Riggers coach to play it cool

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:07 AM ET

Despite an early exit from the playoffs, the Calgary Roughnecks won't be making any wholesale changes in the off-season.

At least, not by choice.

Calgary head coach Chris Hall said while the team's 19-15 loss to Arizona Saturday in the West Division final was disappointing, a roster overhaul for the defending National Lacrosse League champions isn't necessary.

"We're always in the market to get better," said Hall. "But I don't think we need to make any wholesale changes. We played well considering how tough we had it with injuries and a lot of your young guys stepped up and played really well.

"So, I think it's more just a matter of tweaking and adding a piece or two -- like another shut-down defenceman -- if we can."

Still, there could be lots of changes depending on expansion, with one to three teams rumoured to be joining the league.

One bid that appears to be all but a done deal is the one submitted by Calgary businessman Bruce Urban to buy the dormant Ottawa Rebel franchise and move it to Edmonton.

The NLL's board of governors is expected to hold a conference call today to vote on the bid.

"It remains to be seen what will happen with expansion and what players we'll lose because of that," said Hall.

"Once you know how many, if any, teams are coming and how the expansion draft will work, you can plan for it. Then we'll sit down and look at the roster and decide who to protect and who not to."

HANDING OUT HARDWARE: Calgary Roughnecks vice-president and former Sun editor-in-chief Bob Poole was named the league's public relations executive of the year while Al Tate, who's been with the club since Day 1, was named the equipment manager of the year.

Both Poole and Tate expressed gratitude for the awards, announced yesterday.

"I am absolutely flabbergasted but extremely honoured by my award," said Poole.

Said Tate: "It's a true labour of love. I love the sport, I love the Roughnecks and I love the guys in the dressing room."

Colorado Mammoth forward Gary Gait, the league's all-time leading scorer who retired after the season, received the league's sportsmanship award.

The NLL will continue to hand out hardware leading up to the Champion's Cup final in Toronto May 14.

Riggers transition threat Jesse Phillips has an outside shot at defender of the year, which will be announced today.

Calgary bench boss Chris Hall is in the running for coach of the year Thursday along with Toronto's Terry Sanderson and Arizona's Bob Hamley.

Roughnecks captain Tracey Kelusky is a shoo-in to be named to either the league's first or second all-pro team, which will be announced May 11.


Photos