After four long years, box lacrosse HAS COME BACK...........home.
In a press release sent this morning, Comcast Spectacor President and CEO Dave Scott will officially announce the arrival of Philadelphia's second National Lacrosse League franchise Thursday morning at 11 am inside the Wells Fargo Center.
He'll be alongside NLL commissioner Nick Sakiewicz, who has a history with Philadelphia sports. Prior to his current gig, Sakiewicz was the first CEO of the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer.
This will be the NLL’s 11th franchise after the league announced San Diego would join in time for the 2018-19.
Scott will reveal the team's name, when they’ll play their first season, and where the games will be played. Myself and Crossing Broad have heard that the name could be the "Wings," but fans will have the option to name the team. So it’ll be Wings because if it isn’t, we don’t deserve them. This is the easiest thing to do.
A Bloomberg report mentioned the team will play at the Wells Fargo Center beginning in the 2018-19 season. Comcast Spectacor, the owners of the arena and the Philadelphia Flyers, reportedly paid $5 million for the new expansion team.
Rumors of an arrival first began back in February when our good pal John Barchard of BGN Radio mentioned Philly as a potential target for expansion. He was right about that.
2019: Philadelphia, D.C., Edmonton, Miami— John Barchard (@JohnBarchard) February 20, 2017
2020: San Francisco
It ramped up again when our own Marisa Ingemi correctly reported San Diego, which has already been announced to begin play for 2018-19, and Philadelphia would be given expansion franchises. She also got the ownership groups right. She was first.
Sakiewicz teased an angry Union fan that also wanted the Wings back a few days ago. He knew.
?? Built a stadium, brought MLS to Philly, 2 US Open Cup Finals, All Star Game, etc etc. see you all again real soon! https://t.co/e9nJuinjMd— Nick Sakiewicz (@NLLcommish) September 8, 2017
It’s obvious the NLL wanted to bring a franchise back to Philly after the Wings left for New England to become the Black Wolves in 2014. Sakiewicz was announced as the new league commissioner in January 2016 after being fired from the Union and then relocated the league's headquarters to Conshohocken six months later. We all knew it was happening.
One thing that was a small question was the venue. Would it be the Wells Fargo Center? Would it be the Liacouras Center on the campus of Temple University? The PPL Center in Lehigh Valley? We’ll officially find out on Thursday, but with Comcast Spectacor buying the team and having the Flyers, Sixers, and Wings (and even Phantoms and Soul) play in the same arena throughout a year, it’ll probably be at the big house.
Pro box lacrosse has a long history in Philadelphia, specifically with the Wings. They were one of the first teams in the first incarnation of the NLL back in the mid 1970s, and were one of the original teams of the new NLL (known as Eagle Pro Box Lacrosse League) back in 1987. Guys like Paul and Gary Gait, Tom Marachek, Dallas Eliuk, and my high school assistant coach Tony Resch were part of the team's golden era in the 90s. Later on, Captain Shawn Nadelen, Taylor Wray, Ryan Boyle, Kevin Crowley, Brian Dougherty, Mark Millon, Brett Queener, Kyle Sweeney, and even Paul Rabil wore the red and black (and some of them grey). Even Bill Bergey’s son, Jake Bergey, played on the most recent incarnation, and former Flyers goalie Doug Favell played for the Wings in the 70s.
And this better happen:
Hire Tony Resch as head coach. https://t.co/KTQo5aPHUW— Chris Jastrzembski (@CFJastrzembski) September 12, 2017
Sit back and enjoy a bevy of throwback Wings clips:
That song was really bad.