Curtis Dickson and the Top 10 Best Calgary Roughnecks
The Calgary Roughnecks have played for 10 years in the National Lacrosse League and have won the Champion's Cup twice in their short life. As one of the most successful franchises in league history, the Riggers have only missed the playoffs once—in their first year.
Not surprisingly, during that time the team has had some outstanding players who have made a huge impact on the floor. In honor of the Roughneck's first decade as a team, here are the 10 best players to suit up for the franchise, listed alphabetically.
Honourable mentions must go to several players who could have just as easily made this list:
Curtis Dickson won Rookie of the Year honors in the NLL last season. He finished fifth on the Roughnecks in scoring, with 52 points. He was eighth in goals in the league, with 33. His acrobatic plays around the net quickly earned him the nickname "Superman." (See him at 2:27 of the video.)
The sky is the limit (pun intended) for this young left-side forward. He looks to be a very solid contributor for years to come.
Kyle Goundrey was with Calgary from 2002-2009 and helped the Riggers win their first Champion's Cup in 2004. He is fourth on the Roughneck's all-time list for assists (187), games (92) and points (265). A key contributor for years, Goundrey was a reliable and steady presence on the offensive end as a playmaker.
From 2003-2010, Tracey Kelusky was the Calgary Roughnecks. The team captain, Kelusky was the heart and soul of a franchise that won two Champion's Cups while he was wearing the "C." Highlight reel goals were also routine during his time with the 'Necks: Watch the video at 0:50 for one of many.
Second all-time on the team for goals (256) and assists (282), Kelusky was also named to the NLL's All-Pro team three times as a Roughneck. He won the league's Sportsmanship Award in 2007. The news of his trade to Buffalo—following the 2010 season—sent shock waves throughout the local lacrosse community. His absence is still felt.
Andrew McBride took over as captain when Tracey Kelusky was traded, following the 2010 season. An All-Star and a fierce competitor, McBride sets the tone for the defense and takes care of the defensive zone with grit and aggression. He is a consummate hard worker and a prime example of how to operate within the Roughnecks' team-first style of play.
He is second all-time in games played for Calgary, with 135, and the all-time team leader in penalty minutes, with 272.
Goaltender Curtis Palidwor was between the pipes when the Roughnecks took home their first championship in 2004. The Riggers leaned heavily on Palidwor during that run and he thrived on the pressure. He posted a strong 79.55 save percentage in the playoffs, as well as earning game MVP honors for the Champion's Cup game, which Calgary won 14-11 over the Buffalo Bandits.
He is the team's all-time leader in minutes played by a goaltender (3,236) and returned to the Roughnecks last year as the backup to Mike Poulin. He picked up a handful of minutes before retiring at the end of the season.
An elite scorer, right side sniper Lewis Ratcliff wore out goalies for six seasons as a Calgary Roughneck. Ratcliff was a huge part of the Riggers' attack during their Champion's Cup win in 2004.
He is third all-time on the team for goals, assists and points (210g/251a/461pts), as well as being fourth for loose balls (432). He is tied for the team's single-game scoring record, with 11 points against the Edmonton Rush in April 2007. That same year, Ratcliff had his best offensive season overall, notching 50 goals and 104 points.
The following year, in what was a huge surprise to many, Ratcliff was dealt to the Toronto Rock midseason for Josh Sanderson.
Roughnecks fans were stunned in 2008 when Calgary traded Lewis Ratcliff to the Toronto Rock for Josh "Shooter" Sanderson. Sanderson began paying dividends to the team immediately, picking up 14 points in just four games to wrap up the season. He followed that up with 10 points in two playoff games, as well.
Sanderson had long been a top point-getter and continued to fill up the net with Calgary. He ran off back-to-back 100 point seasons and won the NLL scoring title with 104 points in 2010 (ironically, Ratcliff finished second in league scoring that year).
Sanderson powered the Calgary offense to the team's second Champion's Cup title in 2009, picking up 19 points in three playoff games that year while earning the Champion's Cup MVP. An outstanding playmaker, he led the NLL in assists in 2009 and 2010.
Sanderson was traded to the Boston Blazers following the 2010 season in exchange for three players—including Daryl Veltman and Jon Harnett, who are still part of the Roughnecks roster.
Transition player Jeff Shattler is coming off his best season ever. He won NLL MVP and Transition Player of the Year awards for his outstanding play.
He was tied for the team lead in points with Dane Dobbie, at 75, and was in the top 20 in several league statistical categories, including points, goals, assists, short-handed goals and loose balls.
A force in both ends and a tireless workhorse, Shattler's role has evolved into more of an offensive one over the years, although his work in the defensive end continues to be stellar.
Calgary native Kaleb Toth had already established himself as a rising star with a flair for dramatic playoff performances by his second season in the NLL. Toth scored the game-winning goal for the Toronto Rock in the 2001 Champion's Cup game as time expired on the clock. That's when the Roughnecks picked him up in the expansion draft.
He would continue his scoring ways in his hometown and is now the Rigger's all-time leading scorer, with 620 points.
Toth has scored 30 goals or more in a season five times with the Roughnecks. He had his best overall offensive year in 2009, when he notched 33 goals and 47 assists for 80 points.
Toth has a reputation for having one of the hardest shots in the NLL and strikes fear in the hearts of goalies league-wide. His goal from midcourt as time expired in the first half of the 2009 Champion's Cup game was not only dramatic, but had to be seen to be believed—a howitzer blast, picking the top corner from a mile away (watch from 2:18 of the video).
The goal gave the Roughnecks a lead of two going into the locker room and enough momentum to carry them to their second championship.
The video says all you need to know about Taylor Wray: He breaks out his own end, levels a defender, and makes a perfect outlet pass to set up a goal.
A hard-nosed defender, Wray won the NLL Rookie of the Year honors in 2004, as well as sharing the Defensive Player of the Year award that same season. He is a relentless pursuer, a big hitter and knows how to make a play coming out of his own end to get the transition game working.
Taylor and his older brother Devon were a huge part of the Roughnecks' first championship in 2004. He played only four seasons with the Roughnecks, but is still racked up the fourth-most penalty minutes ever on the team (148).
Wray was traded to Philadelphia in a monster three-team deal after the 2007 season that brought superstar goalie Steve Dietrich to Calgary.