'Necks captain pens letter to fans

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

Hi there, this is Tracey Kelusky. Like you, neither Roughnecks management or players are satisfied with our start to the 2006 season ...

... It's easy to point fingers and blame various facets of our play, whether it be offence, defence, special teams or goaltending. But the brutal truth is that ALL of us, players and coaches alike, have to step up our game and start performing as a team rather than as a collection of dysfunctional individuals.

The weekend off has given us the opportunity to reflect on what has gone wrong and what needs to be done, and I have no doubt the real Roughnecks will appear this Friday against the Edmonton Rush ...

... As always, thank you for your continued support ...

See you at the game,

TRACEY KELUSKY, #17

Roughnecks Captain

(Excerpts taken from letter)

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Calgary Roughnecks captain Tracey Kelusky proved he has the write stuff.

Frustrated with his team's lacklustre play six games into the National Lacrosse League season, Kelusky recently penned a letter to Calgary fans through the team's monthly Riggers' Report e-mail.

At 3-3, the Roughnecks are still very much in the hunt in the NLL's West Division but the team has not lived up to its pre-season billing, including a 1-2 record at the 'Dome.

The most recent loss was a 14-10 home defeat at the hands of the hated Toronto Rock.

"These are our fans and they are our customers, in a sense," said Kelusky yesterday. "They're paying to come and watch us play and we have to be accountable to them as much as we have to be accountable to ourselves.

"I love Calgary, I love playing in Calgary and I'm a firm believer we have the best fans in the National Lacrosse League.

"I know people are getting frustrated. We're getting frustrated and I can only imagine how our fans are feeling. I wanted them to know we want to do better for ourselves and for the people that support us and essentially pay us."

Win or lose, NLL players gather on the floor after home games to sign autographs and are accessible to fans who want to talk to them at after parties. Still, the personal touch of writing a direct explanation and apology of sorts to fans seems above-and-beyond.

"I think it's pretty cool how we're connected to our fan base," explained Kelusky. "Again, I love the support of our loyal fan base.

"You have to be accountable, whether you own a small business or play lacrosse. We're employees of the Calgary Roughnecks and we have to be accountable to the people that pay to come in and see us game-in and game-out. It's no different than an employee of Rogers or Mr. Sub or whatever. At the end of the day, you have to be accountable to the people that keep you in business."

Calgary plays a pair of games this weekend after having last week off. The Roughnecks host the Rush tomorrow at the 'Dome (7:30 p.m.) before heading to Glendale to take on the Sting Saturday.

Kelusky stood by his letter yesterday, promising the Roughnecks will make a statement when they take to the carpet tomorrow night.

"You will see a different team this weekend," said Kelusky. "The guys are fired up over the way we've been playing all year. We're not happy with the way we've played, plain and simple.

"Our effort and play has been lacklustre so far this season. Everyone has expected more.

"This weekend we'll get back on track ... get the job done. Talk's cheap, let's get the job done."

WINDY CITY ON BOARD: The NLL has called a new conference today where commissioner Jim Jennings is expected to announced an expansion franchise in Chicago for the 2007 season.


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