Tag Archives: box lacrosse

Las Vegas Desert Dogs to Select 14 Players In Expansion Draft July 7

As the club prepares for its inaugural NLL season, the Las Vegas Desert Dogs will take the first major step in building their roster via the league’s Expansion Draft. General Manager and Head Coach Shawn Williams will oversee the team’s 14 selections from among the available players not protected by the other 14 NLL teams. The Desert Dogs’ selections will be announced July 7.

The league’s 14 other franchises must submit their respective lists of protected players by Thursday, June 23 by 12pm ET. No team can lose more than one player via the Expansion Draft.

“The Expansion Draft will not only help in stocking the Las Vegas Desert Dogs with exciting, talented players from among the deep reserves of the best lacrosse stars in the world, but it will also serve as a further introduction of the new, vibrant franchise to the lacrosse community,” said Brian Lemon, NLL Executive VP, Lacrosse Operations. “We know from the experience of last year’s Panther City Lacrosse Club Expansion Draft that there are many outstanding players in the NLL that a team can quickly become a contender through these selections even in its first year.”

Additional ways for Las Vegas to build its roster prior to its inaugural game this fall include, signing free agents starting on August 1st, the NLL Entry Draft, and player trades with other teams.

For the latest scores and developments about the National Lacrosse League, please visit: NLL.com and find the NLL on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

About the National Lacrosse League

The National Lacrosse League (NLL) is North America’s premier professional lacrosse league. Founded in 1986, the NLL ranks third in average attendance for pro indoor sports worldwide, behind only the NHL and NBA. The League is comprised of 15 franchises across the United States and Canada: Albany FireWolves, Buffalo Bandits, Calgary Roughnecks, Colorado Mammoth, Georgia Swarm, Halifax Thunderbirds, Las Vegas Desert Dogs, New York Riptide, Panther City Lacrosse Club (TX), Philadelphia Wings, Rochester Knighthawks, San Diego Seals, Saskatchewan Rush, Toronto Rock, and Vancouver Warriors.

For more information, visit NLL.com and find @NLL on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. For more information visit NLL.com.

National Lacrosse League, USA Lacrosse Announce Strategic Partnership

The National Lacrosse League (@NLL), the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, and USA Lacrosse, the governing body for lacrosse in the United States, today have announced a strategic partnership agreement to unify efforts to help the sport grow with a specific focus on box lacrosse.

“We’re committed to expanding our presence in the box game and this agreement is a significant step in that direction,” said Marc Riccio, president and CEO of USA Lacrosse. “We’ve enjoyed a long and healthy relationship with the NLL over the years. This new agreement formalizes that relationship and helps us align our efforts to ensure that we’re maximizing our value to the lacrosse community.”

“This partnership will help expand the scope and breath of every level of lacrosse and introduce thousands of people to the stories and skills of our athletes,” said Matt Hutchings, Chairman of the NLL Board of Governors and COO and EVP at Kroenke Sports & Entertainment “We want to thank Marc and his team for helping spearhead this partnership and look forward to a long and fruitful relationship.’

Using its expertise in the box game, the NLL will assist USA Lacrosse in developing box coaches and officials by supplementing the curriculum in USA Lacrosse coach and official development programs with box-specific content. The league will also provide its coaches and players to present at the annual USA Lacrosse National Convention.

The two entities will also explore options related to talent identification and player development with the goal of expanding the player pool for U.S. national teams and increasing the number of Americans positioned to play in the NLL including opportunities such as the National Collegiate Box Series.

Diversity and inclusion initiatives are a central part of the agreement. The league will collaborate with NLL Indigenous athletes and the USA Lacrosse Native American Advisory Council to create ongoing historical and cultural Native resources. The NLL will also support additional USA Lacrosse efforts in diversity and inclusion, such as the “We Stand Initiative” and incorporate elements of the USA Lacrosse cultural competency course into its player and staff education program. The league will also look for opportunities to engage with USA Lacrosse Urban Lacrosse Alliance programs that are located in NLL home markets.

The agreement includes the opportunity for USA Lacrosse members to have access to discounted tickets from their local NLL franchises. That’s part of a robust effort between the NLL and USA Lacrosse to share marketing platforms and assets to generate additional interest in box lacrosse.

Under the agreement, USA Lacrosse will align its playing rules for box lacrosse to NLL rules as closely as reasonably feasible, with the mutual understanding that modifications to USA Lacrosse rules will be necessary due to varying facility requirements, age-appropriate development, player safety, and equipment. The two entities will evaluate potential rule changes on an annual basis.

National Lacrosse League Playoff Pairings, Schedule Set As Buffalo, San Diego Win Conference Titles

The National Lacrosse League (@NLL) regular season is complete, with Saturday’s results completing the expanded playoff format as eight teams have advanced to the NLL “Chase for the Championship,” beginning on Friday, May 6. Buffalo (14-4) and San Diego (10-8) are the East and West Conference regular season champions, respectively, and will have home floor advantage in Quarterfinal single-elimination games, along with Conference runners-up Toronto (13-5, East) and Calgary (10-8, West).

