The Edmonton Rush announced today that General Manager and Head Coach Derek Keenan signed a two year agreement. Keenan enters his fifth year as General Manager and Head Coach for the team .
“We have full confidence in the direction Derek Keenan is taking this team, this past season was another strong campaign that provided a good look into the exciting potential of the club” states Owner and Governor Bruce Urban.
“Keenan is the finest coach in pro lacrosse at pre game preparation for his players, if this team executes the game plan night in and night out, get ready for some winning seasons.”
Despite a disappointing loss to the Washington Stealth in the NLL West Division Semi-Final , the Rush served notice of a very bright future for the Black and Silver and the loyal members of Rush Nation can expect big things in 2014 when the NLL expands to an 18 game regular season schedule
“There may have been other opportunity out there for me but there is really no other place I want to be. I did not even bother to test other waters. We have a very committed owner in Bruce Urban and a hard working front office staff.” states GM/Head Derek Keenan
“Most importantly I think we have a really talented young team, a group of athletes whom I really believe in. They are committed to winning the NLL Championship and I believe committed to putting in the work to accomplish that ultimate goal. I wish the 2014 season started tomorrow. It’s a long off season and we have unfinished business and the work starts today.”
Edmonton ended the regular season with a 9-7 mark and in a three-way tie for first in the West with Calgary and Washington. A 12-11 OT loss to Calgary in the regular-season finale pushed the Rush down to third spot in the West for playoff seeding which sent them on the road to Washington for the semi-final. And while the Rush’s year came to a close, it was a banner year on many fronts.
* A perennially low scoring team, the Rush filled the net in 2013 with a franchise high 203 goals, third highest in the NLL.
* While boosting the offense, the Rush maintained a terrific defense, surrendering the fewest goals in the league at just 170.
* Edmonton’s seven road wins was a franchise record and the most of any team in the NLL. Their dominance on the road yielded the largest margin of victory in franchise history (18-10 at Washington), the most goals scored in a game (18, twice), and three road victories where they scored 17+ goals (Washington, Calgary and Toronto). During their stellar 7-1 road record this season, the Rush led the NLL with 114 goals for and only 76 goals against.
While the team strengths were obvious, individual players also stepped to the forefront during the ’13 season.
- Ryan Ward finished the season as the Rush’s leading scorer, breaking his own single-season franchise record with 75 points, along with setting new club records for assists (54) and power-play assists (16) in a season.
- Mark Matthews, 2013 Rookie of the Year, led the Rush and finished fifth in the league with 38 goals – the third-highest goal total for a rookie in NLL history. Matthews was a three-time winner of the NLL’s Rookie of the Month, took home Rookie of the Week honors for a nine-point game against Washington, and was named NLL Offensive Player of the Week for netting 11 goals in a weekend set against Washington and Colorado. Matthews led all NLL rookies with 69 points.
- Kyle Rubisch, 2013 NLL Defender of the Year, had another outstanding season and was named the Rush’s team MVP. Rubisch also broke his own NLL record by racking up 44 forced turnovers.
- Breakout stars included:
- Chris Corbeil who set a club record and finished second in the league with four shorthanded goals, and led all NLL defenders with nine goals.
- Jeremy Thompson who finished fifth in the league in both faceoff wins and loose balls, and was named the Rush’s Unsung Hero Award winner.
- Zack Greer who tied a club record and finished second in the NLL with four game-winning goals.
- Curtis Knight was fourth amongst NLL rookies in points (46) and assists (27) and fifth in goals (19), and also tied for second in power-play goals with six.