CALGARY, AB — Geoff Snider isn’t sure what’s left a bigger sting — the lower-body injury that has forced him to the sidelines or the fact that he has been relegated to spectator status as his Calgary Roughnecks have pushed towards a berth in the Champion’s Cup Final.
All he knows is he’s not a fan of being just a fan.
“I have a lot more respect for our coaching staff and guys that can’t play anymore that are leading the ship for us because it is hard to sit and stand and watch some of that stuff go on,” Snider said 48 hours in advance of Saturday’s Game 1 against the Rochester Knighthawks. “It’s a lot easier to play than to coach, that’s for sure.
“It’s been painful, but it’s also been a great experience too to be in a position where you really get to see a team come together and you’re watching guys battle and you’re watching the adversity and you’re watching the success. It’s been an educating experience, for sure.”
Snider hasn’t played since the Roughnecks 16-15 win against the Colorado Mammoth in Calgary’s playoff opener. The 5-foot-10, 200-pound faceoff specialist was forced from action after getting tangled up with brother Bob off a draw midway through the game.
Both brothers immediately knew the significance of the injury.
“I think poor Bobby was more worried than I was,” said Snider, who missed the entire series against the Rush that has catapulted Calgary into the final. “I was ready to tear his head off. I knew it had happened when it happened. I got to the bench and he knew that it had happened because I was letting him have it. You knew right away. You knew at that point in time it became less about worrying about it and more about recovering from it. I had my 30 seconds of every word I’ve ever heard in a negative fashion go out towards my brother, then got over it and had Sunday dinner. He’s a great kid.
“Bobby’s such a great kid. We were in Dutton’s hanging out and he was in tears. It shows how much of a competitor he is and what kind of person he is. He went back with Colorado and then he asked permission to come see me and they let him go. It just shows his character as a competitor and as a brother. I’m proud of him and certainly I don’t have any animosity towards him.”
Tenacity has replaced any animosity that would’ve possessed Snider.
The 33-year-old is doing all he can to ensure a speedy recovery and a potential return Saturday.
“It’s an injury that needs respect,” Snider said. “It’s an injury that you have to make sure you take care of or it’s going to affect you long-term. We’ve been smart about it. It’s healing up quicker than we expected and it’s a total credit to the people that have dedicated their time to help. If I could play, I’ll play. It’s going to be a decision that’s made by the doctors and coaching staff that puts us in the best situation long-term.”
Roughnecks team doctor Dr. Ian Auld has teamed up with Calgary Flames assistant athletic therapist Schad Richea and Pat Clayton, former Calgary Stampeders director of medical services and personal strength coach Sean Hope-Ross in an effort to return Snider’s health.
It’s one of the perks of playing for an organization that also dabbles in NHL, WHL and CFL action.
“The team of people that I’ve had working on me over the last three weeks has been the best I’ve had in my career,” Snider said. “It’s a credit to the Flames for pulling out all the stops and obviously the Roughnecks organization. Physically, I feel great in terms of structurally how much time I’ve given this.”
A potential return would be a boost for the Roughnecks heading into the Champion’s Cup.
More specifically, Snider’s prowess in the faceoff circle could help bolster an offence that finished with an NLL-leading 237 goals in the regular season.
And that could be critical in taking down Rochester, who hope to defend back-to-back defending Champion’s Cups and add a third in the process.
“I just think if you look at the firepower on our group, the most frustrating part for me is if I was back and that’s all I was doing and it gave us 10, five, two extra possessions a game,” said Snider, who has watched the Roughnecks also pace the NLL with 43 playoff goals. “You look at Curtis (Dickson) having an opportunity to tie up the game with a penalty shot — one possession. Shawn Evans scoring two goals in a 30-second, 40-second span to put us ahead in Edmonton — two possessions. Jeff Shattler’s overtime goal — one possession.
“The way that our team has been playing and capitalizing on those opportunities, if that was the only thing I did and contributed to the guys having the ball more, I’d be satisfied doing that.”
Snider won’t have to wait long to find out whether or not he’ll be able to.
“It’s going to be a game-day decision,” he said. “We’ll see how it is on Friday night and shoot-around on Saturday. The coaching staff and doctors and trainers will make a decision that puts us in the best position to win.”