by Thomas McNeeley Dec 1, 2021
The National Lacrosse League returns to play this upcoming weekend after 20 months off due to the Covid-19 pandemic. All 14 franchises will compete over the opening weekend, including the brand new expansion franchise Panther City Lacrosse Club.
NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz is ready to see his league back out on the floor.
“We couldn’t be more excited, it’s been a long 20 months since we last played a lacrosse game and we are just super excited… We didn’t know if it would be two weeks long, two months long, we certainly didn’t think it would be 20 months long.”
The last time we saw the NLL in the competition was March of 2020. The league had three divisions then, compared to just the two they now have. Before the pandemic canceled the season the division leaders were Halifax (North), New England (East), and Saskatchewan (West). After a realignment, there are now two divisions, the East and West.
The NLL had also welcomed two new expansion teams into the league for the 2020 season. The Rochester Knighthawks and New York Riptide were in the midst of their inaugural seasons when the stoppage occurred. The former Rochester Knighthawks franchise had relocated to Halifax prior to the season.
Commissioner Sakiewicz continued the forward momentum of the league even during the pandemic. “There were a lot of good things that came out of the NLL over the last 20 months… A couple of expansion teams, new partnerships, the sale of two existing teams… building a sports betting platform… We’ve re-engineered and rethought our business over this period and didn’t let any grass grow under our feet.”
He also stated that the league will not slow down anytime soon. “We’ve got a pipeline now of about a dozen cities and owners that want teams. We have Team #16 lining up really nicely for us at a great number and evaluation increase. We’re feeling really good and excited to be back playing lacrosse again.”
You can watch the NLL on ESPN/ESPN+ as the league signed a historic multi-year deal with the worldwide leader of sports in October. TSN will also produce the regular season “NLL Game of the Week” throughout the year for those watching in Canada.
Friday, December 3rd
10:00 PM ET - Vancouver Warriors at San Diego Seals
Saturday, December 4th
6:00 PM ET - Saskatchewan Rush at Halifax Thunderbirds
7:00 PM ET - Albany Firewolves at Toronto Rock
7:00 PM ET - Colorado Mammoth at Georgia Swarm
7:00 PM ET - Panther City Lacrosse Club at Philadelphia Wings
7:30 PM ET - Rochester Knighthawks at New York Riptide
7:30 PM ET - Calgary Roughnecks at Buffalo Bandits
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