Turner revs up Rush

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 6:57 AM ET

Andrew Turner can be forgiven for being slightly distracted during his whirlwind visit to Edmonton.

While excited to be helping the Edmonton Rush launch their season-ticket campaign, Turner is focused on leading the Victoria Shamrocks to the Mann Cup.

"I'm very involved in another series, but being here is fantastic because the city seems to be taking to the Rush. It's a great feeling to be part of it," said Turner, who could earn a trip to the senior national championship as Victoria leads the series 3-1 over Coquitlam.

The expansion National Lacrosse League team has certainly taken to Turner - so much so that the Rush were willing to part with the No. 2 pick in the NLL draft in order to land last season's top defenceman.

"He is going to be the face of the team," said NLL commissioner Jim Jennings.

BUILDING

Although he'll be in and out of the city in less than a day, Turner senses the Rush are building the team in the right direction.

In Rochester, where Turner played last season, the Knighthawks were a popular draw - more than 9,000 fans most nights. This summer, Turner's crew in Victoria is playing to capacity crowds.

It will be a chore for the Rush to compete for attention alongside the Oilers, Eskimos and Edmonton's other sporting choices, but the makings are there for success.

"Once fans get in the building and see how fast-paced the action is - there's no red line, there's no offside, it's very free-flowing - they're going to be excited to see it," said Turner.

"There's highlight-reel goals. There's lot of things for fans to get excited about."

And there's the physicality of the game.

Turner has dished out his share of bone-jarring jolts and has even dropped the mitts a few times.

The bodychecks and occasional brawling might initially deter some fans, but they'll be back, figures Turner, once they see the complete game.

"For every two big hits, there's 10 big goals," he said.

"Once fans see the action, the goals and the big saves, that's what will keep them there."

STAFFING SITUATION: Rush general manager and head coach Paul Day filled out the remainder of his bench staff yesterday, hiring Daren Fridge and Jim Milligan as his assistants. Fridge is currently head coach of the Maple Ridge Burrards in the B.C. senior league and previously served as offensive coordinator for the Canadian junior national team. Milligan was Day's assistant in Roch ester and guided junior teams to three Minto Cup titles. He also won last year's Mann Cup with the Peterborough Lakers.

A.J. Jomha, the Rush's director of lacrosse operations and head coach of the Edmonton Miners junior team, will also serve as an assistant coach.

TICKET DRIVE: The Rush have 1,000 deposits on season tickets, with the $25 down payment extended to tomorrow. Season tickets will go on sale Sept. 24,with prices in the lower bowl of Rexall Place set at $320, $280 and $240.

There will be a select-a-seat party on the first day of ticket sales, with players and the Rush monster truck on hand. Until Oct. 8, anyone buying a season ticket will receive a special-edition Rush jersey.


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