Carpet bombing

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:11 AM ET

Brad Banister has had enough of the worsening floor follies at the Saddledome.

The Calgary Roughnecks majority owner and president charges the state of the team's playing carpet reached a new low before their season-opener against the San Jose Stealth Jan. 7.

"I'm not happy at all," said Banister. "I shouldn't have to spend four hours down at the Saddledome before the game on my hands and knees with my sleeves rolled up, so we can get the game on national television. That's ridiculous."

The state of the rug was so rough prior to the game, the refs wouldn't let the National Lacrosse League game go ahead until the many bulges and seams were flattened as a matter of player safety.

In fact, Roughnecks assistant captain Kaleb Toth rolled his ankle during warm-up and hobbled through the next two games.

Banister, along with other Riggers personnel, spent hours re-laying the carpet until the stripes finally gave it the green light and the nationally televised game went ahead.

Banister puts the blame on Saddledome staff -- employed by the Roughnecks' landlords, the Flames -- who store, put down and pull up the carpet.

Flames president Ken King expressed regret over the state of the floor for the San Jose game.

"We did have some challenges and that was unfortunate," said King yesterday.

"We've addressed them and I think things will be better as we go along."

The 1-2 Roughnecks play their second home game of the season tomorrow night against the 2-1 Arizona Sting (7:30 p.m., Sportsnet).

Banister said he feels his team's carpet -- worth more than $150,000 -- is now in the worst shape of any team in the league because of its poor maintenance.

"They need to store it better," said Banister. "Treat it like it was their own. Have a bit more responsibility."

QUICK STICKS: This year's National Lacrosse League all-star game at the Saddledome will set a record for the quickest tilt in the history of the 10-team loop.

To accommodate NBC, which will broadcast the game live across North America into

122-million homes, the game will played in less than two hours. Halftime will be shortened from 15 minutes to eight and running time will be used throughout most of the game.

"It's great NBC is covering it but it's too bad we have to cram it into two hours," said Calgary forward Kaleb Toth, who took part in last year's showcase tilt in Denver and won the hardest shot contest.

"It might make the game a bit more exciting, it may take away from it a bit? Only time will tell."


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