Riggers prospect knows practice makes perfect

WES GILBERTSON, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 10:04 AM ET

Even if Joe Vetere was nervous about his status with the Calgary Roughnecks, he likely wouldn't be losing sleep over it.

Between his university exam schedule, skating with the Mount Royal Cougars hockey squad and trying to earn a spot on the Riggers' active roster, Vetere has been too busy to fret about anything.

"I've had too much stuff going on to even think about it," said the right-handed forward.

Christmas could come early for the 22-year-old, who'll find out within the next couple of days whether he'll be on the active roster for the upcoming National Lacrosse League season or spending a second straight campaign toiling with the Riggers' practice squad.

After surviving the first round of training camp cuts, he'll be thrilled either way.

"It would never be a disappointment to play with guys like Josh Sanderson, Tracey Kelusky and Kaleb Toth," said Vetere.

"It's always an honour to be on the floor with those guys, and if I was on the practice roster again, I'd take that role and roll with it.

"Whatever guys the coaches go with is the best roster they feel is necessary to build a championship team. Whether I'm on the active roster or on the practice roster, I'm just going to try to contribute any way I can."

The Roughnecks beat the Edmonton Rush 15-12 in their lone pre-season contest Saturday night in Lethbridge and will likely finalize their 23-man roster Wednesday.

There's room for three more players on the practice squad.

Vetere is one of several youngsters battling for a spot. Rookie forward Carlton Schuss scored once against the Rush, while top defensive prospect Curtis Manning has earned rave reviews.

With NLL veterans Craig Conn, Rob Van Beek, Rob Kirkby and Craig Gelsvik also competing for spots in Calgary this season, the Riggers coaches could be the ones losing some sleep.

"We've got a lot of guys that could play on any other team in this league," said Toth, the longest-serving member of the Roughnecks.

"It's always good when it's a hard decision for the coaches. I wouldn't want to be in their shoes."

WES.GILBERTSON@SUNMEDIA.CA


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