The National Lacrosse League (NLL) season is back on and Saskatchewan Rush fans, players and coaches are looking forward to getting back to SaskTel Centre.
“I am more than excited. I’m ecstatic, as well as so many other fans across the league are,” said Kelvin Ooms, a superfan known to many as Rush Hulk in honour of the outfit he wears to each game.
The NLL and the Professional Lacrosse Players’ Association reached a new five-year deal Nov. 24, ending a contract dispute that already cost the first two weekends of the 2018-19 season.
Ooms said the fan chatter he’s seen on social media since the announcement of the deal suggests the wait has only made the Rush faithful more eager to get back to supporting the team.
“Never a dull moment at a Rush game. It doesn’t matter where you’re sitting, whether you’re in the nosebleeds or you’re sitting field level. It’s always exciting and lots of fun.”
With the deal finally sorted out, Rush forward Ben McIntosh said he was looking forward to getting this year’s campaign underway.
“You don’t really know what to do. You want to play and you want to get out there. But at the same time, you’re trying to wait for a deal that you feel is fair, that can help players behind you. So it’s kind of a weird situation, but I’m glad it’s figured out now.”
Rush head coach and general manger Derek Keenan said his lengthy experience in the league helped him to keep calm during the wait to see if there would be a season this year. Now, he said he’s looking forward to the start of training camp, which is slated to begin by the end of this week.
“I think ownership’s happy and players are happy and I’m certainly happy to get back to it and hopefully try and win another championship for our fans in Saskatchewan.”
The NLL is still working on an updated schedule. It remains to be determined if the two games missed during the labour dispute will be made up.
—With files from 650 CKOM’s Erin Mcnutt and Keenan Sorokan