In the new NLL postseason format, the top four teams in the East (Buffalo, Toronto, Halifax, Albany) and top three in the West (San Diego, Calgary, Colorado) and one wild card team (Philadelphia) qualified. The Wings’ thrilling 11-10 victory in OT over Georgia last night gave them the final slot over the Swarm. Albany also secured its berth with a win over New York.

The Quarterfinal matchups are as follows:

(E3) Halifax at (E2) Toronto, Friday, May 6, 7:30 p.m. ET, Sports Interaction Game of the Week on TSN, ESPN+
(W3) Colorado at (W2) Calgary, Friday, May 6, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+, TSN.ca, Altitude
(E4) Albany at (E1) Buffalo, Saturday, May 7, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+, TSN.ca
(WC) Philadelphia at (W1) San Diego, Saturday, May 7, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN+, TSN.ca, WPSG, FOX5

The Quarterfinal winners will meet in best-of-three Conference Finals: the first games are set for May 12-16), with Game 2 (May 19-23) and Game 3 (if necessary, May 26-30) set to close out the month (dates subject to change). The best-of-three NLL Finals will take place June 2-6, June 9-13, and June 16-20 (if necessary). Exact dates and broadcast schedules for media partners TSN and ESPN for the Conference Finals and NLL Finals rounds will be announced once the pairings and dates are set.

For the latest scores and developments in the National Lacrosse League, please visit: NLL.com and find the NLL on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

National Lacrosse League And BetMGM Extend And Expand Sports Betting Partnership

The National Lacrosse League (NLL) today announced an extension and expansion of its partnership with BetMGM, a leading sports betting and iGaming operator, as an Official Sports Betting partner of the NLL. The two companies have extended their partnership agreement for an additional year, with greater investment and a focus on innovation.

“We are proud and honored to continue our partnership with BetMGM,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz. “BetMGM has been an incredible partner in helping us build the NLL sports betting platform. This extension shows the value of our partnership and what we both bring to the table for each other, which is what partnering is all about. Our shared like-minded vision will continue to increase the relevance of the league and draw a wider audience of fans, while providing BetMGM access to a new audience of NLL fans on television.”

As part of the agreement, BetMGM and the NLL will work together to provide odds for regular season and post-season NLL games in the 2021-22 season. In addition to receiving exposure through the NLL’s expanded broadcast partnership with ESPN and ESPN+, BetMGM will have significant in-arena presence in NLL venues. BetMGM also will be fully integrated into the league’s social media and digital activities. The partnership will be activated through organic broadcast integrations, redefining the way sports betting is supported through league partnerships.

Matt Prevost, BetMGM’s Chief Revenue Officer, said, “We’re pleased to elevate our partnership with the NLL and look forward to growing the League’s sports betting audience. The NLL’s passionate fan base will appreciate the new and engaging experiences only offered by BetMGM.”

As BetMGM continues to expand its sports betting platforms to new states, responsible gaming education remains a key focus. BetMGM is proud to provide resources to help customers play responsibly. For more information on BetMGM follow @BetMGM on Twitter.

For the most up to date information and breaking news, sign up for the NLL newsletter at NLL.com. You can also follow Deputy Commissioner Jessica Berman and Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz on Twitter @JessicaBerman1 and @NLLcommish, respectively.

NLL UNITES Week 6 Leaguewide Initiative

The National Lacrosse League (@NLL), the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, announced that each of its 12 teams playing in week 6 will wear a specially designed orange “Every Child Matters” warm up shirts during the weekend of January 6-8th. Part of the recently launched NLL Unites, the league continues its Community and Social Responsibility programs throughout the 2021-22 season.

NLL Unites launched in Fall 2021, as the league’s first-ever leaguewide Corporate Social Responsibility initiative. The NLL Unites logo pays homage to the sport’s indigenous roots. The design depicts two early forms of the lacrosse stick, positioned in such a way as to form a heart that sits aside “NLL Unites”. The sole purpose of the icon logo is to pay respects to all who have grown the game, continue to grow the game, and that will grow the game, no matter their background.

Starting week 1 in Halifax, when the Thunderbirds wore custom Every Child Matters orange game jerseys, NLL players have been wearing the leftward-facing palm print and feathers design logo as a helmet decal throughout the season. During the Sports Interaction Game of the Week on TSN there will be a halftime feature on the Residential Schools.

The Every Child Matters logo was created by Dave Sowden, Equipment Manager, and Charlie Ragusa, Director of Digital Media. It pays tribute to those who attended Indigenous Residential Schools, as well as the children who are being discovered at the various residential schools across Canada and boarding schools throughout the US who didn’t make it home as well. “This is a perfect time for a professional sport, particularly the National Lacrosse League to spread awareness and foster Truth and Reconciliation across our country,” said Dave Sowden from the Halifax Thunderbirds’ and teacher on the Six Nations Reserve (Oliver M. Smith Kaweniio Elementary). “If not for the resiliency of First Nations people across Canada and the United States, we may not be enjoying the fact that we can take part in the medicine game -spectators, players, coaches, and everyone else who helps to bring a game together.”

