YORKTON - Saskatchewan Rush veteran Kyle Rubisch is now the longest serving player in franchise history.
He set a team record when the team took to the floor in Vancouver Feb. 4.
Rubisch who resigned with the Rush inking a one-year deal last August, played his 171st game making him the leader of most games played in franchise history ahead of Brett Mydske at 170.
Rubisch said the record hadn’t really been on his radar going into the game.
“To be honest going into the game I didn’t know I was about to pass it,” he said, adding he realized after the game and he started to get messages congratulating him.
And then he and Mydske had a chance to talk it over after the game too, which Rubisch said was pretty special since they had been teammates for years, and breaking the mark against his was great.
Rubisch said he added he recognizes being in the same game had to be rather unusual.
“It probably doesn’t happen very often,” he said.
Of course setting the record is testament to Rubisch staying in the Rush fold for years.
Originally from Brampton, Ont, he was drafted second overall into the league to the Boston Blazers in the 2010 NLL Entry Draft. The next season Rubisch moved to the Rush following the 2011 Dispersal Draft where GMs choose players from teams that ceased operations.
Rubisch said he recognizes many veterans opt to sign deals closer to their homes when they reach free agency, but it wasn’t the route he has chosen to take.
“I really deliberated about that, but I really love the Rush organization,” he said, adding that goes from management to fans.
The fans are actually a huge factor for Rubisch.
“The fans make it a fun place to play,” he said. “Every game I’m still in awe of the passion and how loud the fans are.”
Rubisch said the love affair started as soon as the team moved to Saskatoon from Edmonton in 2016, was solidified by the team’s championship the same year, and continues now.
“Us winning the championship the first year in Saskatchewan helped grow the fan base,” he said.
The current season has been a solid one too, at least so far.
The Rush now have a record of 4-2, second in the NLL West, trailing San Diego which sits at 6-1, and with the same four wins as Colorado, Calgary and Panther City, each having more losses.
“Last year we had so many tight losses – one goal games,” said Rubisch. “That doesn’t make things as fun.
“This year we’re in a way better spot than last season.”
It helps that netminder Alex Buque has steadied things defensively.
“For us he’s been the backbone of the defence for us,” said Rubisch. “He’s great on the floor He’s great off the floor.”
And while it’s early, so moves might still be made, Rubisch likes the team’s chances.
“I feel right now we’re in a pretty good position to make a run for it,” he said.
So does Rubisch see himself as a Rush player forever?
Well, the veteran is a four-time Defensive Player of the Year, six-time All-League First Team, and two-time All-League Second Team, so he would seem an asset to be held onto.
Rubisch said he knows he want to continue to play.
“I’m going to play as long as I can. I still love the game,” he said, but he is not sure how long that might be.
“I just go year-by-year, day-by-day . . . I try not to put too much thought into that, but my time with the Rush has been special.”