A Feeling of RUSH in the Air

 

RUSH players Brett Mydske (BC) and Tyler Codron (ON) took a moment to pose with their friends of the Canadian Military, 
the 20th Field regiment and a large cannon, at the opening of the RUSH Training Camp at the LRC, December 16.
 
The Holiday Spirit might be in the air, but for some, all that is put aside when their favorite sport is experiencing a special moment.  In the City of Leduc, sports fans gathered recently to witness a unique December tradition:  the RUSH Training Camp.  The Edmonton-based National Lacrosse League member Lacrosse team (NLL), its players, coaches and management came to the Leduc Recreation Centre on December 16 and 17 to train, rally, learn and bond as a team.  
The first order of business on Friday night was a photo session featuring several RUSH players, and a large contingent of the Canadian Military.  Most of the 23 RUSH players were in attendance, and donned their brand new jerseys to pose for an official photo promoting their new promotional allies, the Canadian Military, represented by the 20th Field Regiment, based at Debney Armory.  In fact, the Rush has struck an ‘alliance’ with the Canadian Military, and the cover of the Season’s first program will feature this photo taken at the LRC of these two ‘teams’, white and black jerseys among dark green camo-clad soldiers, surrounding a large and impressive cannon.  
  When the LRC underwent a multi-million dollar expansion a few years ago, the facility became the Rush practice field.  The Rush roster includes players from Canada and the US who fly into the region for practice sessions and games, so the facility that is conveniently located close to the Edmonton International was an ideal choice for the team.   A veteran of the Rush organisation, Coach Todd Lorenz shared that: “We are fortunate to be calling this wonderful facility “home”.  The LRC staff is fantastic, and we are grateful for all the support the Leduc community has given us in the past few years.  We are excited to be here for our Annual Training Camp, our first opportunity of the Season to introduce our new recruits to the team and the management, and to get together as a team.”  
Fit and cheerfully energetic, Coach Lorenz added that with several new players recruited in the summer Lacrosse leagues of Ontario and BC, mostly younger, Junior A players, the new roster promises a stronger and faster team, delivering a winning performance for the season ahead.  The LRC being the practice locale for the RUSH, a large stand-up poster of a RUSH goalie stands guard near their east-side Fieldhouse, and it actually bears some pocket-size RUSH 2012 game schedules.  
The hands-on President of the Rush Lacrosse Club, Gordon Sawyer, promises a stronger than ever defensive and an all-around faster, more aggressive team focused on performance and triumph!
Lacrosse is an indoor, fast and very physical sport where men holding a ‘stick’ with a little net at the end throw, pass and score with a small and very hard white ball.  Helmets are worn, shin guards sometimes; body contact, bruises, scrapes and occasional injuries are part of the game.  Scores can be high, such as the pre-season Scrimmage last Sunday where the final score between the Edmonton RUSH and the Calgary Roughnecks was a 12-12 tie. 
There are only 9 teams in the NLL, a 21-year old franchise and the Season is short, to the sorrow of Lacrosse fans. It is not an Olympic sport (yet), but competition on the international level is fierce and gaining momentum. At the 2006 World Lacrosse Championships, 20 countries participated:  the 2010 Games saw players from 30 countries compete!  Africa and Asia are the two continents that do not have Lacrosse representation on a high level.  
As the professional Lacrosse pay structure does not come close to that of professional hockey, football or basketball, most professional lacrosse players have other careers.  Jimmy Quinlan and Ryan Ward, popular veteran RUSH players, are both school teachers who invest a lot of their time off into summer lacrosse clinics. Ryan admits that he enjoys these clinics, and that in the summer of 2011, some 80 kids from the Leduc region were registered in their Rush clinic.  Many people in the region have been faithful Rush fans since the 2005 inception of the team, such as Keith Joyce, a Beaumont resident and season ticket holder who came to watch some of the Rush training and who is looking forward to attending the season opener with his wife – and their newborn daughter! (we assume, a future Rush fan as well...)
At their home games, the Rush offers something that is seldom seen at professional sports games: Team Ambassadors!  These fun and dynamic volunteers share their passion for the game as they greet Rush fans arriving at Rexall Place on game days.  They also gather a bus load of friends and fans to go south to take in Edmonton vs Calgary games.  The organisation welcomes new ambassadors, and the Edmonton Rush website (edmontonrush.com) offers an application for those wishing to join the Ambassador team.  
The National Lacrosse League has announced a new application for Smart Phones called SportOn, where great saves and scores can be replayed for the sports enthusiasts.  Along with innovative ideas, a professional dance group the Crush cheering the team on (check out the Edmonton’s Crush Dance Team on Facebook) and great writing on their website, the Edmonton Rush represents the sport of Lacrosse at its best, and ensures that the Lacrosse enthusiasts get their money’s worth at the Rush home games, at the away games, and every day in between!  
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