  • Handprint – represents the uniqueness of every individual
  • Orange – comes from the story of a survivor who obtained an orange shirt in hopes of wearing it while attending a residential school. She soon learned that she was to dress like everyone else and expected to wear the provided clothing
  • Feathers – represent indigenous culture

Fans will also be able to purchase cotton versions of the shirt through the league’s online stores NLLShop.com and Fanatics.ca. For every shirt sold, the NLL will make a donation to Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund in Canada and The National Native American Board School Healing Coalition in the United States.

Select NLL team arenas (Buffalo, Rochester, and Albany) and merchandise locations will also have the commemorative shirts available for sale.

“This presents an opportunity for the NLL, its teams and its players to unify and show our commitment to educating our fans about their shared commitment to recognizing the history of residential and boarding schools, and supporting Indigenous causes,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz. “We are proud to include this program in NLL Unites as another initiative in our continued education of the Indigenous culture and of the people who created the great game of lacrosse.”

“The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund is thrilled that the National Lacrosse League is demonstrating their support of Indigenous Peoples and reconciliation not only with a donation but through their visibility,” said Kayleigh Jordan-MacGregor, Development Associate, the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund. “By wearing orange warmup shirts, they help amplify the voices of Survivors of residential schools and draw attention to this important piece of our history.”

“The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition is grateful for the partnership of the National Lacrosse League in raising awareness of the residential schools that targeted Indigenous children in Canada and the United States. We are honored to receive the support of the NLL and the lacrosse community as we continue to pursue truth, justice, and healing from the harmful impacts of these schools,” added Deborah Parker, Director of Policy and Advocacy for NABS.

The NLL Week 6 schedule is as follows (all times ET):

Friday, January 7
Colorado at Vancouver, 10:30 p.m.

Saturday, January 8
Georgia at Philadelphia, 12 p.m.
Calgary at Rochester, 7 p.m.
Saskatchewan at Albany, 7 p.m.
Toronto at Buffalo, 7:30 p.m.
Panther City at San Diego, 10 p.m.

BitFire Enters Into Three-Year Agreement With National Lacrosse League

The National Lacrosse League (NLL) and BitFire Networks announce a new three-year partnership to present the next three seasons of play, starting with the current 2021-2022 season.

A worldwide audience will watch as these matchups take place all across the U.S. and Canada and are broadcast by ESPN and TSN. The multi-year agreement ensures that BitFire will play a key role in the production and distribution of NLL games, starting with at least 120 games in year one alone.

The National Lacrosse League is a men’s professional box lacrosse league in North America, with fifteen teams: ten in the U.S. and five in Canada. The 2021-22 season represents a transformative year in the 35-year history of the NLL. Recently, the league announced multi-year, multi-platform media rights partnerships with ESPN and TSN, bringing the game’s reach to its largest potential audience ever, more than 100 million fans, establishing the league as a force in the North American sports space.

With a commitment to live sports production that brings viewers closer to the action than ever before, BitFire and the NLL are employing a centralized broadcast production workflow, with BitFire’s Network playing an integral role in supporting the League’s production partners. Utilizing a minimal on-site footprint at each of the teams’ respective arenas, a robust remote production solution was developed to ensure the League’s live content is captured and distributed in a high-quality and consistent manner.

“This partnership with the National Lacrosse League exemplifies how innovative and technically complex sports production has become,” said Bob Sullivan, CEO of BitFire. “Our agreement will ensure the League’s dedicated fans won’t miss any of the fast-paced action by providing a best-in-class broadcast quality experience.”

“Centralized remote production is fast becoming an industry standard for national sports broadcasts with the goal of improving production quality and consistency in a cost-effective manner,” said Joel Feld, NLL Executive Vice President, Broadcast and Content. “In Week 1 alone, we produced seven games, six in the same window. BitFire seamlessly delivered every game to eight takers, including national partners ESPN and TSN, and to the teams’ local partners.”

“The agility and flexibility of BitFire’s transmission network is allowing the NLL to take a big leap forward in the quality and scale of its broadcast delivery,” notes Edward Derse, the NLL’s broadcast operations and technology consultant. “BitFire allows us to provide greater value to the league and its individual teams by allowing us to produce remotely and deliver NLL broadcasts seamlessly and economically to all takers, including the teams themselves.”

BitFire will provide feeds from each venue to NLL production partners, TV networks, local TV stations, regional sports networks and OTT destinations across the United States and Canada. This allows production partners to remotely switch games and produce more than one game simultaneously. The communication component is critical in that BitFire provides the audio, video and communications for each game.

“Our work with the NLL is a custom solution, created by a team of broadcast experts,” added Sullivan. “This partnership shines a global spotlight on our solution-focused capabilities by creating the vision that our partners demand.”

BitFire is working on this new agreement in partnership with the league’s broadcast team, DOME Productions, Freedom Broadcast Group, DRAGONFLi Media Technologies and the league’s 14 active teams and venues spread out across the U.S and Canada.

With the addition of the NLL to its client roster, BitFire’s continued growth by providing superior, scalable, and end-to-end live transmission and production solutions.

National Lacrosse League Promotes Heritage, Inclusion, Service With Launch Of NLL Unites

The National Lacrosse League (@NLL), the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, continues its unwavering commitment to its foundational pillars of heritage, inclusion and service with the unveiling of NLL Unites, the league’s umbrella social responsibility program. NLL Unites will combine the efforts of the league, teams, players and partners to promote each of those pillars through storytelling, education, activation and access.

NLL Unites will continue to evolve as the program develops and grows. Most visibly and imminently for the coming 2021-22 NLL season, players will wear a specially designed helmet decal with a Every Child Matters logo designed by Curt Styres and the Halifax Thunderbirds organization, raising awareness of the history and role of residential schools throughout North America.

“We are very proud to roll out NLL Unites and continue to amplify the great work already being done by the league and its teams, players and partners with respect to all our efforts in diversity, equity and inclusion,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz. “NLL Unites is the creation of a tremendous amount of work led by our Deputy Commissioner Jessica Berman and many others throughout the process. It will provide continued direction increasing our commitment to important initiatives that make a meaningful difference in many lives and will also allow support of programs that are authentic in their connection to lacrosse.”

The pillars of heritage, inclusion and service are at the heart of NLL Unites:

  • Heritage involves honoring the history of lacrosse and being advocates for the indigenous community. It connects inherently with our sport, NLL players and staff.
  • Inclusion is focused on making sure anyone who wants to play, watch or experience the NLL feels welcome. We want more people and kids having access to lacrosse. We embrace the challenge to make lacrosse for everyone.
  • Service highlights the community efforts of the league and its teams as the NLL is now in 15 markets across North America; we will work to positively impact our communities and give back.

NLL Unites was formed through collaboration and consultation with various partners and leaders in CSR. RISE conducted a series of focus groups with NLL players, teams, and front office staff to explore topics around diversity and inclusion, heritage, and equality. Together with the University of Michigan School of Kinesiology, students conducted a CSR landscape analysis and recommended suggestions and initiatives that contributed to the framework of NLL Unites. Furthermore, the NLL reached out to other leagues, consultants, and ongoing partners to best understand the unique needs of the sport and its growing fandom.

Specific initiatives and programs will be announced throughout the 2021-22 season and beyond as NLL Unites puts a clear vision to the league’s corporate social responsibility efforts. These commitments will be guided through the subject matter expertise of the NLL’s non-profit partners including RISE, You Can Play and Right to Play, with more partners to come. Fans and anyone else who is interested can learn more about NLL Unites and learn how to get involved at nll.com/nll-unites.

National Lacrosse League Signs Historic Multiyear Agreement with ESPN

The National Lacrosse League (@NLL), the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, today announced the most extensive United States media rights agreement in its history, giving ESPN and ESPN+ exclusive rights in the U.S. and the rest of the world outside Canada for live NLL games. All NLL games will be carried on an ESPN network or platform. ESPN linear networks – with a minimum of 10 live games annually – and ESPN+ will combine to carry up to 139 games exclusively each year. It will be the largest number of live televised games in the history of the league.

“We are so proud, honored and excited to work with ESPN and ESPN+ in this unprecedented landmark announcement for the NLL. Never before in the 35-year history of the league have fans, sponsors, teams and players had this type of access and exposure across the United States,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz. “While we, our sport and the industry continue to focus on digital native fans, we will also have the benefit of expanded reach through live distribution on ESPN linear networks. We’ve been steadily building on our media strategy and towards this kind of distribution over the last few years and are excited about the momentum an announcement like this generates heading into NLL Faceoff Weekend, December 3-4.”

“We’re thrilled to reach this new multi-year rights agreement with the National Lacrosse League, adding to our already extensive commitment to the sport of lacrosse on ESPN platforms. The NLL features elite players competing in an exciting and fast-paced game that we look forward to showcasing across ESPN and ESPN+ in the years ahead,” said Dan Margulis, Senior Director, Programming & Acquisitions, ESPN.

The broadcast schedule for the 2021-22 season on ESPN’s linear networks will be announced in the coming weeks. The regular season begins with the Vancouver Warriors at San Diego Seals on Friday, December 3; and six games on Saturday December 4, including the debut of the expansion Panther City (TX) Lacrosse Club at the Philadelphia Wings and the 2019 NLL Championship Finals rematch between the Calgary Roughnecks and Buffalo Bandits in Buffalo.

The agreement with ESPN follows an earlier announcement for TSN in Canada for both linear television and live streaming coverage of NLL games, the first broadcast deal for the NLL in Canada since 2016.

For the most up-to-date information and breaking news, sign up for the NLL newsletter at NLL.com. Also follow Deputy Commissioner Jessica Berman and Commissioner Sakiewicz on Twitter @JessicaBerman1 and @NLLcommish, respectively.

NLL To Support National Day for Truth and Reconciliation With Season-Long Helmet Decal, Initiatives

The National Lacrosse League (@NLL), the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, today announced its support of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with a series of initiatives that begin today and will continue throughout the upcoming 2021-22 season. The season-long program will start with a specially designed decal to be worn on all player helmets, an in-depth story with Halifax Thunderbirds player Cody Jamieson about the impact of the residential schools on his life, and more to come through the 2021-22 season. This is the first in a series of Social Responsibility programs that the league and its teams will be part of in the coming year.

