Riggers rookie ready for homecoming

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:15 AM ET

Dan MacRae sat in the stands as an impressionable 12-year-old when Kaleb Toth fired the shot that Rocked the lacrosse world.

Back in 2000, Toth scored with 1.2 seconds remaining as the Toronto Rock beat the Rochester Knighthawks 14-13 for the Champion’s Cup — the final professional event ever at Maple Leaf Gardens.

“It’s something I’ll never forget,” said the now 22-year-old rookie defender for the Calgary Roughnecks. “It’s probably where I was hooked for good. That’s where the dream of playing pro lacrosse started for me.”

Fast-forward a decade, and MacRae will suit up with Toth and the rest of the Roughnecks as they face the Rock at the Air Canada Centre Saturday night (5 p.m., TSN2).

“I don’t think it’s all soaked in yet,” said the Oakville, Ont., native who’s still attending the Rochester Institute of Technology.

“I’m here at school with a few buddies who played box lacrosse around the area. They are all asking me how pumped I am to walk out on that floor.

“I still don’t believe it’s happening. It won’t set in until I walk out onto the floor. It’s going to be a special moment.”

Playing in Toronto is a homecoming for a handful of Roughnecks. Jeff Shattler and the Carnegie brothers, Mike and Scott, expect to have large contingents of fans.

MacRae is no different, as about 40 friends and family members are expected, including his childhood coach Rob MacDougall, who got him started in the game.

Plus, MacRae’s 10-year-old brother Luke will be the ball boy for the Riggers (4-2), who can take over the NLL lead if they beat the host Rock (4-2).

“This should be a pretty big statement game,” MacRae said. “Coming into this season, nobody thought we would do this well. Going up against a team like Toronto with a lot of firepower and high-profile names, it should be a good test for us.

“We have a lot to prove against those guys.”

MacRae will finish at RIT in a few weeks and then he will relocate to Calgary to finish out the season. His usual schedule this year was to drive from his Rochester home to Oakville on Thursday nights, then hop a flight to Calgary or wherever the Riggers were playing.

“I was sitting in class thinking about it,” said MacRae, who will earn a hospitality and service management degree. “I still remember packing up for my first day of college a few years ago.

“It feels like it was just yesterday and now it’s all over.”


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