|League||National Lacrosse League|
|Based in||Calgary, Alberta|
|Colours||Black, White, Grey|
|Head coach||Curt Malawsky|
|General manager||Mike Board|
|Championships||(3) 2004, 2009, 2019|
|Division titles||(4) 2004, 2009, 2014, 2019|
|Local media||FAN 960|
The Calgary Roughnecks are a professional box lacrosse team based in Calgary, Alberta. They are members of the Western Division of the National Lacrosse League (NLL) and play their home games on WestJet Field at Scotiabank Saddledome. The team name is derived from the roughnecks who work drilling rigs in Alberta's oil and gas industry. The team is affectionately known by fans as the Riggers.
The Roughnecks were founded in 2001, their first season was 2002, and they have qualified for the post-season every year from 2003 to 2016. They have won three division championships (2005, 2009, 2011) and have captured the NLL Cup as NLL champions three times. Calgary won all three titles on their home floor, defeating the Buffalo Bandits in 2004, the New York Titans in 2009, and the Bandits again in 2019.
The National Lacrosse League announced on March 28, 2001, that it had awarded an expansion franchise to a group of four owners led by Brad Banister. The idea for the team was formed a year earlier during Calgary's famous Canada Day lacrosse tournament where it was suggested that professional lacrosse could work in Calgary. Within eight weeks of Banister contacting the league, Calgary was announced as the tenth franchise in the NLL at a cost of $500,000. The new team did not immediately announce its nickname, though Banister stated it would relate to the oilpatch. The name was later announced as the "Roughnecks", named after workers on an oil rig.
Kevin Melnyk was installed as the coach and general manager, but as the season approached, Banister felt that the team was in danger of not being prepared for the season, replaced Melnyk. He took over as general manager, and hired Chris Hall to be the coach. The pair sought to build a more veteran team that is typical for an expansion franchise, and traded their first draft pick, Blaine Manning, to the Toronto Rock for Calgary native Kaleb Toth, who was expected to be the team's marquee player.
The team made its debut on November 24, 2001, against the Montreal Express, a fellow expansion team. The Roughnecks lost the game 32–17 in front of 9,517 fans. The score shattered league records for total goals in a game with 49, and Montreal set a new mark for goals by one team. Another loss to the Express followed five days later before the Roughnecks earned their first win in franchise history on December 2 with a 17–11 defeat on the road versus the Ottawa Rebel. The Roughnecks then won three of their next four games, including their first home win on December 14, against the Columbus Landsharks. The team lost its last nine games, however, to finish with a 4–12 record.
In the 2002-2003 season, the Roughnecks enhanced their record to 9-7, with a very successful 6-2 record at home. Leading the team with 63 points was Tracey Kelusky. Close behind him was Kaleb Toth with 61 points. Before the season started Brad Banister promised the fans the playoffs and they were successful in achieving this goal. They travelled to Buffalo for the first playoff game in franchise history. The team lost 16-9 against the Buffalo Bandits to get knocked out of the playoffs.
The Roughnecks continued their improvement in the 2003-2004 season with a record of 10-6. Lewis Ratcliff lead the team with 71 points. Tracey Kelusky finished second with 69. Again Banister predicted a playoff entry and this time he predicted a home game to boot. Finishing third in the West the only way to get a home playoff game was to meet the third place team from the East. In the playoffs, the Roughnecks beat the San Jose Stealth 15-14 on the road to advance to the conference final. Again on the road, the Roughnecks beat the Colorado Mammoth with a final score of 13-11. On May 7, 2004, the Roughnecks hosted the championship game against the Buffalo Bandits, who had knocked them out of the playoff the previous year. Calgary won the Champion's Cup by beating the Bandits 14-11 in front of a home crowd of 19,289 in the Pengrowth Saddledome.
For the 2004-2005 season former Roughneck player and assistant coach Dave Bremner was hired as general manager.
The Roughnecks hosted the 2005 NLL All Star Game on February 26, 2005. This was the first NLL game televised nationally in the United States; it was broadcast on NBC. Roughnecks' captain Kelusky took home the Most Valuable Player award as the East beat the West in an 11-10 overtime win. The 2005 season saw the Roughnecks come in first place in the Western Conference for the first time in franchise history. This garnered them a bye in the first round of the playoffs. On April 30, they hosted the Arizona Sting for the conference title and lost with a score of 19-15.
