The Calgary Roughnecks are a professional box lacrosse team based in Calgary, Alberta. They are members of the Western Conference of the National Lacrosse League (NLL) and play their home games on WestJet Field at Scotiabank Saddledome. The team name is derived from the roughnecks who work drilling rigs in Alberta's oil and gas industry. The team is affectionately known by fans as the Riggers.

Calgary Roughnecks
SportBox lacrosse
LeagueNational Lacrosse League
LocationCalgary, Alberta
ArenaScotiabank Saddledome
ColoursBlack, White, Grey
Head coachJosh Sanderson
General managerMike Board
League titles3 (2004, 2009, 2019)
Division titles5 (2005, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013)
Local mediaFAN 960

The Roughnecks were founded in 2001, their first season was 2002, and they have qualified for the post-season every year from 2003 to 2016. They have won three division championships (2005, 2009, 2011) and have captured the NLL Cup as NLL champions three times. Calgary won all three titles on their home floor, defeating the Buffalo Bandits in 2004, the New York Titans in 2009, and the Bandits again in 2019.

History Edit

Team beginnings Edit

The National Lacrosse League announced on March 28, 2001, that it had awarded an expansion franchise to a group of four owners led by Brad Banister. The idea for the team was formed a year earlier during Calgary's famous Canada Day lacrosse tournament where it was suggested that professional lacrosse could work in Calgary. Within eight weeks of Banister contacting the league, Calgary was announced as the tenth franchise in the NLL at a cost of $500,000.[1] The new team did not immediately announce its nickname, though Banister stated it would relate to the oilpatch.[1] The name was later announced as the "Roughnecks", named after workers on an oil rig.

Kevin Melnyk was installed as the coach and general manager, but as the season approached, Banister felt that the team was in danger of not being prepared for the season, replaced Melnyk. He took over as general manager, and hired Chris Hall to be the coach.[2] The pair sought to build a more veteran team that is typical for an expansion franchise, and traded their first draft pick, Blaine Manning, to the Toronto Rock for Calgary native Kaleb Toth, who was expected to be the team's marquee player.[3]

The team made its debut on November 24, 2001, against the Montreal Express, a fellow expansion team. The Roughnecks lost the game 32–17 in front of 9,517 fans. The score shattered league records for total goals in a game with 49, and Montreal set a new mark for goals by one team.[4] Another loss to the Express followed five days later before the Roughnecks earned their first win in franchise history on December 2 with a 17–11 defeat on the road versus the Ottawa Rebel. The Roughnecks then won three of their next four games, including their first home win on December 14, against the Columbus Landsharks. The team lost its last nine games, however, to finish with a 4–12 record.[5]

First championship Edit

Calgary Roughnecks in 2005

In the 2002-2003 season, the Roughnecks enhanced their record to 9-7, with a very successful 6-2 record at home. Leading the team with 63 points was Tracey Kelusky. Close behind him was Kaleb Toth with 61 points. Before the season started Brad Banister promised the fans the playoffs and they were successful in achieving this goal. They travelled to Buffalo for the first playoff game in franchise history. The team lost 16-9 against the Buffalo Bandits to get knocked out of the playoffs.

The Roughnecks continued their improvement in the 2003-2004 season with a record of 10-6. Lewis Ratcliff lead the team with 71 points. Tracey Kelusky finished second with 69. Again Banister predicted a playoff entry and this time he predicted a home game to boot. Finishing third in the West the only way to get a home playoff game was to meet the third place team from the East. In the playoffs, the Roughnecks beat the San Jose Stealth 15-14 on the road to advance to the conference final. Again on the road, the Roughnecks beat the Colorado Mammoth with a final score of 13-11. On May 7, 2004, the Roughnecks hosted the championship game against the Buffalo Bandits, who had knocked them out of the playoff the previous year. Calgary won the Champion's Cup by beating the Bandits 14-11 in front of a home crowd of 19,289 in the Pengrowth Saddledome.

For the 2004-2005 season former Roughneck player and assistant coach Dave Bremner was hired as general manager.

The Roughnecks hosted the 2005 NLL All Star Game on February 26, 2005. This was the first NLL game televised nationally in the United States; it was broadcast on NBC. Roughnecks' captain Kelusky took home the Most Valuable Player award as the East beat the West in an 11-10 overtime win. The 2005 season saw the Roughnecks come in first place in the Western Conference for the first time in franchise history. This garnered them a bye in the first round of the playoffs. On April 30, they hosted the Arizona Sting for the conference title and lost with a score of 19-15.

Second championship Edit

Devan Wray hoists the Champion's Cup as the Roughnecks celebrate the 2009 championship.

