Buck's trend

DEREK VAN DIEST, EDMONTON SUN

, Last Updated: 10:26 AM ET

Buck Stobart saw a trade to the Edmonton Rush last season as an opportunity.

As a rookie with the Rochester Knighthawks the previous year, Stobart was well down on the depth chart and didn't see a lot of playing time.

With the Rush he was thrown into the fire.

"Rochester probably was the most talented team in the league back then," said Stobart.

"I was a young guy there, just starting out and I was definitely excited to come to a place like Edmonton.

"The first thing I thought when I was traded was that I really wanted to play there - there is a ton of tradition at Rexall Place. And, that Edmonton is a great sports town.

"I also couldn't wait to be back playing in Canada too."

Stobart, 23, a native of Victoria, was one of the young defencemen the Rush thrust into action in their first National Lacrosse League season.

He played 11 games, scoring a goal and adding four assists with 12 penalty minutes.

"Last year was his first real year in the league; it was almost like his rookie year," said Rush head coach and general manager Paul Day. "He got better every week. With him it was a lot about confidence.

"He's a very good containment defenceman and he's a good first-pass guy running the floor. He did a good job for us last year."

Heading into this season, Stobart is looking to take on an even bigger role with the Rush.

Yesterday he and the rest of the squad were out at Servus Credit Union Place in St. Albert taking part in training camp.

It was the first time he had a chance to practice with the rest of his teammates, having missed the first training camp session two weeks ago.

"I'm really excited about the season this year," Stobart said. "Our organization put together a real competitive team this year and I think they definitely filled a lot of holes that we were missing last year."

Having struggled through a 1-15 inaugural year, Stobart knows the pressure is on for this team to start winning.

Fans are generally forgiving in a team's expansion season. Come their second year, however, they expect results.

"To be honest with you, we're not even thinking about last season," he said.

"I came into the dressing room today and I saw all the new guys and I was just super excited.

"I was running around the floor with a big smile on my face thinking we're going to have a good team this year. It's exciting."

In order to live up to increased expectations this season, Stobart decided to lose some weight.

After playing at 240-pounds last season, Stobart dropped to 220 this year. He's still an intimidating presence at six-foot-four.

"The game is so fast and going into the off-season I said to Paul that I had to lean out a little bit," Stobart said. "Over the summer, I changed my whole lifestyle and started working on my speed and ran more instead of lifting so much weight.

"That's the way the game is going. Everybody is getting faster and so athletic. The game growing the talent pool is getting bigger and everybody has to change."


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