here, so nothing better than to go against your old team and try to get into the playoffs,” said Pollock, who signed with the Riggers as a free agent on March 16 after the Mammoth cut him loose when they acquired rookie forward Jeremy Noble from the Rochester Knighthawks.
The 32-year-old forward will make his return to the Pepsi Centre in Denver on Friday (7 p.m.) when the Roughnecks (3-9) take on the Mammoth (7-5).
“I respect everybody over there,” Pollock said. “I enjoyed my 3-1/2 years with the Mammoth and I was treated well and I still have some friends over there. It’s going to be a little bit different going into the visitors’ dressing room again.”
Calgary head coach and assistant general manager Curt Malawsky said everyone in the organization was excited about the signing of the 12-year National Lacrosse League veteran.
“I don’t know who was more excited to see Sean – the coaching staff or the players,” Malawsky said. “I know the players were ecstatic about it. It’s a testament to his character and he’s fit right in with us.
“I’m sure he’s going to be excited to play down in Denver. He’s spent a lot of time there. I know he’s got a lot of great admiration for the organization and the city, so he’ll be jacked up.”
In two games with Calgary so far, Pollock has chipped in with three goals. He’ll be looking to extend his goal-scoring streak to four straight games in Denver on Friday.
“He’s put the ball in the net a couple times for us and he’s very, very responsible,” Malawsky said. “He knows when to attack the net, when to be on the way to the bench. We’ve had a lot of second possessions lately and that’s a lot to do with Sean Pollock and Shawny Evans battling in there. He’s not afraid to go in and take one across the wrist in the corner and pick up a big loose ball.”
Less than 24 hours after Friday’s game in Denver, the same two teams will go at it again on Saturday (7 p.m.) at the Scotiabank Saddledome in the back half of the home-and-home affair.
The Riggers will then play a home-and-home set against the Edmonton Rush on the weekend of April 10 before finishing up the regular season with road games against the Minnesota Swarm on April 18 and the Vancouver Stealth on May 2.
“We’ve got some big divisional games coming up against Colorado and Edmonton, so if we can shut the door and win those four we’re still in a very good spot,” said forward Jeff Shattler. “We’re going to pull off these next two wins and Colorado’s going to see a different team coming at them.”
“Our guys are banged up and bruised,” said Malawsky after Calgary’s narrow 12-10 setback at home last Saturday night to the visiting Toronto Rock. “I was proud of those guys that they went to the middle of the floor. It’s the way it is and it’s the way it goes. That one’s behind us. Now we’ve got to look forward to playing Colorado. I know the guys are pissed off. Hopefully we take all the energy and that frustration and that emotion and turn it into positive energy and turn it into compete and go down to Colorado and give them one hell of a game Friday night.”
“Of course the belief’s still there,” said Calgary captain Andrew McBride in regards to Calgary’s chances of qualifying for post-season play. “If the care and the belief wasn’t there, then we can give up. As you see around the room, guys are pissed, guys are agitated, guys are frustrated and we’ve got to come out and put that to the test in Colorado. It’s two games for our season. We’ll see who mans up, we’ll see what our finish and compete level is and that’s the bottom line. No excuses at this point. You’ve just got to look in the mirror, put the hardhats on and play do or die.”
DID YOU KNOW?
During his rookie season in 2004 with the now-defunct Arizona Sting, Pollock was a teammate of current Roughnecks assistant coach Bruce Codd. Pollock had three goals in five games with the Sting back in 2004, while Codd scored once and had four assists in six contests. “He was a great guy to play with and a great teammate and he’s carrying that on with coaching,” said Pollock, while noting that Roughnecks assistant coach Bob McMahon held the same position with the Sting back in 2004. “I respect both of them a lot.”
PLAYER PROFILE – #12 Sean Pollock
Height & weight: 5-10, 170
Birthdate: July 7, 1982
Hometown: Port Lambton, Ont.
Resides: Prior Lake, MN
Fast fact: In his first game of the 2014 season with the Mammoth, Pollock had a hat trick and three assists to help lead Colorado to a 20-13 road win over the Minnesota Swarm. His third point of the game – a goal 46 seconds into the fourth quarter – was his 500th career NLL point. It was a milestone night for Pollock, who also recorded his 200th goal and 300th assist in the contest.
Stat attack: Pollock has recorded at least one point in all 11 games he’s played this season. Dating back to last season, he’s riding a 13-game point-scoring streak. In 170 career NLL games with Arizona, Minnesota, Colorado and Calgary, Pollock has scored 210 goals to go with 317 assists, while scooping up 540 loose balls.
Occupation: Inside sales for Thompson-Reuters
Family ties: Sean and his wife Jenna have a four-year-old son Owen. During Lacrosse Out Cancer Night in Denver on March 8, 2014, Pollock completed his hat trick at 3:05 of overtime to lead the Mammoth to a 10-9 win over the visiting Roughnecks. He dedicated his performance to his wife, who’s a breast cancer survivor. Stitched on the back of his jersey that night were the words: I’m Playing for Jenna.
Notable quotable: He referred to his wife as “the toughest, most courageous and beautiful person I know” in an interview with the Chatham Daily News following his storybook performance. “We’ve been through a lot. To see her name there after all the things we’ve been through, it was emotional to see the jersey.”