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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

STACKHOUSE'S SOAPBOX: FEEL THE RUSH

By: Mike Stackhouse

The Saskatchewan Rush are a fun team to get behind.

I took in my first game on Friday night and I left having witnessed a 16-12 win over the Vancouver Stealth.  I’m no expert, so I’m not about to suggest which player could have been better or had an off night, etc; but I will say the NLL has some potential to win me over as more than just a casual ‘Rush fan’.  I’m contemplating ponying up the $40 to watch all league games online.

Here’s what I liked about my lacrosse experience:  it’s fast, a game geared around offense and you see lots of it.  Creativity isn’t lacking.  A number of goals were of the highlight reel variety.  I also felt, having seen the scores and not really watched a game before, that I may actually get tired of all the scoring and it be, somewhat, anti-climatic after a while.  It wasn’t.

It’s rough.  Goaltenders can be hit when they start to wander.  While there were no fights, there was a scent of it in the atmosphere that something could break at any moment.  And, some of the things I’m used to seeing in hockey that are penalties are not penalties in lacrosse and that suits me just fine.

BETTER RULES

The stoppages are quick too.  I deplore video challenges, but the two that occurred in this game were over in under a minute.  If the ball leaves play, another one is dropped instantly and play goes on.  No face-off, no posturing by the linesman, and no purposeful delaying by either team to catch a breather.  I think there were two television timeouts during each period (or quarter, I’m not sure what they are even called) and you could see on the scoreboard how much time was remaining in the breaks before it was game on again.  There was, essentially, that same two minute break in between the first and second and then again between the third and fourth.  Halftime was 18 minutes.  Perfect.

I am no expert, but I have to think that those who make the rules in hockey could watch a few lacrosse games and come up with ways to implement a variation of what they see in lacrosse to hockey.

At the start of the game, the PA announcer trashed the Stealth when they were introduced by saying it was the worst real estate market in Canada.  I loved it.  Then, when someone went to the penalty box, it was time to ‘cool off’.  That was sponsored, naturally, by an air conditioning company.

There is a shot clock, which I’m not saying hockey needs necessarily, but am I the only one who has noticed the 3 on 3 overtime has become a five minute mini game of keep-away?  Maybe we need an overtime shot clock in hockey.

All line changes are on the fly.  I know hockey has contemplated something like this and I, for one, would be interested in seeing if it makes a difference with regards to flow, offensive chances, and overall speed of the game as far as playing it a few minutes faster than the present model.  There was also a session afterwards where youngsters could go on the field and meet the players for autographs.  Being engaged with your fan base never hurts.

SASKATOON ENVY

I’ve seen comments on social media from a number of Regina people (mainly Roughrider fans) who mock the Rush and refuse to get behind it.  You are cheating yourself.  The Rush are in their second year of existence and have a league championship already.

I think we all know where that compares if you want to compare success of the Rush vs success of the Roughriders.  I don’t live in Regina, so maybe it’s just a Saskatoon thing.  Since it’s Saskatoon, you don’t like it.  Petty.  Childish.

THE BEST OF THE BEST

The other thing I think we need to understand is that when it comes to lacrosse, you won’t see better.  These are the best players in North America and the Rush are a top team.  The CFL really isn’t the best football we can see.  I know we love to pretend it’s on par with the NFL and just different; but there are no Aaron Rodgers or Tom Bradys or Ben Roethlisbergers or Odell Beckhams or JJ Watts in the CFL.  That is not to disparage the CFL.  I have, often, felt that Canadian football fans have the best of both worlds because they can watch both, while Americans don’t really know the CFL the way we know the NFL.

Don’t take my word for it.  Go watch for yourself and if you don’t enjoy the game, atmosphere, and overall rock show; then that is your prerogative.  But, I think if you are honest with yourself  you will discover there just may be room in your life for a new sports team to cheer for.

*Mike Stackhouse is a Yorkton-based freelance reporter and contributor to RodPedersen.com.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good column but it could've left out the whole "Saskatoon envy angle". Why go there? The Rush are nearly selling out every game and Lee Genier himself has said they get great support from Regina and lots of other places outside of Saskatoon. I live in Saskatoon and I have had several friends make the trip up from Regina to catch a game and they loved it. You try to compare their relative level of success to the Riders but did the Riders begin year 1 by purchasing the league championship franchise and moving it here? Let's see Rush fans live through an 11 year playoff drought and we'll see how strong the fan base is. Easy to jump on board the bandwagon with a winner. And saying these are the best lacrosse players in the world while CFL players are 2nd rate? Nice. Talk about petty and childish.

Anonymous said...

^^^^ This guy nails it on the head. That comment was not needed. I will not read this column going forward, Rod you'll get the hits but this clown needs to pull it back a bit.

M7A0S8T8E5R

Anonymous said...

I'll echo the previous comment that this was a pretty childish column but it fits right into this blog.

Anonymous said...

I feel the comments about Saskatoon / Riders were not needed either but if you go back and read any Rush posts on this site, you will see the trolls he is talking about. Biggest thing about the Rush is you need to go to a game, I have made it up to most of the games and I have yet to hear a comment from someone leaving the rink that isnt they cant wait to come back. You are tired when you leave the game. It is non stop energy from open to close. They have a great thing going there and once they get their footing they will start expanding more into other areas to do promoting. Dont harp on Mike and his comments, he just got caught up in the negative comments from people on previous posts.

