Nash's handle really sticks

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:17 AM ET

Colorado Mammoth goalie Gee Nash admits he'd much rather have a cool story to tell when asked how he got his nickname.

Though it says Gord on his birth certificate, Gee -- much like Magic Johnson or Babe Ruth -- has superceded his given name. So where did it come from?

Was it something like 'Gee, I wish I could figure out how to score on this guy?'

"Yeah, I wish," laughed Nash, who will backstop the Mammoth when it takes on the Roughnecks tonight (7:30 p.m., 'Dome, Ch. 27) in National Lacrosse League action.

"That would sound better, wouldn't it?"

The reality is Nash is named after his father, Gord, and since a young age was called Gee by his parents. The nickname simply stuck.

Nash picked up another moniker last season when he posted a league-best 11-3 record and top GAA of 10.68: NLL goaltender of the year. The 6-ft. 190-lb., Ajax, Ont., resident was drafted second overall in 1999 by the now-defunct New York Saints.

In four seasons on Long Island, he had a record of 15-28 and a 14.30 GAA.

When the Saints folded and Nash became a free agent, every team in the league -- including the Roughnecks -- came courting.

Nash chose the Mammoth.

"Personally, I think it's gone well for me because we've done well as a team," said Nash, who turned 27 Jan. 17. "The organization is first class and the city has a great sporting atmosphere."

Nash admits he had a tumultuous ride in New York on a club rife with problems, both on and off the floor.

"It was a welcome change," said Nash, who by day is operations manager for 55 Hockey Products, a company owned by Michael Primeau, father of NHLers Keith and Wayne.

"It was unfortunate in New York that situation happened but coming to Denver has really been a breath of fresh air."

Nash gave a lot of the credit for his success in Colorado to the Mammoth's stingy defence, which ranked No. 1 last season.

"The team around me is confident in the way we know we can play and that has helped me personally," said Nash. "I can trust the guys in front of me and they trust me. It works two-fold ... We're comfortable in our system and I think I've been able to flourish."

In the season-opener Jan. 1 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Nash played lights-out for the Mammoth in a 12-7 victory over the Roughnecks, making 47 saves.

Colorado broke the game open in the fourth quarter scoring four goals while the Riggers were stoned by Nash, who stopped all 19 shots he faced in the final frame.

It was a frustrating night for Calgary's potent attack, said veteran forward Jason Wulder, who played with Nash in New York for two seasons.

"He's a tough goalie to figure out," said Wulder. "Usually in this league, you get two types of goalies: A stand-up, angles goalie or a reflex goalie. He kind of plays a hybrid style of both of them and it's pretty tough to read as a shooter."

After his dominating performance in the season-opener, Nash said he has added confidence going into tonight's tilt. But he's still wary of the potentially explosive club.

"They're a great team," said Nash. "They have a lot of great offensive power and for teams like that, you need to mentally prepare and focus ... They really have no weak links in the lineup."


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