The vast majority of professional athletes in any sport started playing at a very young age and for Calgary Roughnecks forward Dane Dobbie, it was no different. The 29-year-old from Elora, Ontario came into this world with lacrosse in his veins. His family has been active members in the sport for years. His father played at a high level and his grandfather, Bob Dobbie, had an illustrious lacrosse career and is a member of the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Growing up in a lifestyle dedicated to the game, Dane’s big break came in 2007 when he was selected 4th overall in the NLL Draft by the same team he currently resides with. Now in the league for almost a decade, he has earned the title of Alternate Captain and has put up an impressive 521 career points (273+248) in just 133 games, highlighted by his league-leading 51-goal season in 2014. Dobbie is one of the most impressive offensive players on the ‘Necks, which comes as no surprise after having such talented mentors.
“My Grandfather and my Dad introduced me,” Dobbie said. “I’ve played it since I was three. As soon as I could walk, I played lacrosse.”
Now in his eighth year with the team, Dobbie is on track to surpass Roughnecks icon Kaleb Toth’s all-time franchise record of 274 goals, an achievement Dobbie says he owes to Toth himself.
“Kaleb was like a mentor to me when he was around, his name is in the rafters at the Saddledome for a reason,” he said. “He’s been a great player for the Roughnecks organization. It’s a good accomplishment.”
Being on pace to breaking a franchise all-time record is just one of the many notable career moments for Dobbie. The sniper was a member of the 2009 Roughnecks Champion’s Cup winning team, which finished the regular season with a league-best 12-4 record.
“The 2009 championship is my favourite memory,” Dobbie reminisced.
And for his worst memory?
“Every year that we lose,” he said.
To get ready to compete out on the turf, like most players, Dobbie has developed a gameday routine over the years.
“Gamedays start with shootaround…I get there early, we do video, then we have a quick practice, then we have a team lunch,” he explained. “I get a couple hours of sleep and then get ready to go. I get to the arena about 2.5 hours before the game, and then it’s gametime.”
Dobbie also manages to work his favorite pre-game meal into this ritual, chicken and pasta.
In 2015, the Roughnecks rallied from an 0-6 start to the season and finished with a 7-11 record, clinching a playoff spot with a road win in the regular season finale. After defeating the Colorado Mammoth in the West Division Semifinal, the ‘Necks hopes of another Cup run came to an end with a loss to the Rush in the West Finals. With that season behind him, Dobbie is looking ahead to 2016. The Riggers dropped its home opener to the Saskatchewan Rush in a hard-fought 10-8 game last weekend, but that doesn’t stop him from keeping his expectations for the season high.
“We were a couple goals short on the first game, but I thought everybody worked hard, and nobody gave up,” Dobbie said. “We just kept working, and the expectations for this year is to obviously win, keep going and keep getting better every game we play.”
The Roughnecks will travel to ‘Banditland’ on Saturday to take on the Buffalo Bandits at First Niagara Center for Buffalo’s home opener at 5:30 p.m. MT. It’s full speed ahead for the Riggers as they look to have an explosive 2016 season.
“We go to Buffalo this weekend, it’s going to be a real test for us,” Dobbie said. “It would be nice to come out of there with [the win] and just carry that on throughout the year.”
By Laura Bates (@RoughnecksBeat) for NLL.com.