Vancouver, BC (Friday, January 2, 2015) – The Vancouver Stealth will start fresh when they kick-off their 2015 regular season in Calgary against the Roughnecks at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday night at 6:00PM PST.
After a 4 and 14 record last season, the Stealth will look to get off to a good start. The team will be led by new Captain Curtis Hodgson, who’s entering his eleventh NLL season and Assistant Captains Cliff Smith and Rhys Duch, who scored a team-high 80 points in 2014. Veterans Lewis Ratcliff and Tyler Richards will be back looking to lead the team back to its winning ways. Of the twenty active players, eight are fresh faces, including two rookies.
“We’re very excited about the guys we’ve added,” said first year Head Coach Dan Perreault. “Last year we feel that some of the guys had off-years so we had to make some changes.”
“The challenge for us is that we’ve got a new group,” said Captain Curtis Hodgson. “The addition of guys like Powless, (Rory) Smith, McCready and some young rookies will be a positive for this team. Our mentality is that we have to play as a group to be successful. It’s going to be a great challenge.”
The biggest off-season acquisition for Vancouver was the addition of three-time NLL Champion Johnny Powless from the Rochester Knighthawks. The 21 year old was traded to the Stealth on NLL Draft day in September along with forward and teammate Joel McCready. The squad also picked up defenceman Rory Smith on Draft day.
“I’m excited to see what this team can do,” said Powless. “We’ve got a lot of good players on both offence and defence, I’m looking forward to it.”
“We’ve got more depth,” said Perreault. “It’s just a matter of playing together now. A lot of the guys have experience but it’s a matter of making sure we’re all on the same page.”
Calgary will be looking to take the next step after losing in last year’s final to Rochester.
“The one word I would say to describe last season is devastating” said Head Coach Curt Malawsky. “To be two minutes away from winning a championship is a tough pill to swallow. There’s a sour taste in our mouth. Despite the same group of guys we got back, it’s a brand new season, and they have to create their own identity.”
The Stealth lost all four meetings versus the Roughnecks last season, being outscored 62-37, which is something they’ll need to change to have success against the Riggers.
“They’ve got the best offensive group in the league,” said Hodgson. “They gel really well together and have good chemistry. We’ll have to try to limit Calgary’s chances and that’ll give us a chance to compete and take one from them in their barn.”
The Stealth and Roughnecks have met thirty-three times in the regular season with Calgary holding a 20-13 advantage.
“Our returning guys are hungry,” stated Perreault. “You could see it at camp, they came in great shape, and worked hard. We defined roles for everybody and I like what I’ve seen so far from the guys.”
Prior to the start of the game, the teams will pay respect to Chris Hall, who coached the Stealth and Roughnecks and won a Champion’s Cup with both teams. The Stealth will honour Hall with a patch on their jerseys and a ‘CH’ decal on the side of their helmets for the 2015 season. Calgary will wear the ‘CH’ decals on their helmets.
The game will be broadcast in Canada on TSN1 and the TSNGO app as well as Watch ESPN in the United States. Stealth fans can also watch the game on the big screens at Samz Pub in Surrey for the official Season Opener Viewing Party starting at 5:00PM.
For details visit www.StealthLAX.com