Viper

The NLL's Annual Relocation/Contraction Ritual

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With the exception of 2012, at least one National Lacrosse League franchise has moved or folded after every season since 1993, when the league was known as the Major Indoor Lacrosse League.

This year is no different, as not one but two of the league's nine teams have a foot out the door - in both cases, with their owners citing leasing issues at the arenas where they play.

Sadly, one of those two teams is my beloved Minnesota Swarm. It is unknown where they will end up, though Nashville, of all places, seems to be the early favorite.

The other is the Edmonton Rush, whose relocation threats come as the team itself is making a deep run in the NLL playoffs. Their owner has had some rather ugly, public spats with city of Edmonton over their being shut out of the Oilers' under-construction new digs. His preferred destination - Saskatoon - seems even more far-fetched, though there is already a Facebook page calling for the Rush (who have several ex-Swarm players on their roster) to take the Swarm's place in Minnesota instead. It's also possible that the Rush franchise could just fold if neither of those markets work out for them.

If both teams move, that will leave only five NLL teams (Buffalo, Toronto, Rochester, Colorado and Calgary) who have survived in their current markets since the 2006 season when the Rush franchise began play.

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Winnipeg has also emerged as a hotly rumored destination for the Swarm - which would be an odd choice, considering that (1) the team ownership cited lack of available weekend dates at Xcel Energy Center in their decision to move, and (2) Winnipeg's MTS Centre not only hosts the Jets, but their AHL affiliate starting next season, meaning that weekend dates would likely be in even shorter supply there than they allegedly are in Minnesota.

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I kinda of expected this from Edmonton but not from Minnesota, Viper, as a season seat holder what has the attendance been like on average?

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Winnipeg has also emerged as a hotly rumored destination for the Swarm - which would be an odd choice, considering that (1) the team ownership cited lack of available weekend dates at Xcel Energy Center in their decision to move, and (2) Winnipeg's MTS Centre not only hosts the Jets, but their AHL affiliate starting next season, meaning that weekend dates would likely be in even shorter supply there than they allegedly are in Minnesota.

Serious?? I dont know if the NLL could be here in Winnipeg what with both the AHL Moose and NHL Jets using the MTS Centre the whole time.. might be interesting to see what happens...

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Kinda sucks to see Minnesota leave... but Nashville doesn't seem like a bad idea.

I personally think ought to look into expanding into non-lacrosse areas like the Southwest, but that's just me.

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As someone that works in the Xcel Energy Center, I can attest that the Swarm were treated like the red headed step child of the arena. Obviously they're not going to be the favorite child, but the Swarm were not treated with respect within the arena. They were pushed out. Shame to see them go.

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The Flames, Hitmen and Roughnecks all work together in the Saddledome. So it's not unprecedented for three teams in one arena at the same time.

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As someone that works in the Xcel Energy Center, I can attest that the Swarm were treated like the red headed step child of the arena. Obviously they're not going to be the favorite child, but the Swarm were not treated with respect within the arena. They were pushed out. Shame to see them go.

So they lost major sponsors over the years, had dwindling gate and still wanted Saturday nights.

http://m.startribune.com/sports/304775501.html

The Wild, as facility operators, made the right decision.

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I kinda of expected this from Edmonton but not from Minnesota, Viper, as a season seat holder what has the attendance been like on average?

It's been pretty steady at around 8-9K per game, an improvement over recent seasons where they typically had crowds in the 7-8K range with the occasional 9K. This put them about league-average in attendance, and even slightly ahead of Rochester who was coming off a championship three-peat (which ended last night after they were eliminated by Toronto). It's the season ticket base that's been fluctuating, with a lot of people upset at the team trading away one longtime fan favorite after another, and that's one of the things that allegedly prompted the move.

Meanwhile, another possible new destination has emerged. The Las Vegas Swarm, anyone?

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Vegas? Really?

I can see Winnipeg and Milwaukee actually. This is going to be a very interesting off season.

Do you think there is any chance at all that the Rush move in to take over for Minnesota (even if they end up in the Target Center or a small arena instead)?

As big of a Rock fan as I am, it would be very interesting to see Edmonton win it and then move out of town right after.

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Do you think there is any chance at all that the Rush move in to take over for Minnesota (even if they end up in the Target Center or a small arena instead)?

By all accounts Saskatoon is Bruce Urban's first choice for relocation. Minnesota could be a Plan B if Saskatoon doesn't work out, but then so could any of the other cities being bandied about regarding the Swarm (especially Winnipeg, if he prefers to keep the team in Canada). Also, Urban may not find the Twin Cities' arena situation any more palatable than the Arlottas did.