Moe

Anonymous said...

The Rush actually played their first season in 2006, so it is not their second year of existence. As a Reginan I agree that there probably is a bit of jealousy toward the Rush, but as a lacrosse fan I love that I can go to games. Saskatchewan is fortunate that they inherited an already championship team, hopefully attendance and attention stays IF the team doesn't stay competitive.

Anonymous said...

look at all you window lickers from Regina, getting all territorial. for all that time you had the only game in town and now the rush come in with a more exciting brand and they WIN!!! and feathers get ruffled because regina, more importantly rider fans get pissy. just another reason rider fan is a dying breed.

Anonymous said...

What a childish article this is, the inferiority complex from Saskatoon continues. It's not just Saskatoon that supports the Rush, although they like to think they do. NLL players are great athletes and provide good entertainment. However they are as professional as Senior Hockey players that play for pay. They take time off from there jobs,fly to games and practice very little. Overall a very disappointing article.

Anonymous said...

Won a championship in their first year of existence? You would have to be completely ignorant to the fact they were in Edmonton for the previous 9 years when they were called the Edmonton Rush..... How very Saskatoonish to omit these simpleton facts to concoct a jab against Regina and the Riders.

Anonymous said...

But what about Moose Jaw !!! Come on man, were people too.

Anonymous said...

Maybe read the whole article and see where the writer is from before posting comments....

John Knight said...

I don't live in Regina or Saskatoon and don't see what Regina people are complaining about in the article. My god if your skin is that thin you better be careful in the sun. I am proud we have both the Riders and Rush in our province and one is not taking fans from the other

Anonymous said...

Finally we hear something that we should have heard long ago and it comes from Mike Stackhouse. Good Job Mike. Usually when you come on here it is all about the Pat's and Riders and very seldom anything positive about Saskatoon although Rod Pedersen has thrown in a few good words lately about the Rush. We know in Saskatoon that the Pat's have a far superior team than the Blades , and if you don't know that just read this Blog every day and you will soon find out. Yes, we admit it but why do so many Regina people come on here and knock the Rush ? Lacrosse is a great sport and so much fun to attend and watch with tons of non stop action and people having fun watching it.
Possibly that is why there are 15,000 fans at every game . Come to Saskatoon and take in a game ( IF YOU CAN GET A TICKET ) you won't be disappointed.

Anonymous said...

Great comments.

Anonymous said...

In your dreams sweetheart.

Anonymous said...

Typical Toon Towner, wants to believe Regina is jealous of Saskatoon because of the Rush. The NLL is the best of the best! Really. They are mercenaries that play for $20k a year and get the crap beat out of them. Keep riding your Saskatoon high horse Mr.Stackhouse. I love the Riders with local players who become part of the community.


Anonymous said...

The Riders have local players?

Ed said...

Man, Mike is right on the button today isn't he? and the guy who said " let them live thru 11 losing years and see what they have for fans"......Uh remember what the riders had for fans then? It wasn't much, but thanks for the laugh anyway because that line brought to memory that great tune the riders put out...11 years that's enough!

Anonymous said...

cfl players play for 20-30K too you hacks. my god regina has thin skin

Anonymous said...

So it's OK for a Yorkton "Freelancer" to sing the praises of NLL, and trash the CFL in the process. CFL fans are insulted and are called thin skinned for defending a game and team that has been around for over 100 years?

John Knight said...

Can you name one CFL player playing for $20,000? The league minimum is higher than that. Idiot

Anonymous said...

Mike great article. Both my sons have played lacrosse for 20+ years and the love it. The entertainment value of a NLL game is great. We have been to a lot of the Rush games and really like the games.

This is not Saskatoon vs Regina thing. Neither the Riders or the Rush would be able to survive 100% of local support. Both need support from outside their respective cities.

I have been all major sporting events live (NFL, CFL, NHL, NBA, NLL, College football-NCAA & CIS)and the best dollar value is the NLL. If you have not been to a NLL game live you can't comment on how it. Go to a game first before passing judgement.

BW from Regina

PS. To compare the NLL players to Senior hockey players is absurd. My son plays Senior hockey and lacrosse and he can't compare with the NLL players. A lot of the NLL players also play professional lacrosse in the summer in the Major Lacrosse League.

Anonymous said...

Wow... this was the worst thing I've seen on this site.

The envy? Why even bring it up? Seriously why even bother. Obviously we know your hidden agendas. Why start a rivalry over our teams dumb ass.

The best of the best? Aren't these guys a bunch of tradesman who come in to town for a game? How professional that? And your comparing them to NFL superstars.

Didnt this writer run the Sjhl lol, yikes. Those power ranking mean sack now after readying the quality of this article.

there is thousands of people in regina wanting to go see the rush and check out the experience... but you get some guy that knows nothing about sports writing really pisses me off. How does he even have credit.

Rod you need to axe this guy. We don't need someone causing drama within ourselves.

Go riders
Go pats.
Go rush.



Anonymous said...


I can't get behind the Rush. They have absolutely zero presence in Regina. No player appearances, no games, no camps, no nothing.

Saskatchewan's "real" professional team makes themselves seen, but not these guys.

Argue it all you want, but its fact!

Anonymous said...

My little sister knows more about sports than John Knight

Anonymous said...

That isn't THIN SKIN these Regina people don't have SKIN at all they are all DUMMIES. Get a Life Regina.