May 11, 2011
Roughneck NLL rookie of year
By STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency
CALGARY - Ask Calgary Roughnecks freshman Curtis Dickson to name some of the guys he looked up to as a young lacrosse player and he quickly mentions superstars Colin Doyle and John Grant Jr.
After a spectacular first NLL season, Dickson’s name can now be mentioned among them.
The star-in-the-making has a long way to go before he can compare his career to the lacrosse legends, but Tuesday he joined Doyle and Grant as winners of the league’s Rookie of the Year Award.
“It’s awesome. It’s a huge honour having my name on that trophy with the guys that have won it in the past,” Dickson said over the phone after hearing the news.
“I never imagined anything like this coming into the year. It’s something you want to accomplish but not something you expect to accomplish.
“I’m very happy about it.”
Leading all rookies with 33 goals, Dickson’s 51 points were second only to Rochester Knighthawks forward Cody Jamieson’s 52.
His one-one-one skills and tendency to take flight during an offensive attack led teammates to nickname him Superman.
“I opened up a couple of eyes this year. Guys are joking around, and I got the nickname Superman from jumping around all over the place,” Dickson said with a laugh, crediting veterans such as Kaleb Toth and Scott Ranger for helping him get acclimated to the pro ranks.
“I was going back and forth with those guys all year. They’ve been here forever and they know all the ins and outs in the league.”
It’s easy to see why some believe Dickson will have that kind of longevity and success, too.
Not many rookies have to go through the emotional off-floor rollercoaster Dickson had to experience with the Roughnecks.
With talk the team might have to fold mid-season because of money issues, the players even missed a paycheque before donors and the league stepped in to help.
Again, it was the vets who helped the 22-year-old over the bumps.
“You look to the guys who have been there forever. They let you know that’s not really standard procedure for an NLL club to have to go through all that throughout the season,” Dickson said.
“We talked about it as a team, about things you can’t worry about.
“We turned a lot of heads and opened a lot of eyes this season. We fell just short of our goal and we’re gonna be itching to get back out there next year and show everyone what we’re made of.”
Dickson knows high standards have been set for him now. Especially with that Superman nickname.
“It’s a lot to live up to,” he said. “You look at the other athletes in the world who have that nickname — Dwight Howard and Shaquille O’Neal and those guys — it’s some big shoes to fill.
“I think I did alright my first year. Hopefully, I can continue my success in these coming seasons and continue to live up to the name.”