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WK
1
Fri, Dec 2
FINAL
Philadelphia
8
Halifax
18
Sat, Dec 3
FINAL
Vancouver
8
Toronto
19
Sat, Dec 3
FINAL
San Diego
15
New York
14
Sat, Dec 3
FINAL
Albany
11
Buffalo
10
Sat, Dec 3
FINAL
Rochester
16
Georgia
11
Sat, Dec 3
FINAL
Colorado
6
Saskatchewan
18
WK
2
Fri, Dec 9
20:30:00
Las Vegas
Panther City
Fri, Dec 9
22:00:00
Saskatchewan
San Diego
Sat, Dec 10
19:00:00
Toronto
Rochester
Sat, Dec 10
21:30:00
Vancouver
Calgary
WK
3
Fri, Dec 16
22:00:00
Calgary
Vancouver
Fri, Dec 16
22:30:00
Panther City
Las Vegas
Sat, Dec 17
19:00:00
Buffalo
Toronto
Sat, Dec 17
19:00:00
Rochester
Albany
Sat, Dec 17
19:00:00
Philadelphia
Georgia
Sat, Dec 17
19:30:00
Halifax
New York
Sat, Dec 17
20:00:00
Colorado
Panther City
WK
5
Fri, Dec 30
19:30:00
Halifax
Buffalo
Fri, Dec 30
21:00:00
San Diego
Calgary
Sat, Dec 31
21:00:00
Panther City
Saskatchewan
WK
6
Fri, Jan 6
22:30:00
Philadelphia
Las Vegas
Sat, Jan 7
19:00:00
Panther City
Rochester
Sat, Jan 7
19:00:00
Halifax
Albany
Sat, Jan 7
19:00:00
Buffalo
Georgia
Sat, Jan 7
19:30:00
Toronto
New York
Sat, Jan 7
22:00:00
Vancouver
San Diego
Sun, Jan 8
0:00:00
Calgary
Colorado
WK
7
Fri, Jan 13
18:30:00
Albany
Halifax
Fri, Jan 13
21:00:00
Saskatchewan
Colorado
Sat, Jan 14
19:00:00
Halifax
Toronto
Sat, Jan 14
19:00:00
Panther City
Philadelphia
Sat, Jan 14
19:30:00
Georgia
Buffalo
Sat, Jan 14
21:00:00
San Diego
Calgary
Sat, Jan 14
22:00:00
Las Vegas
Vancouver
Sun, Jan 15
15:00:00
Rochester
New York
WK
8
Fri, Jan 20
19:30:00
Buffalo
Rochester
Fri, Jan 20
22:30:00
Vancouver
Las Vegas
Sat, Jan 21
19:00:00
New York
Albany
Sat, Jan 21
19:00:00
Toronto
Philadelphia
WK
9
Fri, Jan 27
18:00:00
Rochester
Halifax
Fri, Jan 27
19:00:00
Buffalo
Philadelphia
Sat, Jan 28
19:30:00
Buffalo
New York
Sat, Jan 28
20:30:00
Las Vegas
Saskatchewan
Sat, Jan 28
21:00:00
Toronto
Calgary
Sat, Jan 28
21:00:00
San Diego
Colorado
Sat, Jan 28
22:00:00
Panther City
Vancouver
WK
10
Fri, Feb 3
21:00:00
Georgia
Colorado
Sat, Feb 4
18:00:00
Calgary
Halifax
Sat, Feb 4
19:00:00
New York
Toronto
Sat, Feb 4
19:00:00
Albany
Philadelphia
Sat, Feb 4
19:30:00
Rochester
Buffalo
Sat, Feb 4
22:00:00
Panther City
San Diego
Sat, Feb 4
22:00:00
Saskatchewan
Vancouver
Sat, Feb 4
22:30:00
Colorado
Las Vegas
WK
11
Fri, Feb 10
19:30:00
Toronto
Georgia
Fri, Feb 10
21:00:00
Saskatchewan
Calgary
Sat, Feb 11
19:00:00
Halifax
Rochester
Sat, Feb 11
19:30:00
Albany
New York
Sat, Feb 11
20:00:00
Vancouver
Panther City
Sat, Feb 11
21:00:00
Colorado
Calgary
WK
12
Fri, Feb 17
22:00:00
Saskatchewan
San Diego
Fri, Feb 17
22:00:00
Calgary
Vancouver
Sat, Feb 18
19:00:00
Georgia
Toronto
Sat, Feb 18
19:00:00
Las Vegas
Albany
Sat, Feb 18
19:30:00
Philadelphia
Buffalo
Sat, Feb 18
20:00:00
Colorado
Panther City
Sun, Feb 19
13:00:00
New York
Halifax
WK
13
Fri, Feb 24
21:00:00
