Riggers reap rewards

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 6:37 AM ET

Christmas came early for the Calgary Roughnecks yesterday. The defending National Lacrosse League champions made the best out of the Vancouver Raven's demise -- the team ceased operations Tuesday night -- inking a pair of high-profile former Blackbirds to one-year contracts.

Forward Chris Gill and defenceman Andy Ogilvie -- who both played with the Ravens last season and were unrestricted free agents who had committed to play in Vancouver for 2005 -- were added to an already potent Roughnecks lineup.

As well, the Riggers selected defender Rob Williams with the last pick in the dispersal draft, held yesterday to liquidate the Ravens' roster.

So how much better are the Roughnecks now than they were yesterday morning?

"Considerably better," said Calgary GM Dave Bremner. "We weren't disappointed with what we had before but are we better now? Yes, we're much better. There's no doubt about that."

Gill, who briefly served as captain of the Ravens last year after a tumultuous final season with the floundering club, is one of the league's best goal scorers.

He was second in the NLL in 2002 with 53 goals and has recorded 231 goals and 384 points in 106 regular-season games. He won two championships with the Toronto Rock in 1999 and 2001.

"I was only going to play in the West," said Gill, a Vancouver firefighter. "And Calgary was a really good fit for me. It's the closest and they've won it before."

Gill, who should slide in nicely on the left crease in place of retired Ted Dowling, is happy for a fresh start in Calgary.

"Yeah, a lot of us had some frustration over the last few years," said Gill. "A fresh start is huge. All of us (in Vancouver) have had a rough go the last few couple of years and we want to look forward now."

Ogilvie is one of the NLL's top pugilists and an upper-echelon defender, known for his rough, aggressive style of play.

The 39-year-old is entering his seventh season in the league and has recorded 12 goals, 54 assists, 385 loose balls and 258 penalty minutes in 54 regular-season games.

Although a free agent, Ogilvie was designated Vancouver's franchise player and therefore Calgary had to give up its first pick in the dispersal draft yesterday (10th overall) after signing him.

"If you can't beat them, join them," joked Ogilvie, who was traded to the Buffalo Bandits before the playoffs last year and then dealt back to the Ravens in the off-season.

The league still has to release a revised schedule. Calgary was slated to play the Ravens four times this year. Dates and times of Calgary's current schedule aren't expected to change, only certain opponents.

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MEET YOUR NEW ROUGHNECKS

CHRIS GILL (Forward)

AGE: 32

HT/WT: 5 ft. 11 in., 185 lb.

* Has played eight seasons with Vancouver, Toronto, Ontario and Baltimore. Recorded 231g, 153a in 106 games.

ANDY OGILVIE (Defence)

AGE: 39

HT/WT: 6 ft. 1 in., 218 lb.

* Has played six seasons with Vancouver and Buffalo. Recorded 12g, 54a, in 54 games.

ROB WILLIAMS (Defence)

AGE: N/A

HT/WT: 6 ft. 2 in., 205 lb.

* Has played five seasons with Vancouver, Ontario and Baltimore. Recorded 11g, 31a in 56 regular-season games.


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