Rigger defending at home

DARREN FRIESEN -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:16 AM ET

The only action Corporal Ryan McNish is going to see anytime soon is with the Calgary Roughnecks.

As a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, McNish, 25, was expected to be deployed to a military hot zone prior to or during the upcoming National League Lacrosse season.

However, word came down yesterday that McNish's unit -- the 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron based out of CFB Edmonton -- won't be sent overseas until July, which allows the Riggers defender to suit up for his third campaign in Cowtown.

Something the 6-ft. 2-in., 230-lb. Winnipeg native couldn't be happier about.

"It's really good news," said McNish, an aviator technician. "I'm happy to be able to play lacrosse this year but I'm also looking forward to going overseas to serve."

McNish -- known for his punishing defensive play and pugilistic prowess -- said he was a little surprised his unit wasn't being deployed sooner.

"The Griffin helicopter fleet is the largest helicopter fleet in the Canadian forces and there's no reason for us to be waiting at home," he said.

While Afghanistan is the likely destination, McNish admits the Canadian government might have other plans.

"It could be Afghanistan or there's been talk of us going to somewhere in Africa," he said.

"They're always killing each other in Africa, so we might have to step up and do some peacekeeping over there."

For now, though, the task at hand is to prepare for the upcoming NLL campaign.

While the Roughnecks aren't scheduled to start their season until January, McNish said now that the weight of worrying about deployment is gone, he can focus on the upcoming campaign and a run at the coveted Champion's Cup.

"It actually worked out really good in my favour. I can play lacrosse for the entire season and then when they do deploy me overseas, chances are I will be back for next season as well," he explained.

"The timing couldn't have worked out any better for me."

He had 13 points last year.


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