Riggers lose King

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:06 AM ET

The King's chance to reign in Calgary is over.

Calgary Roughnecks backup goaltender Matt King -- one of only two Riggers to suit up for every game since the team's inception three years ago -- was selected yesterday by Minnesota in the National Lacrosse League's expansion draft.

"I had kind of reserved myself to the fact I was probably going there," King said yesterday from his home in Victoria. "Better to have yourself prepared if it happens. I had hoped to be (in Calgary) for a long time but there's nothing you can do about it."

Although King -- an education student at University of Victoria -- told the Sun he might not be able to play for an eastern-based team this season, given the full-time teaching practicum he starts in January, Minnesota GM Marty O'Neill still chose to grab the 23-year-old.

O'Neill may have to trade King.

"It'll be minimal playing time," figured King of this season. "It's going to be tough. I won't be able to practise all the time or play all the time. If it was up to me, I'd play every game but my schedule probably won't allow that."

NLL teams protected two goalies and 10 runners or one goalie and 13 runners for the expansion draft. Calgary chose the latter, protecting starting netminder Curtis Palidwor and leaving King exposed.

Roughnecks GM Dave Bremner, recently promoted from his post as director of player personnel, said the team's braintrust -- including president Brad Banister and head coach Chris Hall -- deemed it more important to protect additional runners to keep the team's nucleus in place.

"With the great season Curtis had last year and with Matty being a very capable goaltender, it was a tough decision," said Bremner. "But we felt it was in our best interests to protect the youth on the floor and that's why we made the decision we did."

King was drafted in the third round (29th overall) in 2001 and was tagged as the team's goalie of the future. However, the solid play of Palidwor last season --culminating in him being named MVP of Calgary's championship win in May parently made King expendable.

With the departure of King -- who played 192.2 minutes last season with a GAA of 12.17 and a save percentage of .719 -- the defending champion Riggers will look to fill the backup spot.

The team does have 28-year-old Windsor native Chris Levis on its practice roster.

"There are some out there (as free agents)," said Bremner, "and there are some kids entering the (Oct. 26 entry) draft that are reasonable goalies. I'm not going to say too much about that, though, because there's one we feel is really good."

Other notable players selected yesterday by Minnesota included former Roughnecks captain Bruce Alexander -- taken from the Vancouver Ravens -- and Edmonton product Jon Harasym, selected from the Rochester Knighthawks.


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