New rule easy to face

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:41 AM ET

CALGARY - Geoff Snider has put some extra wear-and-tear on his living-room rug the past few weeks.

Once the National Lacrosse League announced it was changing the faceoff rules this season, the Calgary Roughnecks defender set about preparing for the alteration.

Without the benefit of preseason games to get adjusted, the Riggers newcomer spent some free time adapting to being four inches further away from the ball.

"If I'm not prepared to play, then I'm letting down the guys on this team," Snider said. "The other 22 guys are out there doing everything they can."

Last season with the Philadelphia Wings, Snider won 75.6% of faceoffs he attempted, dominating in the circle, and he picked up 245 loose balls.

In a league where the strong drawmen win 60% of their faceoffs, Snider is basically in a league of his own.

The NLL said in its announcement they hoped the ball would come out of the circle quicker, leading to more fast-break chances -- sort of what Snider did before the switch.

"Nobody wants to admit it, but it's the Geoff Snider rule," said Riggers head coach Dave Pym. "They are absolutely trying to prevent Geoff from being so dominant.

"They say it's evening the playing field for teams that can't win draws. They say they are trying to prevent the big scrums in the centre of the floor.

"But really they are hoping to prevent Geoff from being dominant, and I think they made a mistake. He's going to even more dominant. People think he has certain moves. That's not it at all. This plays right into his hands."

The numbers show Snider has the quickest hands in the business. Being further away from the ball shouldn't make a difference, and Pym is hoping for another 75% on draw success.

The Riggers are working on set plays from draws he wins.

"That's what is great," Snider said.

"I feel I'm one of the quick-e st. It's mechanics, being quick and knowing what you are doing with the position. Honestly, it's not going to be a huge difference."

Snider, who grew up in Calgary playing both lacrosse and hockey, spent four seasons with the Wings after coming out of the University of Denver.

Every January, the 29-year-old would move to Philly for the season. It hasn't taken him much time to feel at home with the Roughnecks, but staying at home is a bigger switch.

As owner and operator of Elev8 Lacrosse, Snider is busy working as well as spending more time with friends and family.

"It hasn't set in yet," Snider said about making his Saddle dome debut Saturday against the Buffalo Bandits. "It doesn't feel like this is happening already.

"I'm not used to fo cusing on family, life and career. I was used to going and playing. Now I have other things on the go with Elev8 and life in general."

Snider isn't sure he's had so much of an impact as to change the rulebook, so the suggestion makes him laugh.

"Would I like to think they are changing stuff because of me? Yeah, that would be great," Snider said.

"It would be a huge honour and I would be flattered. I'm excited about it.

"I think it helps. It makes teams compete for the ball a little more instead of trying to tie you up."

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