Prior to the 2005-2006 season the Roughnecks hired on former Buffalo GM Kurt Silcott to replace Dave Bremner and become the fourth GM in team history.

After beginning the 2007 NLL season 4-1, the Roughnecks lost three straight games, and Silcott fired the only head coach in Roughnecks history, Chris Hall. Silcott filled in as interim head coach for one game, and then hired former Roughnecks player Jeff Dowling as the second head coach in Roughnecks history on March 9, 2007.[6] He was replaced as Head Coach for the 2008 season by Troy Cordingley,[7] while former Toronto Rock Head Coach Terry Sanderson was added as Assistant Coach.

In 2008, Calgary finished 3rd in the West with a 7-9 record, beat Colorado in the division semi-final, but lost in the division final to the Portland LumberJax. Despite this relatively successful season, general manager Kurt Silcott was fired.[8] Team President Brad Banister gave no reason for the firing other than to say that "the team and Silcott are heading into different directions, and this move would allow both parties to succeed to their full potential" and that he would take over as interim GM.[9]

The 2009 season was the most successful in team history. After opening the year with a record five straight wins, the Roughnecks finished the season 12-4. This allowed Calgary to take first overall in the NLL for the first time ever. They would go on to defeat the Colorado Mammoth and San Jose Stealth in the playoffs and then triumph over the New York Titans 12-10 in the Champion's Cup final to win their first NLL championship since 2004.[10]

Third championship Edit

The 2019 season was up and down for the Roughnecks and they finished the season 10-8. However, they ended it on a winning streak and then upset the suddenly-slumping San Diego Seals in the opening round by a score of 12-11 in San Diego. They then faced the Colorado Mammoth, who had similarly upset the defending champion Saskatchewan Rush and defeated them 8-4 in the West Final in Calgary in one of the lowest-scoring playoff games in NLL history.

This set them up for a best-of-three series against the Buffalo Bandits, which the Roughnecks swept with a 10-7 victory in Game 1 in Buffalo on May 18, and a 14-13 victory in an overtime thriller in Game 2 in Calgary on May 25. Rhys Duch scored the overtime winning goal.

New ownership Edit

Banister announced shortly before the 2011 season began that he had placed the team for sale. He had talks with the National Hockey League's (NHL) Calgary Flames, who indicated at the time they were not interested in the team.[11] Midway through the season, Banister announced that he was late in meeting payroll and that the team was in danger of folding during the season. In a press release, he made an impassioned plea for the city's business community to step forward and save the team.[12]

The announcement touched off several weeks of speculation about the team, its future, and the potential for the Flames to purchase the team.[13] On the floor, the team shrugged off the team's instability, finishing with the best record in the NLL at 11–5. As they were set to face the Colorado Mammoth in the West semi-final, Banister put out another plea to the fans for support in the playoff game, threatening to turn the West final, which Calgary would have had the right to host, to their opponent for the game.[14] The Roughnecks defeated the Mammoth, and played the West final at home, but were eliminated by the Washington Stealth in an upset by a 10–8 score.[15]

The team's future was settled in the off-season, as Banister announced on June 14, 2011, that the Flames had purchased the team, becoming the third NHL franchise to operate an NLL team after the Mammoth and Bandits.[16] As part of the deal, it was announced that Banister would assist in the team's transition period, and was replaced as general manager by former Calgary Herald writer and Flames employee Mike Board.[17]

Mascot Edit

Howie, the honey badger, is the team's official mascot. The Roughnecks introduced the new mascot at a media event on January 26, 2012, and later unveiled the name after holding a naming contest.[18] The team's former mascot is Derrick, an oilpatch rigger.[19] Derrick has since returned as a secondary mascot at games.

Current roster Edit

Active (21-man) roster Inactive roster Coaches
Practice Squad
  • 27   Dylan McIntosh
  • Kieran McKay
  • Chris Willman
Unable to play
Head Coach
Assistant Coaches

