A game of Mammoth proportions is coming to the Langley Events Centre Saturday.
And the Calgary Roughnecks feel they'll be up for the challenge as, for the second consecutive December, the National Lacrosse League returns to the LEC.
In 2011, the Toronto Rock and Washington Stealth clashed in an pre-season pro lacrosse battle in front of a capacity crowd at the events centre.
A total of 4,791 fans watched Washington clip Toronto 14-13 in overtime.
This time around, on Dec. 8, the Calgary Roughnecks and Colorado Mammoth will meet in the LEC's arena bowl.
The NLL pre-season match-up is part of an eventful three days of activities at the LEC, starting Friday and wrapping up Sunday (Dec. 7-9).
The game itself will showcase the NLL's top two teams, in terms of winning percentage, from the 2012 regular season.
The Roughnecks led the league with a 12-4 mark, followed by the Mammoth at 11-5.
It will also feature some of the game's premier stars in John Grant Jr. (Colorado), Gavin Prout (Colorado), Scott Ranger (Calgary), and Shawn Evans (Calgary).
On Friday, the second annual coaches' chalk talk will take place, followed by a social.
Coaches from both teams will host the clinic in conjunction with team practices, allowing fellow coaches to see first-hand how the professionals treat training.
On the Saturday, there will be four players' clinics in which young lacrosse hopefuls will have the chance to learn from the best in business on the turf at the LEC.
"The National Lacrosse League is pleased to have Langley Events Centre host a second pre-season game following the great success of last year's event," said Brian Lemon, NLL VP of operations.
Following the game, fans will be able to take part in a free autograph session on the turf, with players on both teams.
Roughnecks head coach/assistant GM Curt Malawsky can't wait for this week-Events Centre.
end. Malawsky works as an electrical supervisor in Maple Ridge and played in the Western Lacrosse Association from 1992 to 2009 with Coquitlam, New Westminster, and North Shore.
Malawsky is quite familiar with success on B.C.'s West Coast.
In his first year with the Adanacs he scored 71 goals and 83 assists for 154 points in 33 league and playoff games and was named a WLA first all-star team member, WLA MVP, and winner of the Maitland Trophy for skill, sportsmanship and contribution to lacrosse in the community.
"I think B.C. is a hotbed for lacrosse," Malawsky said. "There are a lot of good lacrosse people who live here. It's a Canadian summer sport and it's part of B.C.'s culture. A lot of kids grow up with lacrosse sticks in their hands. It's a way of life out here for some people."
Meanwhile, the LEC is also quickly becoming a lacrosse epicentre. It's home to the two-time defending WLA champion Langley Thunder, which has made two consecutive trips to the Mann Cup national championship.
Malawsky says the Thunder have a first-class facility to play in, and hopes the atmosphere will be as electric as it was during last year's pre-season matchup.
"Last year was a sell out and they're hoping to do the same this year," he said. "The LEC is run very professionally, and the Thunder does a great job in there. It's top drawer and I think it's going to be a great event."
As for the game itself, for the more than 30 Roughnecks battling for roster spots, this will be like a playoff game.
"From a player's perspective, they'll be taking it very, very seriously," Malawsky said. "They're fighting for jobs and we want to put on a great show for the fans in B.C. and Langley. We want to put on the best performance we possibly can."
Malawsky said the Mammoth have one of the best players in the world in Grant Jr., adding that these two rivals are no strangers to each other.
"For years we've had some epic battles and it'll be no different on Dec. 8," Malawsky said. "They're coming with their best and we're coming with our best. It'll be full-on go time."
For fans unfamiliar with lacrosse, this game will be a perfect introduction in Malawsky's opinion.
"You've gotta come out and see this," Malawsky said. "Once you come out and watch the game, you're going to be hooked on lacrosse. It's called the fastest game on two feet for a reason. You might see 30 goals in a game and it's non-stop action. The athletes in lacrosse are second to none. It's world class and very exciting. You're not going be sitting in your seat for long."
To buy tickets, visit www.ticketmaster. ca or call 1-855-985-5000.
For more on the Coaches Chalk Talk or player clinics, contact the LEC at 604-8828800 or www.langleyeventscentre.com.
STEALTH ON BOARD
Last month, the LEC added the Washington Stealth to the weekend itinerary.
The Stealth, which played at last year's event, will host its training camp at the LEC during the weekend.
The Stealth will practice on Saturday from 8-10 a.m. and 3-5 p.m. and again on Sunday from 12: 15 p.m. to 2: 15 p.m.
In addition to the practice times, Washington will also be participating in the coaches' chalk talk Friday night, and the players' clinics happening all weekend.
Some select players from the Stealth roster will also be available following Saturday's game between the Mammoth and Roughnecks.
Fans who purchased tickets to the game will be able to watch the Stealth practice sessions for free.
Washington boasts one of the most talented rosters in the NLL, including three players from the 2012 Western Lacrosse Association champion Langley Thunder roster: Lewis Ratcliff, Athan Iannucci, and Brett Hickey.
@ Copyright 2013