Sting of '04 pushes Rigger

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:45 AM ET

Among the Calgary Roughnecks suiting up for tonight's Champion's Cup game is a player who doesn't remember 2004 fondly.

Defender Kyle Couling was with the Buffalo Bandits when the Riggers took their first title at the Saddledome.

He can recall the sting of losing and how the Bandits were playing against 19,000-plus people, as well as those on the floor.

Couling can only hope the homeside has the advantage when the Riggers face the New York Titans tonight (7:30 p.m., Fan 960).

"We established a good rivalry with Calgary at that point," said Couling, who joined the Riggers before last season. "We knew we were in for a dogfight. It was a boisterous crowd and a challenging game. I don't know how many guys from New York have played in the Saddledome, but I'm hoping they think it's something to see. I hope they get a bit awestruck and surprised by the whole thing."

Couling spent eight seasons with the Bandits, going to two Champion's Cup games and losing them both.

The majority of the time, the New Westminster, B.C., product was spending winters in Buffalo and summers back home. But when he got on full-time at his job as a pipe layer in Nanaimo, B.C., before last season, Couling told the Bandits he would have to become a fly-in player again.

They accommodated him with a trade to the Riggers (the Steve Dietrich-Taylor Wray three-way deal with Philadelphia).

It was an easy fit being that head coach Troy Cordingley, then-GM Kurt Silcott and goalie Dietrich were all in Calgary as well.

"Things have worked out for the best for me," said the 35-year-old. "We would all like to think lacrosse is our real life, but you have to look at your situation and realize you won't play lacrosse forever, so you need to worry about your house and bills."


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