  • * Suspended list
  • (C) Captain
  • (A) Alternate captain

[1] updated 2022-12-01
NLL Transactions

All-time record Edit

Season Division/Conference[a] W–L Finish Home Road GF GA Coach Playoffs
2002 Northern 4–12 3rd 2–6 2–6 224 264 Chris Hall Did not qualify
2003 Northern 9–7 2nd 6–2 3–5 209 207 Chris Hall Lost division Semi-Final
2004 Western 10–6 3rd 4–4 6–2 214 187 Chris Hall NLL Champions
2005 Western 10–6 1st 6–2 4–4 216 208 Chris Hall Lost division Final
2006 Western 9–7 3rd 4–4 5–3 183 178 Chris Hall Lost division Semi-Final
2007 Western 9–7 2nd 4–4 5–3 219 202 Chris Hall / Jeff Dowling Lost division Semi-Final
2008 Western 7–9 3rd 5–3 2–6 183 178 Troy Cordingley Lost division final
2009 Western 12–4 1st 5–3 7–1 206 167 Troy Cordingley NLL Champions
2010 Western 10–6 2nd 5–3 5–3 193 169 Dave Pym Lost division Semi-Final
2011 Western 11–5 1st 6–2 5–3 198 181 Dave Pym Lost division Final
2012 Western 12–4 1st 5–3 7–1 216 170 Dave Pym Lost division Semi-Final
2013 Western 9–7 1st 3–5 6–2 222 211 Curt Malawsky Lost division Final
2014 Western 12–6 2nd 6–3 6–3 237 215 Curt Malawsky Lost Championship Final
2015 Western 7–11 3rd 4–5 3–6 212 217 Curt Malawsky Lost division Final
2016 Western 8–10 3rd 5–4 3–6 216 216 Curt Malawsky Lost division Final
2017 Western 8–10 4th 5–4 3–6 212 220 Curt Malawsky Did not qualify
2018 Western 8–10 3rd 5–4 3–6 227 211 Curt Malawsky Lost division Final
2019 Western 10–8 3rd 5–4 5–4 212 201 Curt Malawsky NLL Champions
2020 Western 5–5 4th 1–4 4–1 122 111 Curt Malawsky No playoffs held
2021 Western Season cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic
2022 Western 10–8 2nd 6–3 4–5 194 201 Curt Malawsky Lost Conference Semi-Final
2023 Western 13–5 2nd 7–2 6–3 218 167 Curt Malawsky Lost Conference Final
Total 21 seasons 193–153 99–74 9479 4,333 4,081
Playoff Totals 17 Appearances 19–20 12–10 7–10 428 419 3 championships

Playoff results Edit

Season Game Visiting Home
2003 Quarterfinals Calgary 9 Buffalo 16
2004 Division Semifinal Calgary 15 San Jose 14
Division Final Calgary 13 Colorado 11
Championship Buffalo 11 Calgary 14
2005 Division Final Arizona 19 Calgary 15
2006 Division Semifinal Calgary 17 Colorado 18
2007 Division Semifinal Arizona 13 Calgary 9
2008 Division Semifinal Calgary 15 Colorado 13
Division Final Portland 16 Calgary 12
2009 Division Semifinal Colorado 8 Calgary 15
Division Final San Jose 5 Calgary 17
Championship New York 10 Calgary 12
2010 Division Semifinal Edmonton 11 Calgary 7
2011 Division Semifinal Colorado 6 Calgary 10
Division Final Washington 10 Calgary 8
2012 Division Semifinal Edmonton 19 Calgary 11
2013 Division Semifinal Colorado 10 Calgary 15
Division Final Washington 14 Calgary 13
2014 Division Semifinal Colorado 15 Calgary 16 (OT)
Division Final (Game 1) Edmonton 11 Calgary 12 (OT)
Division Final (Game 2) Calgary 13 Edmonton 15
Division Final (Mini-game) Calgary 2 Edmonton 1
Championship (Game 1) Rochester 7 Calgary 10
Championship (Game 2) Calgary 10 Rochester 16
Championship (Mini-game) Calgary 2 Rochester 3
2015 Division Semifinal Colorado 6 Calgary 11
Division Final (Game 1) Calgary 6 Edmonton 10
Division Final (Game 2) Edmonton 9 Calgary 12
Division Final (Mini-game) Edmonton 4 Calgary 1
2016 Division Semifinal Calgary 11(OT) Colorado 10
Division Final (Game 1) Saskatchewan 16 Calgary 10
Division Final (Game 2) Calgary 9 Saskatchewan 12
2019 Division Semifinal Calgary 12 San Diego 11
Division Final Colorado 4 Calgary 8
Championship (Game 1) Calgary 10 Buffalo 7
Championship (Game 2) Buffalo 13 Calgary 14(OT)
2022 Western Conference Semifinals Colorado 16 Calgary 12
2023 Western Conference Semifinals Panther City 9 Calgary 12
Western Conference Finals Game 1 Calgary 7 Colorado 8
Western Conference Finals Game 2 Colorado 12 Calgary 13
Western Conference Finals Game 3 Colorado 9 Calgary 7