Panther City
Colorado
Fri, Feb 24
22:30:00
Calgary
Las Vegas
Sat, Feb 25
19:00:00
New York
Rochester
Sat, Feb 25
19:00:00
Albany
Georgia
Sat, Feb 25
20:00:00
Vancouver
Saskatchewan
WK
14
Fri, Mar 3
18:30:00
Buffalo
Halifax
Fri, Mar 3
21:00:00
Las Vegas
San Diego
Sat, Mar 4
11:30:00
New York
Philadelphia
Sat, Mar 4
19:00:00
Rochester
Toronto
Sat, Mar 4
19:00:00
Georgia
Albany
Sat, Mar 4
20:00:00
Saskatchewan
Panther City
Mon, Mar 6
19:00:00
Toronto
Philadelphia
WK
15
Fri, Mar 10
19:30:00
Halifax
Buffalo
Fri, Mar 10
21:00:00
Calgary
Colorado
Sat, Mar 11
19:00:00
Albany
Toronto
Sat, Mar 11
19:30:00
Philadelphia
New York
Sat, Mar 11
20:30:00
San Diego
Saskatchewan
Sat, Mar 11
22:30:00
Vancouver
Las Vegas
Sun, Mar 12
16:00:00
Rochester
Georgia
WK
16
Fri, Mar 17
21:00:00
Saskatchewan
Calgary
Fri, Mar 17
22:00:00
San Diego
Vancouver
Sat, Mar 18
11:00:00
Georgia
Philadelphia
Sat, Mar 18
18:00:00
Toronto
Halifax
Sat, Mar 18
19:30:00
Albany
New York
Sat, Mar 18
19:30:00
Colorado
Buffalo
Sat, Mar 18
20:00:00
Las Vegas
Panther City
Sun, Mar 19
15:00:00
Philadelphia
Rochester
WK
17
Fri, Mar 24
20:30:00
San Diego
Panther City
Sat, Mar 25
19:00:00
Toronto
Albany
Sat, Mar 25
19:00:00
Halifax
Philadelphia
Sat, Mar 25
19:30:00
Georgia
New York
Sat, Mar 25
21:30:00
Calgary
Saskatchewan
Sat, Mar 25
22:00:00
Buffalo
San Diego
Sat, Mar 25
22:00:00
Colorado
Vancouver
Sat, Mar 25
22:30:00
Rochester
Las Vegas
WK
18
Fri, Mar 31
20:00:00
New York
Georgia
Fri, Mar 31
21:00:00
Las Vegas
Colorado
Fri, Mar 31
22:00:00
Calgary
San Diego
Sat, Apr 1
19:00:00
Buffalo
Toronto
Sat, Apr 1
20:00:00
Albany
Panther City
Sat, Apr 1
21:30:00
Vancouver
Saskatchewan
Sun, Apr 2
13:00:00
Georgia
Halifax
Sun, Apr 2
18:00:00
Rochester
Philadelphia
WK
19
Sat, Apr 8
19:00:00
Albany
Rochester
Sat, Apr 8
19:00:00
Saskatchewan
Georgia
Sat, Apr 8
21:00:00
Panther City
Calgary
Sat, Apr 8
21:00:00
Vancouver
Colorado
Sat, Apr 8
22:30:00
San Diego
Las Vegas
WK
20
Fri, Apr 14
21:00:00
Las Vegas
Calgary
Fri, Apr 14
21:00:00
San Diego
Colorado
Sat, Apr 15
19:00:00
Philadelphia
Toronto
Sat, Apr 15
19:00:00
Georgia
Albany
Sat, Apr 15
19:30:00
New York
Buffalo
Sat, Apr 15
21:30:00
Halifax
Saskatchewan
Sat, Apr 15
22:00:00
Panther City
Vancouver
WK
21
Fri, Apr 21
20:30:00
Calgary
Panther City
Sat, Apr 22
18:00:00
New York
Halifax
Sat, Apr 22
19:00:00
Georgia
Rochester
Sat, Apr 22
20:00:00
Toronto
Buffalo
Sat, Apr 22
21:30:00
Colorado
Saskatchewan
Sat, Apr 22
22:00:00
Las Vegas
San Diego
Sun, Apr 23
15:00:00
Philadelphia
Albany
WK
22
Sat, Apr 29
19:00:00
Philadelphia
Rochester
Sat, Apr 29
19:00:00
Buffalo
Albany
Sat, Apr 29
19:00:00
Halifax
Georgia
Sat, Apr 29
22:00:00
Colorado
San Diego
Sat, Apr 29
22:00:00
New York
Vancouver
Sat, Apr 29
22:30:00
Saskatchewan
Las Vegas
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Stories/Op-Ed

