CALGARY, AB — Some have labeled him Superman, while others simply call him a goal waiting to happen.
And as those goals continue to pile up, so do milestones for Calgary Roughnecks forward Curtis Dickson.
A third overall selection by the Riggers in 2010, Dickson has not only developed into one of the top one-on-one down low threats in the entire National Lacrosse League but one of those players you can’t seem to take your eyes off.
Sacrificing every inch of his 6-foot-2, 205-pound frame while powerfully driving opposing team’s nets, the Maple Ridge Burrards product has become a human highlight-reel.
“I take a lot of pride in that part of my game and try to have a lot of fun with it,” said Dickson, who has been hacked and whacked en route to netting a whopping 57 goals, including a league-high six shorthanded, with one game still remaining on the regular season slate.
“It’s something that I was never able to do in college lacrosse because of the crease violation rule, but I have tried to take advantage of it ever since I started playing in this league.”
Arguably the NLL’s most explosive player, Dickson’s offensive production has been on a steady trajectory over his six seasons – 52, 56, 62, 72, 93 and 101 points and counting.
Filling the net with rubber, though, has always been Dickson’s bread and butter.
In fact, with 162 markers over four NCAA seasons he still holds the all-time goals record at University of Delaware.
“I have always had a knack for scoring,” said Dickson, who hasn’t been held goalless since March 14, 2015 against Rochester. “My dad played a similar style so I guess I get it from him. He put a stick in my hands at an early age – pretty much since the time I could walk – so growing up around the game and watching my cousins play made me fall in love with it.”
His father Derek, a talented player in his own right, captured back-to-back Minto Cups with Burnaby Cablevision (1977 and 1978) before hoisting a Mann Cup in 1981 as a member of the famed New Westminster Salmonbellies.
“I never had the chance to see him play, but believe me I hear stories,” joked Dickson, who dons No. 17 to pay tribute to his father and cousins who all wore the same digit.
Safe to say, Dickson has impressed his bench boss.
“He’s a special lacrosse player,” ‘Necks coach Curt Malawsky said. “He’s got the capability of breaking a game wide open.”
But he takes an absolute pounding for it.
“He takes a lot of abuse out there,” Malawsky said. “He gets held, he gets hammered and he just stays the course, stays on his feet and just competes and battles. He can put teams on his back and he gets big goals at big times and that’s what makes him so good.”
For instance, midway through the second quarter in a 16-12 Riggers win over the Vancouver Stealth earlier this month, Dickson collected a pass from Dane Dobbie, took a couple steps forward and unloaded an over-the-top shot that snuck under the arm of goaltender Tyler Richards to become the Roughnecks single-season franchise record holder for goals.
Ironically, Dickson surpassed the very teammate that fed him, Dobbie, who potted 51 markers for the Roughnecks during the 2014 season.
“When you see some of the names that have come and gone on that list and you’re on the top of that it’s a pretty cool thing,” said Dickson, who has impressively notched 11 three-or-more goal games this season. “I’m sure it will be something I’ll be able to look back on and be proud of at the end of my career, but I would trade any individual record to win a championship with this team.”
Not to be overshadowed is that the 27-year-old Port Coquitlam, B.C. native also became only the fourth player in franchise history to reach the 100-point plateau in a season, joining the likes of Shawn Evans, Josh Sanderson and Lewis Ratcliff.
“You set goals for yourself when you come into a season but you try not to think or worry about them too much,” said Dickson, the 2011 National Lacrosse League Rookie of the Year. “But, to be honest, after I came up just short of 50 goals and 100 points last season it had been in the back of my mind coming into this year.”
Veteran teammate Jeff Shattler, who recently reached a pair of impressive milestones of his own – 600 career points and 1,000 career loose balls – believes Dickson is only going to get better.
Now that’s a scary thought.
“He’s got a hell of a shot on him,” said the longtime Roughneck forward and franchise assist leader. “Not many guys can put the ball in the net the way he can, so it’s great to have him on our team as a weapon. He’s going to do a lot of great things in this league for years to come.”
In only his sixth NLL season, Dickson finds himself only one goal shy of pulling even with Tracey Kelusky for third all-time in franchise history.
“Right now, I’m just trying to get better every season and hopefully I can be around a few more years,” said Dickson, who has amassed 255 goals and 436 points over his illustrious but still young career. “My age shows I’m still young but my body might argue that. As long as I’m still standing at the end, I’ll be happy with my career.”