Sticking his 'Necks out

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:38 AM ET

The 'For Sale' sign remains on the Calgary Roughnecks but only local buyers need inquire.

Riggers majority owner Brad Banister said yesterday he's still open to any Calgary groups interested in acquiring his National Lacrosse League team, which was eliminated from the playoffs 19-15 by Arizona Saturday night at the 'Dome.

"I'd like to sell it to a party in Calgary only," said Banister, who wouldn't comment on his asking price. "Obviously, I don't want to see it leave. If there's no takers for the right price, I'm not going to give it away. I'll hang in there for another year and keep trying to make a go of it.

"We have a couple of good corporate sponsorships we're working on, including an airline, which would really help our costs a lot."

Calgary averaged about 10,300 fans a game this year which -- given the NHL lockout and the fact the Roughnecks were the defending NLL champions -- was a disappointment, said Banister.

"We were a good team to watch -- exciting -- and we were first place in the West and we still didn't fill the stands," said Banister.

"So, I don't know what it takes to fill the stands."

The likely addition of an NLL team in Edmonton next season would be a major boon for Banister.

"If Edmonton is in, that's probably a $100,000 savings right there in travel costs," said Banister. "So, I'm very excited about that if it happens. And the rivalry would likely help the bottom line as well."

Although the Riggers got the boot from the playoffs, Banister said he was pleased with his players and coaching staff this year.

"We did phenomenal for what we went through this year," said Banister. "We had a lot of problems with injuries."


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