The title defence has begun for the Saskatchewan Rush.
Players reported for training camp as the team starts its bid for third straight NLL championship and second since the move to Saskatoon.
“We had a good run and they’re a tight group so they had their love fest then we got down to business,” said head coach and general manager Derek Keenan.
“I expect everyone to come to camp in game shape so we don’t work on fitness, just running our systems and getting ready for game action.”
Twenty-five players and two goaltenders reported to camp in Toronto. Keenan stressed the pre-season is for the players who will be with the team for the 2017 season. The first exhibition games start in a week.
“With the limited time we have, it’s about getting into our systems and start teaching,” he said.
One player Keenan hopes is a quick study is newly-acquired forward Adam Jones. The one-time 50 goal scorer is preparing for his first season since being traded by Colorado.
“He’s a goal scorer,” said Keenan. “We play a very structured system and most of the guys have played it before.”
Jones joins a group of draft picks and prospects looking to crack the Rush roster full time. Among them is Saskatoon native Mike Kaminski – 4th round, 40th overall 2017 – and first overall pick Ryan Keenan, coach Keenan’s son.
“It was still a difficult call for me,” said Keenan, despite the consensus that son or not, Ryan was the top prospect in the draft.
“He’s just another one of the guys.”
Players will get their first chance to impress with game action on Dec. 3 when the Rush face Colorado.
They make their first trip to Saskatoon ahead of a Dec. 16 game against Calgary at SaskTel Centre.