By: Riley Pollock – 05.01.24
A moment a lifetime in the making.
Riggers rookie defenceman Bennett Smith has his first two NLL games under his belt. The Edmonton native made his league debut in San Diego on Dec. 9 before playing in the Home Opener last Saturday.
“It was super exciting, it’s a moment I’ve been waiting for for a long time,” Smith explained. “To have my parents in San Diego and my family from Santa Monica drive down it was very special. I had a ton of fun.”
There were obviously nerves for the young defenceman but he says even from his first game to his second he felt more comfortable.
“I think I felt less tense in game two,” the ‘Necks 2023 first-round pick said. “The first game jitters, everyone experiences it but I felt more comfortable in game two and almost more relaxed and to be at home for the first time was pretty fun and pretty exciting.”
There aren’t specific goals that Smith is striving towards as he settles into his role in the NLL but he wants to make sure he is on the positive side of plays each game.
“My game plan has always been to make more good plays than bad and try to eliminate and learn from the bad plays,” he explained. “I don’t really dive too deep into it, I just try to make my plays. Going into game two I felt more comfortable pushing my game and I feel that coming on even more over the next couple games.”
Smith grabbed his first NLL point in the Home Opener assisting Riggers 2022 first-rounder Seth Van Schepen on a nice goal.
“It felt pretty good,” said Smith. “I’m not going to lie it wasn’t the greatest pass so I applaud him for catching it and finishing but it was a pretty cool moment for sure.
Being in nearly the same position as Van Schepen last year, Smith is thankful for the help that he, as well as other younger players on the team, have given him so far.
“I see lots of similarities in our game; he’s been great,” said Smith. “Shep and Ethan Ticehurst have been two guys that have really helped me out so far.”