Home date saves face

DARREN FRIESEN -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:07 AM ET

Calgary Roughnecks' accountants are as happy as their fans.

Majority owner Brad Banister said yesterday's 17-10 win over the visiting Arizona Sting -- which secured the Roughnecks a home playoff date -- kept the local National Lacrosse League squad alive in the city.

"That saved the franchise," Banister said.

"It totally saved the franchise."

The receipts from a home playoff date will put about $250,000 into the team's coffers, he added.

"We're in debt a lot of money and hopefully this will make a bunch of that back. Hopefully, with any luck, we'll break even on the year," said Banister.

The Roughnecks played before an announced crowd of 10,140 yesterday, although there appeared to be significantly less people in the stands.

The Roughnecks average 10,005 fans per game, which ranks fourth in the NLL.

Toronto and Colorado sit one-two respectively in the league, often drawing more than 17,000.

"We have a very loyal fan base of 10,000 that comes to every game and that's fantastic," Banister said. "But we're in a playoff hunt and today's game was crucial to the survival of this game being in Calgary."

The Roughnecks (9-5) will need a win in one of their final two games -- either Saturday against Buffalo or April 17 against Toronto -- to earn a first-round bye.

The Roughnecks (9-5) clinched a post-season berth last month.

Banister refused to divulge specifics about the team's financial picture but said the team continues to face hard times, making yesterday's win that much more meaningful.

"We've always been struggling," he explained.

"This year's been better than any other year and things get better every year.

"It would be nice if everyone came and saw a game like (today's) but next Saturday is the Buffalo Bandits, which should be good."

Banister wasn't too upset with the many empty seats in the Saddledome yesterday.

"The weather's good ... Maybe they're fishing. Who knows?" he said.

"It's disappointing but we've got Buffalo coming to town ... It should be sold out after last year's championship game."


Videos

Photos