It was just over five months ago when the Georgia Swarm was presented the Champions Cup at SaskTel Centre. The Saskatchewan Rush get the chance to exact some pre-season revenge Saturday night in their final exhibition tune-up before the 2017-18 National Lacrosse League’s regular season gets underway. The game comes at the end the second weekend of training camp, but their first back in their home province.
Rush veteran defender Ryan Dilks said it was nice to land back in Saskatoon on Thursday night.
“It’s still cold, it’s a little different than the last time we were here,” said Dilks who added the team is excited to play again at SaskTel Centre.
“We love this city, we love the people here, it’s great to see the guys again, it’s a long off-season, but at the same time it’s also great to see the people here and we can’t wait to get back into our building.”
The battle with the Swarm will mark the first game for 11-year NLL veteran Jeff Shattler in a Rush uniform. The point producing forward said the timing was perfect when he was presented with the off-season free agent offer to come to Saskatchewan.
“I got used to playing in Calgary for so long that I was just year in and year out, but this year coming around I got a call from (Coach and GM) Derek Keenan asking to come down to the Rush and I thought it was a great opportunity, a great change,” said Shattler who was happy to know he will be pulling on a Saskatchewan jersey Saturday night.
“I’ve always had battled against you guys, so coming down here and playing for the good guys it’s a good change for me.”
The Edmonton native said staying close to home was part of a two-pronged set of priorities.
“Having Saskatchewan so close to home and my wife being pregnant, this is pretty much the best option for me and my wife and the newborn, so it’s quick travel, they are a great team and they’ve got the best chance for me to win a championship.”
The Rush lost last weekend’s preseason opener 13-11 in Toronto. Dilks said getting back into the win column is important and they are not treating the clash against Georgia like an exhibition game.
“When the other team raises the (Champions) Cup in your building it kind of sticks with you all year and you wish you could start the season the next day but we’ve waited patiently and it’s time again, so it’s kind of nice that we can get a little bit of revenge on them tomorrow (Sat) night, it’s going to be intense,” said Dilks.
Game time is 7;30 p.m. with the Rush Hour pre-game show on 98-COOL-FM signing on at 6;30.