Awards and honours Edit

Award Winner Season
Most Valuable Player Jeff Shattler 2011[20]
Shawn Evans 2013
Shawn Evans 2015
Dane Dobbie 2019
Christian Del Bianco 2023
Rookie of the Year Taylor Wray 2004
Curtis Dickson 2011[21]
Defensive Player of the Year Taylor Wray
Transition Player of the Year Jeff Shattler 2011[20]
Zach Currier 2022
Zach Currier 2023
Goaltender of the Year Mike Poulin 2012[22]
Christian Del Bianco 2023
Sportsman of the Year Tracy Kelusky 2007[23]
Les Bartley Award
Coach of the Year
Troy Cordingley 2009[24]
Curt Malawsky 2023
Executive of the Year Brad Banister 2003
John Bean 2014
Champion's Cup Most Valuable Player Curtis Palidwor 2004
Josh Sanderson 2009
Dane Dobbie 2019

Head coaching history Edit

# Name Term Regular Season Playoffs
1 Chris Hall 2002-2007 88 46 42 .523 6 3 3 .500
2 Kurt Silcott 2007 1 1 0 1.000 - - - -
3 Jeff Dowling 2007 8 4 3 .571 1 0 1 .000
4 Troy Cordingley 2008-2009 32 19 13 .594 5 4 1 .800
5 Dave Pym 2010-2012 48 33 15 .688 4 1 3 .250
6 Curt Malawsky 2013-2023 170 90 80 .529 25 14 11 .560
6 Josh Sanderson 2024 0 0 0 .000 0 0 0 .000

Hall of Famers Edit

See also Edit

Notes Edit

  1. ^ Conference play began in the 2022 season

References Edit

  1. ^ a b Kimberley, Todd (2001-03-29). "Calgary climbs on board". Calgary Herald. p. C5.
  2. ^ Rauw, Murray (2001-11-23). "'Crazy guy's idea about to take flight". Calgary Herald. p. C9.
  3. ^ Rauw, Murray (2001-11-24). "Run-and-gun Roughnecks plot derailment of Express". Calgary Herald. p. E5.
  4. ^ Rauw, Murray (2001-11-25). "No offence, but Calgary flops on defence in debut". Calgary Herald. p. B9.
  5. ^ "Calgary Roughnecks 2002 season schedule". National Lacrosse League. Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2011-06-14.
  6. ^ "Jeff Dowling named Calgary head coach". March 9, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-09.
  7. ^ "Bandit becomes 'Necks New Bench Boss". Calgary Roughnecks web site. July 4, 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-10-07. Retrieved 2007-09-05.
  8. ^ "Roughnecks GM Kurt Silcott Fired". May 17, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
  9. ^ "Roughnecks Release General Manager Kurt Silcott". Calgary Roughnecks website. May 21, 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-06-12. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
  10. ^ "Roughnecks defeat Titans to win second NLL championship". May 15, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-15.
  11. ^ Pilson, Ty (2011-01-05). "Roughnecks for sale". Calgary Sun. Retrieved 2011-06-14.
  12. ^ Busby, Ian (2011-02-22). "Roughnecks may fold". Calgary Sun. Retrieved 2011-06-14.
  13. ^ Cameron, Allen (2011-03-18). "'I'm not going to go begging again'". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2011-06-14.[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ Odland, Kristen (2011-04-21). "Roughnecks GM pleads with fans to support team". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2011-06-14.[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ "Stealth shock Roughnecks in West final". The Sports Network. 2011-05-08. Retrieved 2011-06-14.
  16. ^ "Flames purchase NLL neighbours the Roughnecks". The Sports Network. 2011-06-14. Retrieved 2011-06-14.
  17. ^ "Calgary Flames buy lacrosse team". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2011-06-14. Retrieved 2011-06-14.
  18. ^ "The Newest 'Neck". Calgary Roughnecks. January 26, 2012. Archived from the original on June 2, 2012. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  19. ^ Busby, Ian (January 26, 2012). "Roughnecks officially retire Derrick mascot". Calgary Sun. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  20. ^ a b Busby, Ian (2011-05-12). "Roughnecks' Shattler named NLL MVP". Calgary Sun. Archived from the original on 2012-06-01. Retrieved 2011-06-14.
  21. ^ MacFarlane, Steve (2011-05-10). "Roughneck NLL Rookie of the Year". Calgary Sun. Archived from the original on 2011-08-07. Retrieved 2011-06-14.
  22. ^ "Calgary's Mike Poulin wins Goaltender of the Year". May 10, 2012. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
  23. ^ "Kelusky wins sportsmanship award". National Lacrosse League. 2007-04-30. Archived from the original on 2007-06-12. Retrieved 2011-06-14.
  24. ^ "Cordingley Coach of the Year, Comeau GM". National Lacrosse League. 2009-05-07. Archived from the original on 2009-05-11. Retrieved 2009-05-07.

External links Edit

Preceded by National Lacrosse League Champions
Succeeded by
Preceded by National Lacrosse League Champions
Succeeded by