Mr. Saturday Night lovin' life

IAN BUSBY, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 8:55 AM ET

When Rob Van Beek requested a trade West for family reasons, he didn't realize he would quickly join another tight clan.

After five seasons with the Philadelphia Wings, the Vancouver product wanted to be closer to home because his mother is battling multiple sclerosis.

The Wings obliged, and the 26-year-old transition player was sent to the Calgary Roughnecks for a second-round draft pick this off-season.

It means more travelling, as Van Beek will be flying for every game, but it also means he can live at his parents' house.

"I wanted to help out a bit more," Van Beek said. "I wanted to help carry in the groceries for mom, and it's hard to do that for her when she's in Vancouver and I'm in Philadelphia."

Van Beek joined the defending National Lacrosse League champion Roughnecks, and he had to earn his stripes with a veteran roster.

But shortly after taking part in his first training camp practice, the 5-foot-11, 200-pounder signed a three-year contract, which isn't the norm in the NLL. The man nicknamed Mr. Saturday Night has fit in well with the Riggers' pressure system.

"It's gone better than expected," Van Beek said. "I love it. This is the best team I've ever played on. Everyone made me feel welcome. It's been a great family atmosphere. It's cool to be part of."

Since going home permanently to Pitt Meadows, Van Beek took a job as a log driver for tugboats. The shifts are long, but Van Beek feels like he's in his element on the water. He's so close that he could take a boat to work, if he chose to do that.

"It's pretty dangerous work," Van Beek said. "I put a pipe pole into my wrist last week, if that's any indication ... It helps keep you in shape and with balance. When the logs are bouncing around and there isn't good places to step, you need to keep your balance or else you are going in the water."

The injury didn't stop him from debuting with the Riggers last weekend and helping them to a 12-7 victory over the Minnesota Swarm.

The rematch is tonight in Minnesota, where Van Beek will attempt to repeat his performance from Sunday, when he ran over Swarm defender Jay Thorimbert.

"I've always enjoyed hitting," Van Beek said. "Most guys who played against me know if they catch a ball up in the air, and if I'm on the floor, they should be watching out for me and not the ball. It's something I try to bring to my game."

IAN.BUSBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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