Keenan coming back to Rush

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:26 AM ET

The first year was essentially a feeling-out process.

Before Derek Keenan and the Edmonton Rush made a long-term commitment to each other, they wanted to see what the relationship would be like.

"We wanted to feel it out in terms of how we would mesh," Keenan said. "Obviously things went extremely well. Now I feel really comfortable there with the setup and the support of the office staff. Certainly I was given all the resources to have success, now it's just a matter of taking it to the next level."

On Wednesday , the sides announced Keenan signed a two-year contract extension to stay on as the team's head coach and general manager.

Last season, Keenan led the Rush to their best regular- season finish, coming in at 10-6.

For the first time in franchise history, the club qualified for the National Lacrosse League playoffs, taking out the defending champion Calgary Roughnecks in the first round and then falling in overtime to the eventual champion Washington Stealth in the league semifinal.

For his efforts, Keenan was named the NLL's general manager of the year and was co-winner of the coach of the year, sharing the honours with the Stealth bench boss, Chris Hall.

"We had a good season, but obviously we weren't satisfied with the end result because we didn't win a championship," Keenan said.

"But now we have two years to do it and we're real excited about the opportunity.

"I was really impressed with the support I got last year with the front office and ownership.

"It was a great opportunity and now we're going to try and move forward and get the whole thing done."

Brought in from the defunct Portland franchise to help the team snap its playoff drought, Keenan did one better.

He put together a club that came within a goal of making it to the league final.

"I think we need to get better on defence next year," Keenan said.

"I know we were one shot away from getting to the final last year, I think it'll give us a better chance to win the whole thing if we're a little better defensively."


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