The Saskatchewan Rush will try to recapture the National Lacrosse League’s Champions Cup on a new playing surface thanks to an original corporate sponsor. The team announced the establishment of “Co-op Field at SaskTel Centre”.
Owner Bruce Urban called the five-year arrangement the largest sponsorship in franchise history and added the new field was long overdue.
“Our field was kind of the grandfather of lacrosse fields,” said Urban who added after 12 years it was time to retire the turf that travelled with the team from Edmonton to Saskatoon.
“There was a safety issue, a quality issue, the reality is a field like that is over $300-thousand, you think maybe we can make it work a little bit longer, but we said listen, let’s get a new field, and come out with a beautiful field.”
Rush defender Ryan Dilks is excited about the new pitch.
“Home field advantage is so huge,” said Dilks who felt it will add to the winning atmosphere.
“You play nine times at home in the season so, knowing that we have an unbelievable fan base, we have a great arena, and now we have a brand new turf that will really give us that edge, to keep us undefeated at home, keep us winning those big games that matter.”
The 2016 NLL defender of the year has also signed a three-year contract extension.
Meanwhile Urban said the new turf will be part of the new overall look and feel of Rush home games.
“Our goal is to make the fan experience better every game,” said Urban who promised to take the game night experience to a new level.
“We’re going to ramp it up, you’re going to see some different things this year that we haven’t done in the past,” said Urban who mentioned that includes post-game concerts.
Urban also pointed out their commitment to the growth of the sport in Saskatchewan will be increased.
“Our goal is to get a stick into the hands of every child who wants to play,” said Urban who added the team will work with several organizations to make that a reality.
“Through different outlets, the tribal councils, the inner city programs, boys and girls clubs, the S-L-A (Saskatchewan Lacrosse Association) themselves, to get a pulse on the areas where kids are in need of some equipment and sticks.”
The team also announced it’s hosting the league champion Georgia Swarm Nov. 18 in an exhibition rematch of last season’s Champions Cup final won by the Swarm in two straight games.
Urban emphasized the goal on the field is to win a third championship in four years and take the game to new heights around Saskatchewan.
“We’re excited for the sport, we’re excited for the province,” said Urban.