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Lacrosse

Lacrosse in Canada

  • Lacrosse was declared the national game in Canada in 1859. In 1994 the Canadian government modified it to be the national summer sport of the country with hockey becoming the national winter sport. The game was developed in Montreal in the 1850’s as a variation of a game called “baggataway” played for years previous to this by the areas aboriginal population. It developed quickly in Quebec and Ontario into a league sport during this time. Then eventually expanding across the country. 1931 was the beginning of box lacrosse played mainly in hockey arenas, which suffered through the great depression, but was what formed the basis for the National Lacrosse League which began play in United States markets in 1987

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Professional Teams (Box Lacrosse)

Canada has 4 teams in the 9 team National Lacrosse League that began play in 1987.

  • Toronto RockOfficial WebsiteWikipedia Page
    • The first Canadian team in the National Lacrosse League was actually originally located in Hamilton during the 1998 season was owned by one of the League founders Chris Fritz and was named the Ontario Raiders before being sold to a group including former Toronto Maple Leafs assistant GM Bill Watters, Former Toronto Blue Jays President Paul Beaston, former Toronto Maple Leafs enforcer Tie Domi and former Boston Bruin and NHL Hall of Famer Bobby Orr who after purchasing the team for $250,000 relocated it to Toronto and renamed it the Rock. The team has been very successful over the years having tied  for the most league titles won with 6, the most recent coming in 2011. The teams ownership changed hands again in 2009 when it was sold for reportedly over a million dollars to James Dawick and Oakville based businessman. The team originally played out of Maple Leaf Gardens, but have played out of the home of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, the Air Canada Centre since 2001. The capacity of the ACC for NLL games is 18,819.
  • Calgary RoughnecksOfficial WebsiteWikipedia Page
    • The Roughnecks began play in the NLL during the 2002 season and were originally owned by Brad Banister who in 2011 ran into financial difficulty with the team, eventually selling them to the NHL’s Calgary Flames ownership group. The team has two league championships won in 1994 and 1999 and has been very competitive over the year only finishing with records below .500 in their inaugural season going 4-12 and in 2008 with a record of 7-9. The play their home games at the 19,289 seat Scotiabank Saddledome also home to the NHL’s Calgary Flames and WHL’s Calgary Hitmen.
  • Saskatoon RushWikipedia Page
    • After 10 seasons and a championship to cap it off in 2015 the Edmonton Rush are on the move to Saskatoon to play out of the the 15,100 seat SaskTel Centre and become the only professional men’s sports team in the city. More on the move can be found in the below article:
  • Vancouver StealthOfficial WebsiteWikipedia Page
    • The Stealth were relocated to Langley, British Columbia a Suburb of Vancouver for the 2014 season. Owner Denise Watkins a software and communications director from the San Jose Area who purchased the team in 2007 relocated it to become the 4th Canadian NLL entry. The team plays its home games out of the Langley Events Center a 5276 seat arena which is also home to a variety of other teams. The teams first season in Langley saw them finish with a 4-14 record. The Stealth had previously called three other markets home as the Albany Attack (Albany, NY) from 2000-2003, the San Jose Stealth (San Jose, CA) from 2004-2009 and as the Washington Stealth (Everett, WA) from 2010-2013 before they relocated to Langley. It marked the return of the NLL to the Vancouver market after a failed attempt with the Vancouver Ravens from 2002-2004.

There have been 5 Canadian Entries into the NLL over the years that have relocated or folded.

  • Edmonton RushOfficial WebsiteWikipedia Page
    • The Rush played their first NLL season in 2006 after Edmonton businessman Bruce Urban purchased the dormant Ottawa Rebel team and relocated them. In the teams first season they played to an abysmal 1-15 record, but things have come full circle for the Rush in the years since having finished the 2014 season with a league best 16-2 record before losing out in the Western Final.  The team has a intense rivalry with their provincial counterparts the Calgary Roughnecks. Their home games are played at Rexall place also the home of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers and WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings, capacity for home games is 16,839. They relocated to Saskatoon in the summer of 2015 with an arena deal in Edmonton in limbo.
  • Ontario Raiders (1998) – Wikipedia Page
    • Based in Hamilton, Ontario. Moved to Toronto to become the Rock in 1999.
  • Ottawa Rebels (2001-2003) – Wikipedia Page
    • Became Edmonton Rush in 2006.
  • Montreal Express (2002) – Wikipedia Page
    • Became Minnesota Swarm in 2005.
  • Vancouver Ravens (2002-2004) – Wikipedia Page
    • Folded in 2004.

Professional Teams (Field Lacrosse)

Canada has one team in Major League Lacrosse that has currently on a leave of absence.

  • Hamilton NationalsWikipedia Page
    • The teams started in 2009 as the Toronto Nationals playing out of the 21,566 seat BMO Field becoming the first Canadian MLL team. They moved to the smaller 9600 seat Lamport Stadium for the 2010 season. The team relocated to Hamilton to play at the 6000 seat Ron Joyce Stadium for the 2011-2013 seasons. It’s expected the team will return for the 2015 season to play at the new Tim Hortons Field which is also home to the CFL’s Hamilton Tigers Cats and seats 22,500, however that has yet to be confirmed.

2 Responses

  1. Suzanne

    The Hamilton-based team that became the Toronto Rock was the Hamilton Raiders, not the Hamilton Rebel.

    • Thanks for catching that and brining it up. I had it noted properly under the Toronto Rock area, but not at the bottom of the page under the relocated teams. It has been corrected.

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