Minneapolis/St. Paul is in basically the same predicament as Philadelphia: It does not have a suitable arena in the 6-10K capacity range which would be ideal for an NLL club not co-owned by an NHL or NBA team. Mariucci Arena (where U of M men's hockey plays) seats 10K but has an Olympic-sized rink; the NLL requires an NHL-standard 200x85 rink. The only other arena that size in the area is the ancient, 6K-seat Warner Coliseum on the state fairgrounds, which used to host high school and small-college hockey games until last year when they retired their ice-making equipment. Obviously that wouldn't be a problem for hosting an NLL team, but the place is such a dump to begin with that it would be a hard sell to any prospective team owner.

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A few things to put these relocations into historical perspective:

The Swarm entered the NLL in 2005 as one of ten teams - only five of which still exist as such today: Buffalo, Calgary, Colorado, Rochester and Toronto. The Arizona Sting and Anaheim Storm have since folded, while the San Jose Stealth and Philadelphia Wings have moved - twice, in the Stealth's case - with the Swarm soon to join them. (Even Calgary came close to disappearing from the league in 2011, before they were bought by the NHL Flames.) In the years since, four expansion franchises have also come and gone: The Portland LumberJax, Chicago Shamrox, New York/Orlando Titans, and Boston Blazers 2.0. A fifth, the Edmonton Rush, is now on the verge of relocating or folding.

All told, that makes ten NLL franchises that have ceased to exist in their original forms since 2005, and again, only five that have stuck around.

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If we want to be known as the city of champions, we must definitely keep the Rush in EDMONTON

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The NLL will be gone in a few years...yes, I am a disgruntled fan of the now defunct Philadelphia Wings.

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The NLL will be gone in a few years...yes, I am a disgruntled fan of the now defunct Philadelphia Wings.

Sadly, I don't doubt this. Having only five stable franchises in the league, and no other markets that are anything better than a roll of the dice for supporting an NLL franchise without an NHL parent club, does not strike me as a sustainable state of affairs.

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The NLL will be gone in a few years...yes, I am a disgruntled fan of the now defunct Philadelphia Wings.

Sadly, I don't doubt this. Having only five stable franchises in the league, and no other markets that are anything better than a roll of the dice for supporting an NLL franchise without an NHL parent club, does not strike me as a sustainable state of affairs.

Man, that would suck.

I've heard some rumours that the Rock may be out of a home arena soon too. Apparently MLSE is not happy with the Rock after they refused to reschedule a home date once the 2012 NHL lockout came to a close.

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The NLL will be gone in a few years...yes, I am a disgruntled fan of the now defunct Philadelphia Wings.

Sadly, I don't doubt this. Having only five stable franchises in the league, and no other markets that are anything better than a roll of the dice for supporting an NLL franchise without an NHL parent club, does not strike me as a sustainable state of affairs.

Man, that would suck.

I've heard some rumours that the Rock may be out of a home arena soon too. Apparently MLSE is not happy with the Rock after they refused to reschedule a home date once the 2012 NHL lockout came to a close.

What about Ricoh Arena (where the AHL Marlies play)? It's a bit smaller, so they could probably sell the place out in their sleep - and would presumably be cheaper to rent than ACC.

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Why don't the Swarm use the College arena?

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The NLL will be gone in a few years...yes, I am a disgruntled fan of the now defunct Philadelphia Wings.

Sadly, I don't doubt this. Having only five stable franchises in the league, and no other markets that are anything better than a roll of the dice for supporting an NLL franchise without an NHL parent club, does not strike me as a sustainable state of affairs.

Man, that would suck.

I've heard some rumours that the Rock may be out of a home arena soon too. Apparently MLSE is not happy with the Rock after they refused to reschedule a home date once the 2012 NHL lockout came to a close.

What about Ricoh Arena (where the AHL Marlies play)? It's a bit smaller, so they could probably sell the place out in their sleep - and would presumably be cheaper to rent than ACC.

Ricoh's owned by MLSE, is it not?

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The NLL will be gone in a few years...yes, I am a disgruntled fan of the now defunct Philadelphia Wings.

Sadly, I don't doubt this. Having only five stable franchises in the league, and no other markets that are anything better than a roll of the dice for supporting an NLL franchise without an NHL parent club, does not strike me as a sustainable state of affairs.

Man, that would suck.

I've heard some rumours that the Rock may be out of a home arena soon too. Apparently MLSE is not happy with the Rock after they refused to reschedule a home date once the 2012 NHL lockout came to a close.

What about Ricoh Arena (where the AHL Marlies play)? It's a bit smaller, so they could probably sell the place out in their sleep - and would presumably be cheaper to rent than ACC.

Ricoh's owned by MLSE, is it not?

Much like BMO Field across the parking lot from Ricoh it is owned by the city of Toronto but operated by MLSE.

I actually think that it would be too small at 7,800 as the Rock generally draw about 10,000.

That said, I don't think the issue is paying rent in the ACC. Jamie Dawick (the owner of the Rock) has plenty of money and is willing to do what it takes for the team and the sport. I think MLSE is just mad and doesn't care about the money.

Again, just a rumour I heard.

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