Ryan Dilks has a lot of memories playing for the Rush.
He started his pro career in Boston for one season and moved on to the Rush where he would spend the next decade of his career – four seasons in Edmonton and six in Saskatchewan.
He won three NLL Cups with the Rush in 2015, 2016 and 2018 and in 2016 won NLL Defender of the Year.
Dilks captained the Saskatchewan Rush last season and will be facing his former team on Saturday.
“I’m excited to see a lot of familiar faces and it’s going to be weird going on the other side of the rink for that one, but I I’ve had a lot of great memories in that building and, and they treated me really well, Dilks said. “I’ll be excited and chomping at the bit to get there and see everyone but then once the whistle blows it’ll be gametime.”
Dilks is a leader for the Vancouver Warriors in his first season with the team and is someone Warriors’ Head Coach Curt Malawsky can count on every practice and game. Dilks shows up in shape, prepared, and helps lighten the mood so guys are squeezing their sticks too tight.
“He’s just unbelievable. He’s got a really good demeanour, and such a team guy,” Malawsky said. “He’s cracking jokes at the right time. He comes to play every night and he plays so hard. I knew Ryan Dilks was a good lacrosse player, played Team Canada, I knew he was one of their [Rush’s] top, if not their top defender all those years. I’d heard a lot of good things about him, being a good locker room guy, good team guy, but he’s completely blown me out of the water.”
In the Warriors’ 15-7 win over the Georgia Swarm, Ryan Dilks played a big role in Vancouver’s defence holding Lyle Thompson to two goals.
So far this season the Warriors’ defender has collected 12 loose balls, has seven caused turnovers and two blocked shots.
The 12-year NLL veteran goes over strategy with the defensive cohort, working over the details with some of the other defensive vets and Defensive Coach Rob Williams.
“We all watch film and dissect it. Rob calls me sometimes and Beersy and Mydske to get our thoughts and then he shares it with the group, and we all break down what we can improve on. We learn from our mistakes, but then we also prepare quickly for what’s ahead,” Dilks said.
Preparing for the game against the Rush, the Warriors are looking to clean up a few things that set them back in the first half against the Calgary Roughnecks, Dilks mentioning he liked the team’s response in the second half.
“We went down early, and it was a little chaotic out there. But defensively we regrouped and settled in and Boldy settled in, and we held them four goals in the second half,” he said.
Dilks helps the team strike a balance between making sure they understand what they need to change and looking forward to the next game.
“We can’t change what just happened. It’s over, we have to move on,” Dilks shared. “It’s all business but at the same time if guys get too down and too worried about the last game then it just doesn’t become fun. When we’re not having fun then guys aren’t playing lacrosse like they should be, it’s a ‘what’s next’ mentality.”
His teammates are taking their cue from him, Warriors’ forward Ryan Martel respects Dilks’ championship experience and is all ears when Dilks has a message for the group.
“Dilksy actually does one of the best jobs of keeping boys together on the group chat and making us laugh so having that leadership come in is definitely playing a role,” Martel said.
Keeping an eye on what’s ahead has served Dilks well throughout his lacrosse career. He leads by example in the box and is a driving force behind the team’s commitment to continuous improvement and a relentless pursuit of success.