CALGARY, AB — It’s tough to find a replacement on the right side of the floor for Scott Ranger but that’s exactly what the Calgary Roughnecks have to do.
Ranger’s recent retirement has left a vacancy for someone to fill and compliment the potent offence Shawn Evans and Curtis Dickson provide. Fortunately for Curt Malawsky, the candidates are familiar.
“Bottom line is Marty Dinsdale and Jordan McBride are going to battle for that one spot on the right side,” Malawsky stated last week after the opening session of training camp in Okotoks, AB. “If neither one of them grab it, then I’m going to push Karsen Leung up front and then we’ll go from there.”
Dinsdale made a compelling case for himself last weekend in Oakville scoring nine goals in two pre-season contests against the Toronto Rock and the Minnesota Swarm. The 23-year-old suited up in 14 games last season and collected six goals and 17 points while scooping up 19 loose balls in primarily a transition role.
“Coming into the weekend I knew that it was obviously my last chance before the team is decided on [Dec. 18] to prove myself and I was lucky enough to have a couple of good games,” Dinsdale said. “I was finding the back of the net. I don’t think I was really doing anything different from previous games or previous years but the guys were finding me on the other side I was able to find the back of the net.”
The offence on the right side has been crowded over the years with Roughnecks’ mainstays so Dinsdale’s time on the attack has been limited.
“I was always confident with my abilities on offence, I’ve been an offensive player for most of my life,” he said. “It wasn’t until later in junior that I started focusing on both ends of the floor. The first couple of years [with Calgary] I was going in and out of the [defensive] gate to try to fit in to wherever the coaches thought would be best for the team.
“It’s hard to crack the offense with only six offensive guys starting every week.”
Malawsky, who coached Dinsdale in his junior days with the Couquitlam Adanacs of the BCJLL, knows the versatile Dinsdale could easily make the transition to forward.
“I think it’s a great opportunity, especially for a guy like Marty that’s kind of been in and out and Ranger’s gone,” Malawsky said. “There is an actual open spot. I think the guys are embracing that and they’re looking forward to the challenge.
“It’ll be all up to them.”
The Riggers made Dinsdale their second selection (7th overall) in the first round if the 2012 NLL Draft. He has been a victim of numbers for the past two seasons, seeing limited action, but knows this is a great opportunity.
“I had the conversation with Curt and he just kind of laid it out for me and said that with Ranger retiring there’s a spot open on the right side.” Dinsdale said. “I know I just have to go out there and battle for it. I was prepared to do that coming into the start of the season and I knew that there was probably going to be a spot open.
McBride was inked by Roughnecks general manager Mike Board in the off-season knowing he would like have to fill a hole. The New Westminster, B.C. product played for the Vancouver Stealth last season collecting one goal and six assists in three games. Prior to that he put up career highs with the Colorado Mammoth notching 24 goals and 49 points in 14 games.
He comes is with a respectable lacrosse pedigree having starred in the Stony Brook University field lacrosse program in New York State from 2008 to 2011 and has been a steady contributor to the New Westminster Salmon Bellies offence in the Western Lacrosse Association for the past seven summers.
McBride is looking for a home for the 2015 NLL season but knows it will be tough to find a spot in Calgary.
“Vancouver picked me up (last year) and then I was on their practice roster,” McBride said. “I’m just looking for a place to play. “I’ve just got to work hard and see what the coaches decide. They’ve got some tough choices to make.”
The 28-year-old McBride is familiar with his competition.
“I know of [Dinsdale]. I just know we’re going to go hard and I’ll just do my own thing,” he said. “I think I’m an off-ball guy. I’m just going to try to open things up there – bash guys, cut to the middle hard and just be a hard-nosed player.”
Although the two players are both in search of the same job, Dinsdale insists there is no ill will and stressed the importance of working with McBride during the process.
“Lacrosse is a team game,” Dinsdale said. “If you’re going to be in a successful offence all five guys have to be working together so if myself and [McBride] were trying to force each other out or whatever I don’t think it would have worked well for either of us.
“We talked to each other throughout the weekend and we both want whatever is best for both of us. There’s no bad blood at all between us.”