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Sports This Week: Sask Rush sign Saskatchewan netminder

The Rush recently announced inking goaltender Laine Hruska from Warman.
The Saskatchewan Rush recently announced inking goaltender Laine Hruska from Warman.

YORKTON - Saskatchewan Rush fans may soon have a netminder who learned the game in the province on the floor with the province’s NLL franchise. 

The Rush recently announced inking goaltender Laine Hruska from Warman. 

“I’m definitely confident and excited,” offered Hruska in a recent interview with Yorkton This Week. “I’ve been putting in a lot of work this offseason.” 

In a recent release head coach and associate general manager Jimmy Quinlan said he was pleased to have the netminder back with the team. 

"We are excited to have Laine back. We liked what we saw out of him last year in the short time he was with us and are excited to see what he can do with a full training camp learning our systems and the team’s nuances,” he said.

Hruska rejoins the Rush after the proverbial cup-of-coffee with the franchise this spring. 

Hruska had been drafted by the Georgia Swarm—he was the highest drafted Saskatchewan lacrosse player ever taken in the NLL draft, being drafted 13th overall in the 2020 NLL Draft -- spending most of last season in that organization, before a late season release, after which he signed on with the Rush for the last couple of weeks of the campaign. 

Hruska said he hopes that brief time with the Rush will become an asset now. 

“I was able to show a little bit of what I bring to the table,” he said. 

While the end result was not as hoped in Georgia, Hruska said he was happy for the chance with the Swarm. 

“It was a great opportunity,” he said, adding Georgia was a great organization to work with. 

And, as a rookie goaltender breaking into the top two was not going to be easy, although Hruska said he went to camp with the Swarm with the goal of breaking into the top two. 

“I wasn’t going to training camp thinking I was going to be a number three,” he said, adding his attitude was “. . . to show what I bring to the team and to fight for a spot whether that was as number one or number four.” 

Along the way of showing what he could do Hruska said he was trying to improve his game too.

“I think there are things I learned, like when to challenge harder,” he said, adding it is critical to be able to move out to challenge NLL shooters to cut off angles, but then be able to get back to the posts too if the play moves in closer. 

“I worked on challenging out and then getting back to my posts.” 

Another focus for Hruska last season was to be as big as he can when facing shooters. He said he is naturally a bigger body -- standing at 6-foot-1 and weighing in at 265 pounds -- so he needs to use that to advantage because again NLL shooters find the smallest holes to score on – which was rather evident facing shooters just as Lyle Thompson and Shayne Jackson with the Swarm. 

“It’s a whole other level when you get to the NLL,” said the 21-year-old netminder. 

In terms of bigger netminders recent Rush addition Alex Buque is a large netminder at more than 300 pounds, so will watching him help Hruska? 

The young goalie said he tries not to fashion his play on any one player. 

“What I try to do is not pick one goalie to look at but instead pick little pieces from various goalies,” he said. 

It’s that jump in play that Hruska takes the greatest adjustment. 

“It’s just learning how to be a pro, on and off the floor,” he said. 

Hruska played with the Mimico Mountaineers Jr. A this past season. Suiting up for 14 games, Hruska finished with a 0.709 save percentage, now he just wants a chance. 

“As much as I appreciate the chance to play for the Rush I just want to play in the league as well,” he said. “. . . I just want to be able to show that I can stand against the shooters wherever they come from.”