Another title in Riggers' sight

DARREN FRIESEN -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:03 AM ET

Out of sight, out of mind.

That is the superstitious mentality Tracey Kelusky has taken towards the National Lacrosse League championship trophy.

After winning the coveted prize last spring, the Calgary Roughnecks captain spent the summer showing off the Champion's Cup.

Now, a new season is upon the defending champs and Kelusky wants nothing more to do with the fancy hardware.

"I don't want to see it anymore," said Kelusky. "It's like when it came into town before the playoffs last year, we didn't want to see it 'cause we were still playing for it.

"Nothing's changed now, either. Last year's forgotten and we're once again playing for the NLL championship."

The Roughnecks opened their defence of the league title last weekend in Colorado but failed to pick up where they left off, losing 12-7 to the Mammoth.

Their attention now turns to their home opener tomorrow night when they host the San Jose Stealth (7:30 p.m., Saddledome).

The game will mark the first time the Riggers have played at the 'Dome since they captured their first NLL crown last year by beating the Buffalo Bandits 14-11 in front of sellout Calgary crowd.

Despite all attempts to keep the trophy out of view, Kelusky will be unable to avoid it when the local franchise honours its team before tomorrow's game.

Raising the championship banner, distributing the individual rings and, of course, displaying the large piece of championship hardware all will be part of the pre-game ceremonies.

"I'm pretty superstitious. I know lots of the guys are pretty superstitious but there is some stuff you have to do for the fans," explained Kelusky.

"Obviously, being the champions and having the trophy there is all part of that. For the fans, I think it's important that they see it so they can go back to last year and remember what it felt like.

"The chance for me to embrace and reflect on winning the championship will be more for when my playing days are over."

Kelusky's teammate and assistant captain Kaleb Toth isn't as superstitious. He doesn't pay attention to extraneous activities and keeps his mind on the game.

"I couldn't really care," said Toth of the Cup fanfare. "We won the championship and it was a great thing but now it's a new season. Right now we're 0-1 and that's the way I'm looking at it.

"We're the defending champs but when you're defending, you've got to win."


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