Riggers may feast on Ravens' remains

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 6:58 AM ET

The Vancouver Ravens, long kept alive on life support, officially flatlined last night. Tom Mayenknecht, the National Lacrosse League team's founder and governor, informed the league the Ravens won't go ahead with the 2005 season and asked to be taken off the schedule.

The Blackbirds, 2001 expansion cousins of the defending champion Calgary Roughnecks, were mired in one ownership crisis after another since their inception and the league gave the team five days last week to get its financial house in order or close shop.

The Ravens' departure has major implications for the Riggers, who were slated to play their archrivals four times this season (Jan. 21, Jan. 22, April 9, April 16).

The league reported last night a revised schedule will be released shortly, perhaps as soon as today. Dates and times aren't expected to change, just the opponents for certain dates.

As well, a two-round dispersal draft will be held today (4 p.m. by teleconference) to liquidate the Ravens' roster.

Calgary, as defending champs, will choose last in each round, 10th and 20th.

The Roughnecks' braintrust burned up the phone lines last night mapping out its strategy for today, which could include trading up in the dispersal draft.

As well, Vancouver's impressive list of unrestricted free agents is also up for grabs. Goalie Dwight Maetche, defenders Pat Coyle and Andy Ogilvie and forwards Chris Gill, Dan Stroup and Curt Malawsky are all players the Riggers are eyeing.

"We're obviously interested in all the players available out of Vancouver," said Roughnecks GM Dave Bremner. "They're all very talented lacrosse players. We're going to re-evaluate our team tonight and then get together tomorrow morning and go from there.

"We're constantly looking to improve this club. We're not happy with one championship, we want more. If this can help us do that, we're going to take advantage of it."


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