For Calgary’s Geoff Snider, the Saddledome has always ranked as one of the toughest places to play in the National Lacrosse League.
Thanks to Thursday’s swap between the Calgary Roughnecks and the Philadelphia Wings, the faceoff ace and fearless enforcer is bringing his abilities to his hometown — and to a building where he’s been cast as the bad guy in two previous professional visits.
“It was always tough,” Snider admitted. “I have some really great friends in Devan Wray, Bruce Codd, Tracey Kelsuky, Andrew McBride — the list goes on and on — and it’s really tough to go play that role I want to play when you’re playing against your friends and you have to show no mercy and go out there and play that ruthless style of lacrosse.
“I know that those guys know that I’m a certain way on the floor and I’m a certain way off the floor.”
Next time he hits the floor at the Saddledome, he’ll be lined up beside his buddies.
In a trade that was made official Friday morning, the Riggers surrendered the eighth-overall pick in Friday’s Orlando Titans dispersal draft in exchange for Snider, a three-time NLL all-star entering his fifth professional season.
While there were tremendous talents up for grabs in the first round of Friday’s player-pull, this one was a no-brainer for the Roughnecks.
The 29-year-old Snider was the NLL’s most reliable faceoff man last season, with a 75.6% success rate at the dot. He also chipped in on offence, registering 19 goals and 22 assists in 16 regular-season games.
In 61 career outings, Snider has 58 goals and 99 assists and has scooped up 889 loose balls. He has spent 280 minutes in the penalty box.
“We’ve always wanted him in Calgary,” said Roughnecks GM Brad Banister. “He’s a big name in Calgary, he’s the toughest guy in the league, and he wins every faceoff. It’s a big acquisition.
“We definitely got a lot tougher and a lot better.”
Snider climbed the ranks of Calgary’s minor lacrosse system and also suited up for the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Calgary Canucks, racking up a whopping 415 penalty minutes in 2001-02.
Although he won’t hesitate to drop the mitts for the Roughnecks, Snider is anxious to prove he’s more than just a tough guy.
“I’d like to think that I can play a bunch of different roles,” Snider said. “I’m going to bring ball possession and tenacity. I’m going to bring, hopefully, toughness and transition goal-scoring and playmaking. And, down the line, I’d like to be able to lead by example and fill a role of being more of a veteran guy in the league.
In Friday’s dispersal draft, the Riggers selected goalie Kurtis Wagar, defenceman Rob Smith and forwards Keith Cromwell and Brian Spallina.