Sask. Rush coach calls Saskatoon fan support 'incredible'
Derek Keenan reflects on team's inaugural season in the city.
When it was announced that the Saskatchewan Rush was relocating from Edmonton to Saskatoon, Head Coach and General Manager Derek Keenan had mixed feelings.
"I'll be honest, I was a little skeptical of the move at first," said Keenan during an an interview on CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.
However, as the National Lacrosse League franchise began setting up shop on the city, Keenan said he started sensing a lot of enthusiasm brewing.
"Things really started to build pre-season and just [talking] to a lot of the people around town and even the media, just you could kind of feel it building," said Keenan.
Even with the early buzz around the city, Keenan said no one on the team expected to see the huge attendance numbers.
"It's just been incredible," said Keenan. "I mean, it's almost like the people were sitting there, waiting for this to happen."
'There's a great future'
Keenan said the fans filling SaskTel Centre for Rush games proved to be loyal as well.
"We had a couple home games [where] we didn't play all that well and we lost and never heard a 'boo' coming from them," said Keenan.
No matter what the outcome is of Saskatchewan's upcoming best-of-three series for the NLL Champion's Cup against the Buffalo Bandits, Keenan said the team is in a good position to build on this season's momentum and give fans something to keep coming back for.
"We're still a fairly young team, our average age is under 27 or 26," said Keenan. "We have three first round draft picks coming this year, including first overall, so there's a really strong core and foundation. There's a great future."
Meanwhile, it's been a busy morning at the Saskatchewan Rush head office.
In the first two hours, the team sold 6500 tickets for next month's playoff game against Buffalo.
The mass rush of ticket buyers overwhelmed Ticketmaster's website, shutting down its interactive map function.
Viewers will be able to watch Game One of the finals on TSN2 this Saturday, starting at 5:30 p.m. CST.
Game Two of the finals will be held at SaskTel Centre on June 4 at 7 p.m. CST.
With files from CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning