This year saw the arrival of Saskatchewan’s second professional sports team, the Saskatchewan Rush. Their first year in the new location has been full of success and many are optimistic about playoffs.
Ever since their arrival, the Rush have grown in popularity due to the fast-paced game play found in lacrosse and the energetic atmosphere found in the stadium. This season saw the Rush finish with a record of 13 wins and five losses. Their offence-heavy strategy has lead them to clinching a division title in the West Division of the National Lacrosse League. Their first playoff game was on May 14, which saw the Rush outscore the Calgary Roughnecks 16 to 10.
The NLL division finals are a best-of-two series. In order to advance to the next round, the Champions Cup Final, one team needs to win both games. However, if the Rush lose at home on May 21, a 10-minute, sudden death mini-game will take place to determine the winner of the series.
Rush forward Zack Greer spoke to the Sheaf about how the team is preparing for their next playoff game against Calgary at home.
“[The] guys are obviously staying on their workouts, trying to stay in shape [and] get our sticks in our hands as much as possible,” Greer said.
Due to the setup of the NLL, the Rush have a different schedule than most other professional leagues.
“We’re a weekend league. So we fly in [and] practice the night before the game. But during the week we’re staying in shape, working out pretty hard and watching film and tape to kind of scan the other team,” Greer said.
Greer led the Rush in goals scored in the game, but he says the rest of their offence wasn’t far behind him.
“I think we were all within a couple goals or two, three or four of us there. It creates a difficult issue with teams trying to defend our offence because there’s not a single guy you can key on,” Greer said.
Not only is the Rush’s offence intense, but the games in general bring an intensity to the stadium.
“I think lacrosse is kind of a combination of few different sports. It’s got the speed and physicality of hockey and it’s got systems of play like basketball. [It’s] high intensity — lots of goals, lots of hits, and [constant] action for 60 minutes full,” Greer said.
Mark Matthews, who plays offence, explained why he believes attending a Rush game is a benefit to the student lifestyle.
“It’s something a little different than staying at collegiate sport, the bars are an example of something they do on a Saturday night and [people] have a lot of fun doing that,” Matthews said.
Matthews is referring to the shuttle packages the Rush offer in junction with game tickets. The shuttle takes fans to and from the game to a local bar, allowing the thrill of the game to continue into the evening.
Greer gives credit to the Rush’s production team that helps to keep the games lively throughout their entirety. The production team is in charge of everything from the music played during the games, to the Crush dance team.
With many positives to attending the games, Greer notes that the Rush have been welcomed into Saskatoon.
“It’s been a good addition to the city; first pro sport team [in Saskatoon], the only sport team [here] right now that’s out of Sasktel Center. Getting into the arena with 15,000 of your closest friends is something that you don’t always get the opportunity to do.”
Jack Thompson / Staff Writer
Graphic: Lesia Karalash / Graphics Editor