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Mark Matthews signs ‘monumental’ contract with the Saskatchewan Rush

Click to play video: 'Long layoff uncharted territory for the Saskatchewan Rush' Long layoff uncharted territory for the Saskatchewan Rush
WATCH: For the Saskatchewan Rush players, the long layoff is uncharted territory and they aren't sure what to expect when they finally return to the field – Feb 13, 2021

The all-time leading scorer for the Saskatchewan Rush is remaining with the team for another three years.

Rush general manager Derek Keenan said they have come to terms with forward Mark Matthews on a “monumental” three-year contract.

Read more: Saskatchewan Rush rally around 4-year-old Saskatoon cancer patient

Keenan said Matthews has been a leader both on and off the floor in his eight years with the team.

“The three-year agreement exemplifies Mark’s tremendous commitment to our fans, the community, our sponsors, his teammates, and to our new owners — the Priestner Family,” Keenan said in a release Thursday.

“In turn, the Priestner family have already shown their commitment to keeping the Rush at the top of the National Lacrosse League on and off the floor.”

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The terms of the deal were not announced.

Read more: Saskatchewan Rush players face rust, contract questions during National Lacrosse League layoff

Matthew was picked first overall by the Rush in the 2012 NLL draft and was named rookie of the year in 2013.

Since then, he has been one of the top performers in the league and is a four-time first-team all-star.

Matthews holds the league record for most assists in a year — 84 — which he did in 2018 while being named the league’s MVP.

He is also one of only two players in league history to have five consecutive 100-point seasons.

Rush president Colin Priestner called the signing a “great day” for Rush Nation.

“Mark is a cornerstone player in this league and has demonstrated not only exceptional ability on the field but also a commitment to our province and growing the game of lacrosse from the grassroots level,” he said.

The Priestner family, who own the Saskatoon Blades, purchased the Rush last week from Bruce Urban.

Read more: Bruce Urban sells Saskatchewan Rush to Priestner Sports Corporation

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Priestner commended Keenan for signing Matthews.

“This signing is also a testament to Derek Keenan and his ability to draft and retain all-star calibre players year after year,” he said.

“Today we’ve put an integral pillar in place and we are excited to continue to build around Mark and the leadership he brings to our organization.”

Matthews is just one of a number of veterans that the Rush are hoping to re-sign in the coming weeks.

The majority of their players are due to become free agents on Aug. 1.

— with files from Ryan Flaherty

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