Records, as they say, are meant to be broken.
Still, you could certainly excuse former Roughnecks star Kaleb Toth for being a little sad knowing his franchise scoring record of 628 points will almost certainly fall Saturday when the Riggers host the Colorado Mammoth.
Suiting up for his 11th season in Calgary, Jeff Shattler collected an assist on Tyler Digby’s powerplay marker in the third quarter of last weekend’s 14-12 win in Colorado to draw even with Toth in all-time points for the club.
For a born-and-raised Calgarian who is one of the most popular — if not most popular — player in team history, owning the franchise scoring mark was special. After all, it was Toth, who played 11 seasons here after being around since the team’s first game, selling the Riggers and the game of pro lacrosse to this city and serving as one of the faces of the franchise.
However, for Toth — who retired in 2012 and now resides on Vancouver Island just outside Nanaimo – there is nothing bittersweet about his record being broken.
In fact, the always classy Toth is downright happy for Shattler.
“I think it’s great,” said Toth. “Shattler’s been with the organization a long time and he’s a helluva ball player.
“It was nice to have but you knew it was eventually going to be broken. And, with a kid like Shattler —who’s not only a good friend of mine but a great person and a great lacrosse player — I’m glad it was him.”
Teammate Dane Dobbie had the spotlight last week when he scored his 300th goal, all coming in a Roughnecks uniform.
On top of Shattler’s current 628 points, he has a single assist from the one game he played with the Buffalo Bandits before being traded to Calgary.
But for all intents and purposes, he has been nothing but a Roughneck. When he arrived here after being swapped for fellow southpaw Kevin Dostie, he was young and raw but full of talent.
On a Calgary roster brimming with offensive stars, Shattler started his career here out the backdoor playing defence and running the ball in transition. With a slick stick, great moves and a knack for putting the ball in net, he soon found himself with a permanent job playing in the offensive zone.
“He was one of those first transition-offence type players that could play offence and defence,” said Toth. “A lot of teams didn’t have that type of player. Shattler revolutionized that type of player.”
And, along the way, he’s put up numbers that have surprised even him.
“To be announced with Kaleb Toth and a guy like Tracey Kelusky and to be up there with the great goalscorers … obviously with me playing defence the first few years, honestly, no I didn’t,” admitted Shattler, when asked if he ever thought he’d be the franchise’s all-time scoring leader one day.
His offensive prowess shone during his breakout season in 2011, when put up 29 goals and 75 points in 15 games. His season highs prior to that were 17 goals in 16 games in 2006 and 51 points in 16 games in 2010.
Shattler was named the 2011 league MVP, as well as the transition player of the year. He was also named to the first all-pro team.
In the following seasons he continued to pile up the points and despite having turned 32 on Dec. 26, shows no signs of slowing down.
After an average season by his standards in 2015 when he collected 28 goals but just 62 points, he rebounded last year when he scored 30 goals and career-high 87 points.
Through three games this season, he has six goals and 15 points and is tied for 12th in league scoring with Digby.
“I feel like I’m at the top of my game right now,” said Shattler. “I feel like I’m a smarter player having learned things over the years from veteran players. So I’m just trying to put it all together and have a good couple of years and do what I can for the city of Calgary.”
“It’s an honour and a blessing to still be playing at this level,” he added. “I honestly think I have three more years. I don’t want to leave at the bottom of my game, I want to leave at the top. Right now I have enough confidence in my body and I train hard enough that I think I’ll be OK to keep playing.”
Much of Shattler’s longevity and ability to still contribute at a high level can be traced back to the incredible shape he keeps himself in. One of the fittest players in the league, he’s the type of guy who goes all out every shift and never seems to tire.
Part of that is thanks to genetics, the rest hard work. As he gets older, it’s more to the latter.
“I train harder than I ever have before,” said Shattler. “At a younger age I was maybe a bit cocky and felt I didn’t need it. But now, there’s a lot of young guys in this league and they are dominant players and for me to keep up with their young legs I have to train as much as possible.”
Of course, with age can also come memory loss. Maybe that explains why Shattler was light on details when asked if he remembered his first goal as a Roughneck.
“My very first goal was in Colorado, I believe,” said Shattler. “And I can’t remember the goalie’s name …”
Was it Gee Nash?
“Gee Nash, that’s who it was,” he answered. “I vaguely remember the goal but I think it went in over his shoulder. And there was a lot more to come after that.”
All kidding aside, when you’ve scored 254 goals it’s easy to forget a few.
Shattler’s dad Hubert is coming out to watch Saturday’s game, wanting to be here when his son collects that big point. He’ll also have other family in attendance, as well.
So has he envisioned the perfect way to get that point? A breakaway goal or maybe one of his trademark quick sticks on the crease?
“I just need one (point),” said Shattler. “Doesn’t matter what it is as long as it helps the team, that’s all I care about right now.”
There’s no doubt the Ontario kid that came out west all those years ago has left a mark on the Roughnecks and the game of lacrosse.
And this city and community has left a big mark on him.
“I never thought I’d be in this city this long and I always wanted to be,” said Shattler. “I never wanted to leave. I’ve had some great memories out here, we have the best fans in the league and Calgary’s been nothing but good to me, to my family and I’m just happy to be a Calgarian. I feel I’ve been here long enough to say that.”