Prior to the 2005-2006 season the Roughnecks hired on former Buffalo GM Kurt Silcott to replace Dave Bremner and become the fourth GM in team history.
After beginning the 2007 NLL season 4-1, the Roughnecks lost three straight games, and Silcott fired the only head coach in Roughnecks history, Chris Hall. Silcott filled in as interim head coach for one game, and then hired former Roughnecks player Jeff Dowling as the second head coach in Roughnecks history on March 9, 2007. He was replaced as Head Coach for the 2008 season by Troy Cordingley, while former Toronto Rock Head Coach Terry Sanderson was added as Assistant Coach.
In 2008, Calgary finished 3rd in the West with a 7-9 record, beat Colorado in the division semi-final, but lost in the division final to the Portland LumberJax. Despite this relatively successful season, general manager Kurt Silcott was fired. Team President Brad Banister gave no reason for the firing other than to say that "the team and Silcott are heading into different directions, and this move would allow both parties to succeed to their full potential" and that he would take over as interim GM.
The 2009 season was the most successful in team history. After opening the year with a record five straight wins, the Roughnecks finished the season 12-4. This allowed Calgary to take first overall in the NLL for the first time ever. They would go on to defeat the Colorado Mammoth and San Jose Stealth in the playoffs and then triumph over the New York Titans 12-10 in the Champion's Cup final to win their first NLL championship since 2004.
The 2019 season was up and down for the Roughnecks and they finished the season 10-8. However, they ended it on a winning streak and then upset the suddenly-slumping San Diego Seals in the opening round by a score of 12-11 in San Diego. They then faced the Colorado Mammoth, who had similarly upset the defending champion Saskatchewan Rush and defeated them 8-4 in the West Final in Calgary in one of the lowest-scoring playoff games in NLL history.
This set them up for a best-of-three series against the Buffalo Bandits, which the Roughnecks swept with a 10-7 victory in Game 1 in Buffalo on May 18, and a 14-13 victory in an overtime thriller in Game 2 in Calgary on May 25. Rhys Duch scored the overtime winning goal.
Banister announced shortly before the 2011 season began that he had placed the team for sale. He had talks with the National Hockey League's (NHL) Calgary Flames, who indicated at the time they were not interested in the team. Midway through the season, Banister announced that he was late in meeting payroll and that the team was in danger of folding during the season. In a press release, he made an impassioned plea for the city's business community to step forward and save the team.
The announcement touched off several weeks of speculation about the team, its future, and the potential for the Flames to purchase the team. On the floor, the team shrugged off the team's instability, finishing with the best record in the NLL at 11–5. As they were set to face the Colorado Mammoth in the West semi-final, Banister put out another plea to the fans for support in the playoff game, threatening to turn the West final, which Calgary would have had the right to host, to their opponent for the game. The Roughnecks defeated the Mammoth, and played the West final at home, but were eliminated by the Washington Stealth in an upset by a 10–8 score.
The team's future was settled in the off-season, as Banister announced on June 14, 2011, that the Flames had purchased the team, becoming the third NHL franchise to operate an NLL team after the Mammoth and Bandits. As part of the deal, it was announced that Banister would assist in the team's transition period, and was replaced as general manager by former Calgary Herald writer and Flames employee Mike Board.
Howie, the honey badger, is the team's official mascot. The Roughnecks introduced the new mascot at a media event on January 26, 2012, and later unveiled the name after holding a naming contest. The team's former mascot is Derrick, an oilpatch rigger.