“Having the opportunity to spend several days in Six Nations, learning of the history of the residential schools and touring one of the schools when I first became Commissioner was an experience of a lifetime and one I will never forget. The NLL is humbled, very proud and honored to support all the efforts by our teams and players in this important recognition of a sacred day,” said Nick Sakiewicz, NLL Commissioner. “Indigenous culture is indelibly tied into the sport of lacrosse, and we are proud that so many across the league want to support these initiatives to remember, reflect, honor and most importantly influence positive change.”

This program is inspired by its teams and players, including Halifax owner/GM Curt Styres and equipment manager Dave Sowden, who have shared their design of a leftward-facing palm print and feathers to be used by all teams for the 2021-22 season in the form of a decal to acknowledge the ‘Every Child Matters’ movement.

“We thank the other NLL teams for their support and appreciate that they will also be adding the Every Child Matter decals to their helmets for this season,” said Curt Styres. “We see this as a time of healing and we want to be here to support any way that we can and encourage everyone to become educated on the history of residential schools, become aware, increase awareness and reach out in their communities to see what can be done to help.”

Designated by the Canadian government as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation beginning last year, on September 30, people across Canada wear orange and participate in Orange Shirt Day events to recognize and raise awareness about the history and legacies of the residential school system in Canada.

For the most up to date information and breaking news, sign up for the NLL newsletter at NLL.com. Also follow Deputy Commissioner Jessica Berman and Commissioner Sakiewicz on Twitter @JessicaBerman1 and @NLLcommish, respectively.

Image: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

National Lacrosse League, TSN Announce Landmark Multi-Year Partnership For Canada

The National Lacrosse League (@NLL), the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, today announced a historic partnership with TSN, Canada’s Sports Leader, to bring games to Canadians across broadcast and live streaming platforms for the first time since 2016. The new agreement is the league’s most comprehensive Canadian broadcast partnership in its 35-year history, and marks the next in a series of major steps the league has taken in recent months as it moves towards returning to play on December 3, 2021.

The multi-year media rights partnership between the NLL and TSN includes exclusive rights to the regular season “NLL Game of the Week,” as well as comprehensive playoff action, including the NLL Championship Series. TSN also delivers NLL coverage to TSN and TSN Direct subscribers through live streaming on its digital platforms, TSN.ca and the TSN app. Schedule details and additional content information will be announced in the coming months. The 2021-22 NLL season begins the weekend of December 3 with 14 teams, five of which are based in Canada.

“As one of our new owners, Wayne Gretzky, reminded people a few weeks ago when we launched our new franchise in Las Vegas, box lacrosse is the national summertime sport of Canada, and we couldn’t be more pleased and eager to bring the NLL back to Canadian fans with TSN, the country’s premier sports network,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz. “This partnership will give us the ability to distribute NLL games to even more fans than ever before and showcase our amazing athletes, coaches, and action that so many Canadians love so dearly and have enjoyed in person.”

“Box lacrosse is an exciting, fast-paced sport, and we are very proud to partner with the NLL to grow the game and bring comprehensive live coverage to Canadian viewers throughout the season,” said Nathalie Cook, VP, TSN and RDS. “The NLL is a significant addition to our live sports schedule, one we know our fans will enjoy for years to come, and we’re excited to deliver expansive coverage, both on and off the floor, to spotlight the league’s talented players.”

For the most up to date information and breaking news, sign up for the NLL newsletter at NLL.com. Also follow Deputy Commissioner Jessica Berman and Commissioner Sakiewicz on Twitter @JessicaBerman1 and @NLLcommish, respectively.

NLL To Celebrate Indigenous History Month In Canada With Native Art, Interview Series

The National Lacrosse League (@NLL), the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, has long been a leader in championing the awareness of Indigenous Peoples and their crucial role in the continued growth and development of their native sport of lacrosse. In that continued spirit and in conjunction with June’s Indigenous History Month in Canada, the league is proud to announce today’s launch of a pop artist initiative featuring three standout Indigenous pop artists and a player discussion with Georgia Swarm forward Randy Staats, highlighting and celebrating their contributions to the sport and authentically representing unity and inclusion.

The league has commissioned artwork by Yul Baker, a former Rochester Knighthawks player and champion and Squamish Nation citizen residing in West Vancouver, B.C.; Tracey Anthony, owner and operator of Vision Artworks of Six Nations / Delaware / Mississaugas of the Credit First Nations; and Jordan Thompson of Mohawk Art & Design, a citizen of Haudenosaunee Confederacy on the U.S./Canada border. Beginning today and rolling out throughout the month, the NLL will feature the artwork highlighting the artist’s unique journeys and stories via its digital platforms and social media. NLL fans can enter to win custom prizing with the designs throughout the month of June by entering at NLL.com.

Staats participated in a candid conversation with the league on the history of Residential Schools and how they impacted the Indigenous populations across Canada, raising awareness of this important history of these people. As one of the native players within the NLL, Staats will look to highlight the league’s efforts to raise awareness of systemic issues facing these populations as well as the strides made among this community.

