The Saskatchewan Rush enter the 2017-18 campaign with a few fresh faces after a busy off-season. No longer with the team is fan favourite and 2016 Champion’s Cup MVP, Aaron Bold, who was traded to New England. In return, the Rush received goaltender Evan Kirk.
Kirk was the 2016 National Lacrosse League Goaltender of the Year and is two years younger than Bold. The trade will help Saskatchewan rebuild on the fly and remain a threat to the other teams hoping to win the Cup this season.
The Rush also managed to land one of the most sought-after free agents in the 2017 class, Jeff Shattler. Shattler is fresh off a 71-point season with Calgary and will be counted on to replace Adam Jones, who was traded to the Toronto Rock.
Ryan Dilks, the 2016 NLL Defensive Player of the Year, was also re-signed for a three-year deal and will be counted on to anchor the Rush defensive unit once again this season.
Dilks speaks about the Rush off-season and the new players arriving in Saskatchewan.
“I definitely like the direction we’re going in … bringing in a guy like Evan Kirk, who won goalie of the year and is still young, [and] making us [defence] guys’ [lives] a little easier [by] bringing in a guy like Jeff Shattler,” Dilks said.
The Rush recently announced their biggest partnership in team history with the Saskatchewan Co-op, who will be sponsoring the construction of a new floor at SaskTel Centre. The previous field was the oldest in the league and was something that could no longer be ignored.
Dilks speaks on behalf of the players about the new floor.
“We have a championship-calibre team, we have unbelievable coaches and management, we have the most passionate owner in the league with the best fans in the league, and we’re the toughest place to play. Now we have brand new turf that we can call home. Trust me when I say we are beyond excited for the season to start,” Dilks said.
The Rush will play their first game on their new floor in a pre-season tune-up against the Georgia Swarm in a Champion’s Cup rematch on Nov. 18 at SaskTel Centre.
Graphic: Lesia Karalash / Graphics Editor