CALGARY, AB — The NLL season has come to a close for the Calgary Roughnecks.
But that doesn’t mean the players aren’t still actively playing lacrosse.
Spread out across the country, Roughnecks players will (for the most part) be playing for teams in the Western Lacrosse Association (WLA) and the Major Series Lacrosse (MSL) league.
Last season, Calgary saw plenty of its players competing against each other for the Mann Cup – the trophy earned by the winning team in a seven-game series between the champions from the WLA and MSL.
Curtis Dickson and his Peterborough Lakers faced off against a Victoria Shamrocks squad that boasted Dan MacRae, Karsen Leung, Greg Harnett, and Jon Harnett. The Shamrocks found a way to minimize Dickson en route to winning the Mann Cup.
This year, the quest for the Mann Cup begins anew and some players have shifted teams in the process.
Joining the reigning champs will be veteran lefty Jeff Shattler.
“It’s been two years since I’ve been there, I played there for five years,” Shattler said about returning to his former team. “Very excited to go back and be in Victoria and be part of that family that I left two years ago. It’s always a great time out there and it’s a really tight knit group of guys. A lot of the guys here in Calgary are part of that team.”
For the second straight year, Shattler will be trying to help his team win back-to-back Mann Cups. After winning a Mann Cup with the Six Nations Chiefs in 2014, Shattler and crew could not repeat as the Lakers ended their run early.
Speaking of the Lakers, Dickson will return to Peterborough, ON, this summer and will be reunited with former Roughnecks righty Shawn Evans – who was traded to New England last off-season.
“Yes, I’m excited for that. I’ve missed playing with that guy,” admitted Dickson. “He’s one of, if not, the best player in the world right now. It’s always a treat getting to play with him and he always makes your life easier on the floor.”
The goal is simple for the Lakers: win a Mann Cup.
But the road is going to be a tough one.
“It’s tough losing that and it was a tough series against Victoria, so it’s something we’ll be looking at,” Dickson said about returning to the Mann Cup. “It’s going to be tough, the East is stacked this year and it’s not going to be easy to win, obviously. It’s going to be a long road to get there.”
Staying in the MSL, the Oakville Rock will sport a couple big names from the Roughnecks. Assistant captain Dan MacRae and super rookie Wesley Berg will be suiting up for the Rock this summer after having big years in the NLL.
About an hour away in Brooklin, ON, two Riggers will be taking the floor as members of the Redmen. Reilly O’Connor will be playing in his second season in the pro circuit, while goaltender Mike Poulin will be splitting time in between the pipes with Zach Higgins.
Tyson Bell was drafted third overall in the MSL draft by the Brampton Excelsiors after a strong first campaign in the NLL. So he will spend his summer playing ball in the flower city.
Back out west, a couple of Roughnecks will be hitting the floor with Burnaby Lakers. Veteran Peter McFetridge and big man Tyler Digby will be looking to lead the Lakers to Mann Cup glory for the first time ever.
Frankie Scigliano will be back protecting the crease for the Maple Ridge Burrards this summer. The big man missed most of last season after suffering an injury.
Youngsters Kellen LeClair and Christian Del Bianco will be playing at the Jr. A level this summer. LeClair will be stationed on defence for the Six Nations Arrows, while Del Bianco will be looking to have another strong summer with the Coquitlam Adanacs.