Tewanee Joseph, member of the Squamish First Nation and CEO of Tewanee Consulting Group, will host interviews with the artists and coordinate communications efforts surrounding the program. In one of his many accomplishments delivering key partnerships, Joseph negotiated the first licensing agreement to recognize Indigenous artwork as part of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic games in Vancouver.

“The contributions of Indigenous Peoples to the development and maintaining the enduring traditions of the ‘Creators Game’ is epic. We are honored and proud to work together for the continued success of lacrosse shinning a light on the immense contribution by Indigenous Peoples on the game,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz. “Yul, Tracey, and Jordan have created unique pieces that capture their unbreakable bond with the sport, and Randy is one of the league’s most outstanding individuals. We couldn’t be more proud to be featuring these beautiful works of art as well as Randy’s interviews, all reflecting our core values of unity, inclusion and character.”

NLL Approves Sale of New England Black Wolves to Prestigious Investor Group with Deep Lacrosse Backgrounds

The National Lacrosse League (@NLL), the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, today announced the sale of the New England Black Wolves to a group headed by Oliver Marti. Oliver Marti is a former standout Division 1 men’s lacrosse All-American, Canadian field lacrosse national player, and NLL standout before focusing on a career as a hedge fund manager and developing the box lacrosse game at the youth level. Capital Region NLL is an all-star group with an incredible passion for the game of lacrosse, many having played at the highest level and continue to be actively involved at the youth through professional levels as well. The group includes Brett Jefferson, major investor in and a board member of the Premier Lacrosse League, and member of the Board of Directors of the Tewaaraton Foundation, Sol Kumin, co-owner of Triple Crown Winner Justify and last year’s Kentucky Derby winner Authentic who serves as Chairman of the US Lacrosse Foundation Board, along with Russ Sheppard on which the true lacrosse movie, The Grizzlies, was based.

Albany NLL will benefit from the tenure, experience, and success of Mike French, Brad Brewster, and Ted Goldthorpe all members of the Philadelphia Wings LP which won six Championships and have been instrumental members of the Board of Governors and numerous NLL committees. Mike French is a former NLL standout and Hall of Fame member who is also a member of the Canadian and U.S. Lacrosse Halls of Fame.

The new owners will relocate the franchise immediately to the fast-growing lacrosse and economic hotbed of Albany, New York, where the team will play in the downtown, recently renovated Times Union Center. It marks the return of box lacrosse to the Capital Region for the first time since 2002.

“This is a bittersweet day for the league and our sport,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz. “We want to first thank our colleagues at Mohegan Sun for all the positive work they have done building the franchise in New England. We are also very excited to welcome to the league an amazing ownership group with significant success and experience in both the financial investment industry and lacrosse led by Oliver Marti.”

“This transaction is also particularly special in that it not only brings back our league to a growing and engaged market, but also long-time NLL investor and Hall of Fame player Mike French and his group will continue to build the great team that, last season was one of the best and making a run for the NLL Championship,” Sakiewicz continued. “The fact is the demand for our teams in our current successful business model outweighs the availability of franchises, and this is an example of a savvy group seizing an opportunity to get into the NLL in a market that is now properly mature to be successful both on and off the floor.”

“While we are saddened for the fans at Mohegan Sun, we want to remind them Albany is only about a two-hour drive and the NLL will always support them and that area to provide access and grow the game,” he added, “We are very excited about what the future holds for our new team in Albany.”

“My partners and I couldn’t be more excited to join the National Lacrosse League (NLL). Our group, which is comprised of lacrosse enthusiasts, professionals, and influential people in the industry, are determined to help grow the sport of lacrosse,” said Oliver Marti, the head of the Albany NLL ownership group. “The NLL is blossoming, and we want to be a part of its growth, while also being instrumental in the direction the sport of lacrosse is heading. 

“We would like to recognize and thank the fans of the Black Wolves and the staff of MG&E for their support and efforts over the last few years,” Marti added.  “As we enter the Albany market, we are ecstatic about the opportunities that will further fuel our mission to grow the sport.  The Capital Region has a growing youth lacrosse platform and obvious success in the collegiate ranks.  Along with this, playing out of a top-notch venue like the Times Union Center and entrenching ourselves in the local community, we are poised for long term success.” 

“We are proud to have worked side-by-side with the Black Wolves players, coaches and staff,” said Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment CEO Mario Kontomerkos. “Their performance on the field has translated into positive growth in ticket sales and brand awareness across New England, but it is their leadership and commitment as ambassadors in our community that will be missed most. This sale allows Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment to focus and strengthen its position as a global brand in gaming and entertainment.”

“On behalf of ASM Global, which manages the Times Union Center and our entire staff, we are extremely honored to have a National Lacrosse League team play at the Times Union Center starting in the fall of 2021. The Capital Region is a hot bed for lacrosse in high schools, colleges and youth programs; the popularity of the sport is at an all-time high. Our management team at the TU Center will provide assistance in every way possible to help make the team a big success,” added Bob Belber, Regional General Manager, ASM Global.

The team will be known for the short term as Albany NLL and is undertaking a naming and branding contest to involve fans from across the Capital Region. The team’s name will be revealed in April 2021. The franchise will make its in-market debut when the 2021-22 season begins in the fall of 2021.

