The fact Bruce Urban has never picked up a lacrosse stick did little to prevent the owner of the Edmonton Rush from taking the first shot in the NLL's inaugural Battle of Alberta.
Doing his best to manufacture a rivalry that debuts Friday at the 'Dome, Urban placed a half-page ad in the Saturday Sun declaring the Roughnecks' new meal would be a can of Whoop-A-- served up by his expansion team.
When shown the declaration yesterday, Roughnecks captain Tracey Kelusky scoffed.
"Is this a 1980s ad?" started Kelusky. "It says 'City of Champions' at the bottom. When was the last time they won anything?"
Obviously not a CFL fan, a clearly agitated Kelusky went on to rip Urban, who likely didn't do his upstart team any favours by stirring the pot for the Roughnecks home-opener.
"A can of whoop-a--? What is this -- WWE?" spat Kelusky.
"For him to have the nerve to add fuel to our fire ... We are the NLL champions of 2004 and went to the western final last year, which they'll probably never see. They've got me scared, I'll tell you that."
Conversely, Kaleb Toth's first look at the ad elicited a hearty chuckle. It also sparked an idea in which he considered tucking the ad in his sock, pulling it out Terrell Owens-style and signing it for Urban after completing his hat-trick.
"If Urban wants to put ads in the paper for us, great because people hate Edmonton and it'll get them fired up," said Toth, expecting the crowd to dwarf the 11,500 on hand for Edmonton's home-opening loss last weekend.
"You gotta give him some credit -- he's selling his team. It's a good move but next time he should think about it more because this is just going to make us pound them even harder. If we play the way we can, it should be over by the first quarter."
Added Kelusky: "We'll show them not only our product is better but our fans are 10 times better -- they'll be coming to a barn where fans actually mean something."
Roughnecks rookie Callum Crawford also brushed off the ad after seeing the Rush lose in overtime to lowly San Jose.
"I wasn't impressed by a single person on their team," said Crawford of a club that boasts last year's defensive player of the year, Andrew Turner, former Roughneck Kevin Howard and veteran Jamey Bowen. "There's no competition in my eyes. We should walk away with it."
Promising his club will be the most colourful team in the NLL, Urban responded to the Roughnecks' remarks yesterday with bluster to match his $300,000 marketing budget.
"I can already tell Calgary has a sense of jealousy because our players are smarter, faster and better looking," said Urban, a master marketer and owner of Western RV in Airdrie. "They're upset because our cheerleaders are better looking, too.
"Adversity always goes in favour of the underdog ... They're going to need to be fired up to beat us."