Riggers ink Sanderson to rare deal

TODD SAELHOF, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:16 AM ET

Three-year contracts are few and far between in the National Lacrosse League.

Then again, so is a talent such as Josh Sanderson.

That's why GM Brad Banister figured it was a no-brainer for the Calgary Roughnecks to sign the superstar forward to a deal through the 2012 NLL season.

"It's a pleasure to have Josh back as a member of the Calgary Roughnecks, the MVP of the Champion's Cup game," said Banister of Sanderson, a key cog in the Riggers' drive to repeat as league champs this season.

"Signing a three-year deal shows Josh's commitment to his teammates and to the Calgary Roughnecks and is sure to send a wave through the locker-room about his dedication to the team."

For the six-time league all-star, putting his name on a contract with such rare terms was just as easy a decision.

"I've been very happy since I've been out in Calgary," said Sanderson, yesterday from his home in Orangeville, Ont., only an hour's drive from where his dad, Terry, and his friend and former Riggers coach Troy Cordingley are heading operations with the Toronto Rock.

"It's a long commute to Calgary, but I've had no complaints with the city and the organization. I like it out there, and I love my teammates.

"So I figured why not three years?"

A contract of that length is rare in the league.

"I've never signed a three-year deal," said Sanderson, adding he expects to see more such contracts since the league owners and the Professional Lacrosse Players Union came to terms on a collective bargaining agreement late in 2007.

"But I'm committed, and the team is committed. It works for both sides."

Given Sanderson's talent, yesterday's inking -- which was announced without financial terms -- could well work in bringing more glory to the Roughnecks.

In his first full season with the Riggers last year, the 32-year-old Sanderson tallied 103 points, including 29 goals and 74 assists in 16 games.

In the playoffs, he added 19 points, including five goals, and was voted the MVP.

"I have no goals besides helping the team win," Sanderson said. "I have good chemistry with my teammates, and we're committed to winning."

The Riggers open the 2010 season Jan. 10 at the Saddledome against the Minnesota Swarm.

TODD.SAELHOF@SUNMEDIA.CA


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