Albany NLL will be deeply involved in the League’s expanded plan to continue to embrace and empower the Indigenous community, which is so tightly tied to the Capital Region. The area was recently cited by The New York Times as one of the most progressive and fast-growing areas for young families in the country, as well as home to a network of Universities, two demographics which fit well with the NLL fan base. The move to Albany is also expected to help keep some of the fan-related ties that have been built at Mohegan Sun, given the relative proximity to the two locales.

The Black Wolves franchise is one of the most storied in lacrosse history, which includes 28 years and six championships in Philadelphia when the team was known as the Wings. On July 11, 2014 the Wings announced they would be relocating to Uncasville, Conn., where they played as the Black Wolves at Mohegan Sun Arena. The Black Wolves were 8-3 and in first place when the 2019-20 season was cut short due to COVID-19 last March. In their six seasons at Mohegan Sun, the Black Wolves made the playoffs each of the last four completed seasons. The 6 titles during their long stay in Philadelphia is tied for the most in league history with the Toronto Rock.

For more information about Albany NLL, name the team contest, tickets, sponsorship opportunities and all team information, visit AlbanyNLL.com.

For the most up to date information and breaking news, sign up for the NLL newsletter at NLL.com. Also follow Deputy Commissioner Jessica Berman and Commissioner Sakiewicz on Twitter @JessicaBerman1 and @NLLcommish, respectively.

For more information on the sale of the Albany NLL franchise, visit NLL.com.

National Lacrosse League Will Focus On Next Season

NLL

The National Lacrosse League (@NLL), the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, today announced that plans for an abbreviated season this spring have been cancelled due to uncertainties arising from the ongoing Pandemic. The league, with the full support of the NLL Board of Governors, will now move to start a traditional season in the fall of this year.

“We have gone through many scenarios, including playing a bubble season in Canada in April, but the logistical challenges, including the recently announced tighter travel and quarantine restrictions across the Canadian border have required us to pivot. We have decided to focus on playing a full season in our markets, starting in the fall of this year,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz. “While many of the factors we can control were moving along well, those outside of our control, especially pertaining to obtaining government approval as far in advance as we would have needed, are no longer feasible. All the efforts and innovations we were planning will now go towards a full season starting this fall and into next year. We thank our players, teams and Board of Governors, whose thoughts in this process were invaluable, and we now set our sights on getting lined up for a full NLL season starting in the fall. We also thank our fans for sticking with us – we will be back, and it will be even more exciting than ever before.”

“We appreciate the League’s extensive efforts to provide us the opportunity to play an abbreviated 2021 season in a safe and controlled environment throughout the changing landscape during this Pandemic.  While we are disappointed that it will not be possible to play this spring, we are even more excited and passionate about having a full 2021-22 season and are eager to get back on the floor this fall,” said Zach Currier, PLPA President.

While the exact start date of a full season will be announced at a later date, which will include the debut of Panther City Lacrosse Club in Fort Worth, the NLL is planning to start in the fall playing a complete season into the spring of 2022. Additionally, exciting franchise announcements are coming very soon, as well as other initiatives that were being planned for the shortened 2021 season.

Details will be coming as they are finalized. For additional information, please visit @NLL YouTube to watch an interview with Commissioner Sakiewicz.

For the most up to date information and breaking news, sign up for the NLL newsletter at NLL.com. Also follow Deputy Commissioner Jessica Berman and Commissioner Sakiewicz on Twitter @JessicaBerman1 and @NLLcommish, respectively.

National Lacrosse League Launches Redesigned Website With Agency Partner AOR

 The National Lacrosse League (NLL), North America’s premier professional lacrosse league, today announced the relaunch of its website, NLL.com, with a complete technological and U/X U/I redesign by AOR. Designed mobile-first for digitally native fans who want to get in on the action any time, any place, the new site captures the vision of the league and mirrors the evolution of the brand and sport.

Complete with all team’s information, player stats, and schedules, the new NLL site is an immersive experience for fans and media alike with dynamic multimedia content. Its user-friendly functionality and one-click access to ticketing, e-commerce (NLLShop.com powered by Official League Partner, Fanatics), betting (in available markets) and free-to-play gamification (powered by FanHub), centralizes the entire NLL experience. There are real-time game updates as well as archived information from historical statistics. NLL Awards and the prestigious Hall of Fame can also be explored. The site integrates with all NLL social accounts and features real-time API connections to Instagram, Twitter and prominent lead gen to all NLL email communications.

As the NLL continues to build on its recent momentum – with new brand partnerships and content distribution platforms – this site allows for upgrades to keep it at the cutting edge of technology.

“We have focused on a mobile-first, video rich strategy and aspire to be the leading sports league in an immersive site experience. It’s more than just a strategy; it’s a commitment to our fans to invest in technology and innovation to elevate their NLL experience. And this website is another key step in fulfilling that promise,” said Nick Sakiewicz, Commissioner of the National Lacrosse League. “The redesigned user-experience gives fans mobile-first access to non-stop box lacrosse action, with new features and functionality to offer a truly engaging and comprehensive experience.”