The Rush Are The Newest Dynasty In Town

The Edmonton Oilers in the 1980’s, the Bulls in the 1990’s, the New York Yankees in the 1990’s, The New England Patriots since the early 2000’s, the Toronto Rock at the turn of the millennia, and the Edmonton/Saskatchewan Rush over the last five seasons.

What do these teams have in common?

They were all dynasties in their respective sports that not only demolished the rest of their divisions and the league for longer than four seasons, they ultimately transformed the way the game was played, the way teams were built, and the way that fans perceived the sport.

In the NLL, Les Bartley’s Rock squads from 1999-2003 and Derek Keenan’s Rush squad from 2014-present have not only won their division in at least five consecutive seasons, they also represented their respected conferences in the NLL Finals – not the 2014 Rush – each year, winning the majority of the time they made it to Champion’s Cup. Their continued success in their time makes them the most legitimate dynasties in the league.

It would be hard to find a player on Les’ teams during that stretch that wouldn’t tell you how he revolutionized the game of box lacrosse. Dan Ladouceur was part of the Toronto Rock during the team’s remarkable stretch including after Bartley stepped down after the 2003 Champion’s Cup and the club went on to win a fifth Champions over seven years in 2005. He recalls the impact Les’ coaching adjustments made on the upstart club.

“Back then, we were on the cutting edge of things,” Ladouceur said. “We were probably one of the only teams to do video regularly every week. The coaching was great. But the biggest thing was keeping that core group of guys that Les Bartley and company kept together. Having that closeness lends itself to success year after year.”

No matter which sports dynasty you look at throughout history, there was always a core of talented players who had a tremendous comradery. Putting skills aside, which is hard to do when discussing dynasties, having a bond with guys who each player is familiar with year after year no doubtably raises that team’s level of play and thus begets further success, as shown with both the Rock and Rush.

“I always said that, in our days in Toronto,” Ladouceur remarked. “When we had to go to after parties or sign autographs for fans, it didn’t matter who you left the locker room with. It wasn’t like you’re waiting for a buddy; whoever you walked out with was your chum for the night. The next guy was just as comfortable with the guy beside him.”

That special bond those Rock players formed over the years that helped lead them to five straight division titles and four NLL Champion’s Cups from 1999-2003.

It would have been hard to conceive in the aftermath of that run – and their extended run until 2005 – that any team could replicate what the Rock did in that span. Yet, Derek Keenan, who was a player, assistant coach, and for a brief time in 2004, the head coach of those Rock teams, has been able to reconstruct many of the critical aspects of what they had in Toronto and has been able to reach similar, if not more impressive, heights.

Since 2014, the Rush have won the Western Division title, and since 2015, the Rush have represented the Western Conference In the Champion’s Cup.

Keenan, who has played the role of GM and head coach since joining the Rush in 2009, has found a way to bring in players who are not only extraordinary talents but men who also formed tight-knit friendships as the Rock had.

“To be honest,” the Rush’s Ben McIntosh said. “This is one of the closest teams off the floor I’ve ever been a part of, and that’s having played [competitive] sports 26 years. This team is our family. Anyone would take a bullet for the other guy, and no one on the team is selfish. Everyone has one goal in mind: to win.”

Winning has been the product of Keenan and his staff’s implementations on and off the turf over the course of the last five seasons, but wins haven’t always brought a championship to the Rush.

“I think this time with the Rush has been really special because of the way we built it,” Keenan stated. “I look at a year like 2014 where we didn’t win, and we didn’t even make the final. But, you can still go, ‘that was a really good team.’ But that’s what can happen. That might have been – aside from not having Ben McIntosh – that might have been our best team.”

Out of all that his former teams in Edmonton/Saskatchewan have accomplished, however, Keenan held most of his praise for the 2018 Rush.

“This year, what I’m really proud of is how our guys rebounded,” Keenan said. They focused from the very beginning of training camp til’ the very end on what the goal was. There was very little wavering of what it was. Let’s face it; we were the most consistent team all year, we never last a game in our division. We were pretty dialled in. This was a special year because it was pretty much the same team, with a few tweaks, but it was basically the same guys who suffered that defeat to Georgia [Swarm], and they were focused.”

Ladouceur shared similar sentiments of the Rock after they were denied a three-peat for the first time, yet came back more poised than ever to reclaim the champion’s Cup.

“When we lost after falling short of the three-peat, and you find yourself back,” Ladouceur said. “It’s so similar to what Saskatchewan did this year. To be able to recover from that, learn the lessons from that. Sometimes you lose, or you win two and the third [time] you might start to take things for granted. So, to be able to come back and go, ‘ you know what, let’s go back to what we did do to have success.’ I think that’s when we knew this group is special.”

There’s no denying that the world is watching the next special NLL team write their names in the history books. The questions are: how long can the Rush keep this going? And, will they surpass the Rock as the greatest NLL dynasty of all-time?

“We’re a pretty young squad,” Rush forward Robert Church said of how long this winning culture can last. “We’re built for success for at least the next couple of years. Everyone is still motivated. No one is content with what we’ve done. Everyone is ready to win hopefully three more and not take four years this time.”

Only time will tell if the Rush can go on to win four titles in five years or five titles in seven years or do even better than that. What can be said, is that this Rush team is proving that the intangibles are as much of reason for the team’s success as anything else. As long as they continue to play for each other with the mastery they have since 2014, there is no doubt that this club could become the supreme NLL dynasty.

NLL