Riggers lose big leader

TY PILSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:31 AM ET

One of the longest serving southpaws on the Calgary Roughnecks has left the team.

Unrestricted free agent Kyle Goundrey has inked a two-year deal with the team's National Lacrosse League rival up the QEII, the Edmonton Rush.

The 32-year-old Goundrey, who served as an assistant captain last season, was acquired by Calgary four games into its expansion season in 2001.

In 98 games with the Riggers, the Richmond, B.C., resident collected 284 points and was a key member of the 2004 Champion's Cup club.

"I just felt it was time for a change for me," said Goundrey, when reached yesterday following the announcement of the deal.

"And next to Calgary, Edmonton is the best for me for travel."

Goundrey didn't elaborate on his decision to leave the Roughnecks, a move which surprised Calgary GM Kurt Silcott.

"We're disappointed Kyle chose to take that route," said Silcott.

"Not much we can do about it, being an unrestricted free agent.

"They have the right to talk to other teams and I guess Edmonton made him a pretty nice offer because we made him a pretty nice offer, and he still choose to take theirs."

Goundrey's departure comes three weeks after the Riggers dealt veteran defender Taylor Wray -- the club's other assistant captain last season -- in a three-team deal that saw them acquire all-star goaltender Steve Dietrich.

With Goundrey gone, it opens the door for talented lefty Jeff Shattler to earn a regular shift on offence.

Silcott said the team also plans to go after a left-handed forward in the upcoming draft.

"Shattler is obviously going to have to step up on the left side," said Silcott. "But we're looking to use the No. 4 pick we have in the upcoming draft (from Philadelphia as part of the Kyle Wailes deal) to get someone who could fit there, as well."

Goundrey joins an Edmonton team with many ex-Roughnecks -- notably forward Jason Wulder and goalie Curtis Palidwor -- but admits while fitting in up north should be easy, facing his old club for the first time won't be.

"I'm hoping it'll be easy to put friendships aside," said Goundrey, before adding with a laugh, "but I'm also hoping there won't be more enemies."


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