“AOR began the site creation process with comprehensive primary research to learn how current and prospective fans want to interact with the league, in order to provide the best fan experience possible.  Our research gave us insight into pain points and inspired us to build the new site to be mobile first, user-friendly and, most importantly, establish the NLL as the foremost destination for all things box lacrosse for all fans. Our goal has always been to grow the sport and we think with this new site, we’ve successfully accomplished this first step,” said Derek Effinger, Account Director, AOR.

In addition to the league overhaul, the following NLL teams have also partnered with AOR to have a new site experience.  This includes the: Colorado Mammoth, Georgia Swarm, New England Black Wolves, New York Riptide, Panther City Lacrosse Club, Philadelphia Wings, San Diego Seals, Toronto Rock, and Vancouver Warriors.  AOR built a seamless experience between the teams and league site, and vice versa, so deep that even the content, such as player pages, stats, and more, is shared through back-end API integrations.

The new NLL.com comes as the NLL is planning for Face-off Weekend in April 2021.   For the latest news, scores and highlights from across the National Lacrosse League, please visit www.NLL.com.

Wilson Sporting Goods, National Lacrosse League Extend Partnership for Protective Equipment, Apparel

The National Lacrosse League® (@NLL), the world’s most successful professional lacrosse league, today announced it is extending its 2020 partnership with Wilson Sporting Goods® (@Wilson), naming Wilson and their protective equipment and apparel brand EvoShield® (@EvoShield) as an official supplier of performance driven sports protective gear for the 2021 season.

“The National Lacrosse League is proud to continue our partnership with Wilson for a second season. Our goal is to work with best in class brands and help them grow in the sport of lacrosse,” said Kevin Morgan, EVP, CRO for the NLL. “With EvoShield, our elite athletes have the opportunity to use the most advanced technology in protective equipment and continue to perform at the highest levels, so the impact this will continue to have for health and wellness of our box players is important to the expansion of the game for all.”

“The NLL continues to redefine and advance the sport of box lacrosse with a vision that is forward thinking, and we are pleased to keep moving ahead with Nick and his team,” said Pat Ryan, Global Product Director for EvoShield.“We look forward to continuing our work with NLL athletes, gaining their insights and feedback on new protective ideas, and developing additional EvoShield products that keep players on the field.”

Wilson-owned EvoShield makes custom-molded protective and performance gear using a proprietary technology called Gel-To-Shell™. This technology transforms from a soft gel-like material to a hard, protective shield in minutes, creating a custom mold that mirrors the shape of the athlete’s body. The result is wrist guards, elbow guards, rib and chest protectors, among others, that offer professional-grade protection without getting in the way of performance. Athletes, at every level of play, use this extremely lightweight, yet hard, protective gear across multiple sports. EvoShield also makes performance apparel for both on and off field use.

Under the partnership, EvoShield will continue to supply NLL athletes with a variety of protective gear and apparel engineered to keep players safe while competing at elite levels. EvoShield products available to NLL athletes include wrist/slash guards, chest guards, thumb guards, toe guards, thigh guards, rib protective shirts, and more. The EvoShield apparel will be a variety of on-field performance apparel and fan wear.

National Lacrosse League Plans To Begin Its 35th Season

The National Lacrosse League (@NLL), the longest running and most successful professional lacrosse league in the world, today announced that the League is targeting to start their 35th season the weekend of April 9th to 11th in 2021. The focus of the league and NLL teams is to work with health authorities and local jurisdictions to develop health and safety protocols for the players and fans at their games. A detailed schedule will follow at an appropriate time.

“We have been continuously working with our teams, Players’ Association, arenas, and health and government officials to prepare to play our 35th season. An April start date will give us sufficient time to have our protocols in place for players, coaches, staff as well as fans,” NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz said. “We are working with all teams to provide the safest environment and an acceptable level of fans in the stands. We understand that current circumstances will dictate whether this plan is achievable, and we will be prepared to remain flexible and pivot as needed. We want to thank all our players, fans and partners who have supported our efforts to stay connected and engaged during this prolonged offseason and are looking forward to returning to play in April.”

Under the current plan, teams would report to individual training camps – some virtual and some in-person – under strict guidelines in mid-March, with all teams beginning game play in April. The league is in the process of continuing to build out several scenarios which factor in current and longer-term restrictions in municipalities in both the United States and Canada with regard to immigration and facility use. The NLL’s plans will remain fluid with options for best case scenarios for teams, officials, players, fans and coaches as April approaches.

“The NLL has put together an excellent plan for our upcoming 35th season.  We look forward to working together on behalf of all the players in our membership to get our 35th season underway,” said Zach Currier, President, PLPA. “It is reflective of what can be done with great communication and trust, and we cannot wait to get back to playing.”

The 2019-20 NLL season ended March 12 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

For the most up to date information and breaking news, sign up for the NLL newsletter at NLL.com. Also follow Deputy Commissioner Jessica Berman and Commissioner Sakiewicz on Twitter @JessicaBerman1 and @NLLcommish, respectively.

For more information, visit NLL.com and find the @NLL on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.