National Lacrosse League to Expand In Boston
Starting in January of 2009, the city of Boston will once again host a professional indoor lacrosse team, the Boston Blazers, after eleven years without a professional indoor program.
The Blazers will be coached by Tom Ryan, a member of the 2001 championship-winning Philadelphia Wings, and Randy Fraser, who played on Boston’s previous indoor lacrosse team until its dissolution in 1997. The team will play its home games on Saturday nights from January to April in the TD Banknorth Garden, with tickets running from $12-$62 per game.
Taking advantage of the recent popularity of lacrosse, the National Lacrosse League and its outdoor counterpart, Major League Lacrosse, have begun expanding. The National Lacrosse League awarded the city of Boston an expansion team after the 2007 season, but due to a conflict between the NLL and the Professional Lacrosse Player’s Association, the 2008 NLL season was almost cancelled, and the Boston team decided not to join the NLL until 2009.
This year, the National Lacrosse League will consist of thirteen teams separated into two divisions, and each team will play sixteen games, plus up to three possible playoff games. Each game in the NLL consists of four fifteen-minute quarters. Each team is allowed to dress eighteen players for a game from a roster of twenty-three, and six players, including the goalie, are allowed on the field at one time.
Unlike in outdoor lacrosse, the playing area is much smaller and the ball rebounds instead of travelling out of bounds, making for a much faster game. Also, indoor lacrosse tends to be more physical than outdoor lacrosse. This physicality combined with the speed and skill demanded of the players makes for an intense, crowd-pleasing game.
After a very successful expansion draft, the Boston Blazers look forward to a strong opening season in the NLL. Offensive standout Dan Dawson, acquired from the Portland Lumberjacks, finished last season with 47 goals and 60 assists and is looking to put up similar numbers with the Blazers.
Defenseman Mitch Belisle, formerly of the New York Titans, was 2007 NCAA Final Four Semi-Finalist and should make an impact on defense for the Blazers. Boston is also lucky to have a very promising young goaltender on the roster in Mike Poulin (traded to NY).
Plus, All-Star defender John Gallant will help anchor Boston’s defense. Overall, the combination of youth and athleticism on this team should prove difficult for opposing teams.
The Blazers are looking forward to their first NLL game as a team on Saturday, Jan. 10, 2009, against their East Division rival New York Titans. The following week, January 17th, the Blazers will play their home opener against New York at 7:30 PM in the TD Banknorth Garden.
Information about the team, tickets, statistics, rosters, and schedules can be found at www.blazerslacrosse.com.