Veteran hungry for ring

WES GILBERTSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:03 AM ET

Curt Malawsky has been waiting a long, long time to get his hands on the Champions' Cup.

As if his Riggers teammates need any more motivation for Friday's final at the Saddledome -- Malawsky's fifth trip to the title match -- his description of how if feels to watch another team celebrate with the National Lacrosse League's ultimate prize should be compulsory literature.

"It's like getting your heart ripped out," Malawsky said.

"It's really, really depressing and it hurts a lot. It sticks with you for a long time.

"A lot of those championships, I still think about them to this day. I can remember each individual play in each game that I think maybe turned the tide. You never forget them. They linger, so hopefully, there's an opportunity to erase a lot of those bad memories come Friday."

Malawsky, who celebrated his 39th birthday Sunday, has tasted heartbreak more often than any of his Roughnecks teammates. The 12-year veteran advanced to the Champions' Cup final three times as a member of the Rochester Knighthawks and once more with the now-defunct Arizona Sting, but he's still shooting for his first NLL ring.

The New York Titans are the last obstacle standing in his way.

"If I was fortunate enough to win, I think that would solidify my career," Malawsky said. "I've played a lot of years, spent a lot of time dedicating myself to training and ice baths to get to this pinnacle, and if I was fortunate enough to win this, I don't think you could win anything better.

"I've won Mann Cups and Minto Cups, but I think winning the NLL championship is the best of the best, in my mind."

Just don't expect the Riggers' to make 'Win one for Mouse' their rallying cry for their final showdown with the East Division-champion Titans.

As Malawsky points out, he's not the only Rigger who's never sipped champagne from the Champions' Cup. Ten other regulars are also fighting for their first title.

"I think everyone wants to win for the guy next to them and that's an old cliche in sports, but I really do," Malawsky said.

"One thing about this team is everyone is unselfish. I don't think anyone is thinking 'Hey, I want to win this ring for myself,' and I'm definitely not thinking like that.

"I'll definitely be playing for the guys beside me on Friday night, for sure."

And they'll be returning the favour.

Roughnecks defender Andrew McBride owns a ring from 2004, and wants to make sure Malawsky, who has two goals and an assist in a pair of playoff tilts, gets an invite to the party this time around.

"If there is one guy I'm playing for in this championship game, it's definitely Mouse," McBride said.

"He's the epitome of team, determination and passion. To have a guy like that on your team who hasn't drank from that Cup is disappointing. I was lucky enough to do it in my second year in the league.

"I want this so bad for this guy. I'm not going to let him down. Before every game, we always say we don't want to let him down.

"I want more than anything to win this championship for Curt Malawsky."


Videos

Photos