CALGARY — Chad Cummings made a life-changing move when he retired from hockey and signed a contract with the Calgary Roughnecks.
Originally drafted in 2012 (Round 4, 36th Overall), Cummings had a fantastic training camp and earned a spot on the Riggers active roster. On January 6, the big defenceman took the floor at Scotiabank Saddledome for the first time.
We spoke with Cummings about his NLL debut, his rookie campaign, and more.
On suiting up for the first time in the Rough House:
“It was an amazing feeling for sure when you get to go out and play in front of the best fans in the whole league. It was pretty amazing. It’s definitely the most people I’ve ever played in front of. I didn’t expect the nerves to happen, I haven’t been nervous for a lacrosse game in a long time, but they were definitely there. It was tough not to get the win, but it felt great to finally make a debut like that and play in front of the best fans in the league.”
On his rookie campaign so far:
“It’s been an amazing couple of weeks here to be able to play a couple games in the league and definitely felt a lot more comfortable and at home in the second one. The nerves weren’t as bad for sure. The guys have been great in the locker-room making me feel comfortable with being in a new city, playing in new rinks, and playing against new teams. They’ve been nothing but great to me and welcoming in making me feel right at home, so that’s helped me a lot these last couple of weeks. It’s been very good.
On making his first trip to the Loud House in Denver:
“When it’s called the Loud House, you’re going to be excited to play in front of that many people and hopefully ruin a couple days. They’re a division rival, so it’s important to go in and try to get some points on the road. That’s what we’re trying to do, hopefully stealing some points from them there. They’ll be looking to do the same thing in our house the following weekend. So it’s very important for us and I’m hoping to play my best. Hopefully we all do and we come away with a couple points.
On the recent history between the Roughnecks and Mammoth:
“The Calgary Roughnecks obviously pulled off the big win against them in the playoffs last year, so they’ll be working for some revenge, I guess that’ll still be in their hearts. It’ll be a good game, that’s for sure. The rivalry is alive and well and it’s just another chapter in it. Hopefully we’re the ones who come out on top of it.
On the challenges he has faced this season:
“Travel is one of them. Living out Toronto way and playing for a Western team, there’s definitely a lot of flying involved with that. It’s a big part of it, but the team does a great job of making us comfortable when we travel and when we get into the city, taking care of us while we’re there. Got to give it to the Calgary Roughnecks for treating their players very well, they’re one of the better organizations in the league. They’ve done nothing but make us feel comfortable. As for playing the game, it’s a lot faster and everyone is the best at their position. It takes a bit of getting used to playing against the best players in the world every night. It’s been a bit of an adjustment trying to catch up to the speed of the game and being able to find your game, be consistent throughout every shift, every quarter, every game. It’s been an adjustment, but I’m starting to feel more comfortable and my game is coming along pretty nicely so far.
On getting used to new teammates:
“When you’re playing on the back-end, you get used to people’s styles, traits, and stuff like that. The more you play together, the more comfortable you get with each other, you know where each other will be and how you play. I felt a lot more comfortable in the second game, I didn’t feel as lost as I did in the first one, so it’s been going pretty well.