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Saskatchewan Rush prepare for season opener

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The Saskatchewan Rush are gearing up for the 2023/2024 regular season opener with nearly a dozen new faces on the roster, and a new logo to go along with them.

“I’m super excited,” said Laine Hruska, goaltender. “Obviously we had a nice hard training camp, and the team’s looking really good, really hungry, so we’re all excited and ready to get after it this weekend.”

Driving from Warman, Hruska is the closest player on the team to Sasktel Centre. Growing up playing for the Saskatchewan Swat and now the Rush, he’s living the dream.

“Playing in the league is a dream come true,” Hruska told CTV News. “Not only for my hometown team, that just adds a different level of special.”

Hruska got his first two wins last season, one against the Colorado Mammoth and one against the Las Vegas Desert Dogs.

When he got to pick his number with the Rush, he chose #46 to pay tribute to the victims of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash on April 6th, 2018.

“I never really got a chance to pick my own number until I got into the NLL,” said Hruska. “So once I did, I chose that number as a way to commemorate them.”

Further adding to its roots in the province, the first ever professional lacrosse game was played in Moose Jaw last weekend when the Calgary Roughnecks and Saskatchewan Rush had their final pre-season tune-up.

“As someone who grew up in Saskatchewan, never in a million years did I think I would see something like that,” said Cody Janzen, Rush play-by-play voice.

“And it was so special to be a part of it. I know the players appreciated it. You're playing in front of 4,500 fans for a preseason game. There’s preseason games that are in front of 25 fans,” he said.

“It’s really exciting to see lacrosse growing in the province,” Hruska said. “But also letting people from different parts of the province get a taste of, not only what Rush games are like, but also what lacrosse in general is like,”

Some of the new faces on the roster come from the Rocky Mountain Junior Lacrosse League, which spans Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Hruska says it’s another sign of the growth of lacrosse on the prairies.

“Everyone thinks lacrosse is just BC and Ontario for the most part, but the Rocky Mountain League is definitely continuing to develop and a lot more players are coming out of there into the league,” he said.

Coming off an 8-10 season, the team has shed its connection to Edmonton by giving the team a new logo and identity in Saskatchewan.

“I always thought that the Saskatchewan Rush could use their own identity and I was so happy when I heard it was happening,” said Janzen. “It's no longer living off the past. It's a new era on the floor and off the floor and it really just gels perfectly.”

The new-look Saskatchewan Rush take their game on the road to Halifax Friday night against the Thunderbirds. The Rush home opener is on December 9 at Sasktel Centre against the Rochester Knighthawks. 

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