|Active (21-man) roster||Inactive roster||Coaches|
|2002||Northern||4–12||3rd||2–6||2–6||224||264||Chris Hall||Did not qualify|
|2003||Northern||9–7||2nd||6–2||3–5||209||207||Chris Hall||Lost division Semi-Final|
|2004||Western||10–6||3rd||4–4||6–2||214||187||Chris Hall||NLL Champions|
|2005||Western||10–6||1st||6–2||4–4||216||208||Chris Hall||Lost division Final|
|2006||Western||9–7||3rd||4–4||5–3||183||178||Chris Hall||Lost division Semi-Final|
|2007||Western||9–7||2nd||4–4||5–3||219||202||Chris Hall / Jeff Dowling||Lost division Semi-Final|
|2008||Western||7–9||3rd||5–3||2–6||183||178||Troy Cordingley||Lost Division Final|
|2009||Western||12–4||1st||5–3||7–1||206||167||Troy Cordingley||NLL Champions|
|2010||Western||10–6||2nd||5–3||5–3||193||169||Dave Pym||Lost division Semi-Final|
|2011||Western||11–5||1st||6–2||5–3||198||181||Dave Pym||Lost division Final|
|2012||Western||12–4||1st||5–3||7–1||216||170||Dave Pym||Lost division Semi-Final|
|2013||Western||9–7||1st||3–5||6–2||222||211||Curt Malawsky||Lost division Final|
|2014||Western||12–6||2nd||6–3||6–3||237||215||Curt Malawsky||Lost Championship Final|
|2015||Western||7–11||3rd||4–5||3–6||212||217||Curt Malawsky||Lost division Final|
|2016||Western||8–10||3rd||5–4||3–6||216||216||Curt Malawsky||Lost division Final|
|2017||Western||8–10||4th||5–4||3–6||212||220||Curt Malawsky||Did not qualify|
|2018||Western||8–10||3rd||5–4||3–6||227||211||Curt Malawsky||Lost division Final|
|2019||Western||10–8||3rd||5–4||5–4||212||201||Curt Malawsky||NLL Champions|
|2020||Western||5-5||4th||1-4||4-1||122||111||Curt Malawsky||Cancelled due to COVID-19|
|Playoff Totals||16 Appearances||17-17||10–8||7–9||377||365||3 championships|
|2003||Quarterfinals||Calgary 9||Buffalo 16|
|2004||Division Semifinal||Calgary 15||San Jose 14|
|Division Final||Calgary 13||Colorado 11|
|Championship||Buffalo 11||Calgary 14|
|2005||Division Final||Arizona 19||Calgary 15|
|2006||Division Semifinal||Calgary 17||Colorado 18|
|2007||Division Semifinal||Arizona 13||Calgary 9|
|2008||Division Semifinal||Calgary 15||Colorado 13|
|Division Final||Portland 16||Calgary 12|
|2009||Division Semifinal||Colorado 8||Calgary 15|
|Division Final||San Jose 5||Calgary 17|
|Championship||New York 10||Calgary 12|
|2010||Division Semifinal||Edmonton 11||Calgary 7|
|2011||Division Semifinal||Colorado 6||Calgary 10|
|Division Final||Washington 10||Calgary 8|
|2012||Division Semifinal||Edmonton 19||Calgary 11|
|2013||Division Semifinal||Colorado 10||Calgary 15|
|Division Final||Washington 14||Calgary 13|
|2014||Division Semifinal||Colorado 15||Calgary 16 (OT)|
|Division Final (Game 1)||Edmonton 11||Calgary 12 (OT)|
|Division Final (Game 2)||Calgary 13||Edmonton 15|
|Division Final (Mini-game)||Calgary 2||Edmonton 1|
|Championship (Game 1)||Rochester 7||Calgary 10|
|Championship (Game 2)||Calgary 10||Rochester 16|
|Championship (Mini-game)||Calgary 2||Rochester 3|
|2015||Division Semifinal||Colorado 6||Calgary 11|
|Division Final (Game 1)||Calgary 6||Edmonton 10|
|Division Final (Game 2)||Edmonton 9||Calgary 12|
|Division Final (Mini-game)||Edmonton 4||Calgary 1|
|2016||Division Semifinal||Calgary 11(OT)||Colorado 10|
|Division Final (Game 1)||Saskatchewan 16||Calgary 10|
|Division Final (Game 2)||Calgary 9||Saskatchewan 12|
|2019||Division Semifinal||Calgary 12||San Diego 11|
|Division Final||Colorado 4||Calgary 8|
|Championship (Game 1)||Calgary 10||Buffalo 7|
|Championship (Game 2)||Buffalo 13||Calgary 14(OT)|
|Most Valuable Player||Jeff Shattler||2011|
|Rookie of the Year||Taylor Wray||2004|
|Defensive Player of the Year||Taylor Wray
|Transition Player of the Year||Jeff Shattler||2011|
|Goaltender of the Year||Mike Poulin||2012|
|Sportsman of the Year||Tracy Kelusky||2007|
|Les Bartley Award
Coach of the Year
|Executive of the Year||Brad Banister||2003|
|Champion's Cup Most Valuable Player||Curtis Palidwor||2004|