New MLL Playoff Format And Key Dates


Major League Lacrosse has announced a new playoff format, and some key dates for next season. For the MLL, it means home playoff games for the top seeds, an extended playoff schedule, and a stand alone championship game. Below, I get into the details of the new moves, and then look at how this could impact players who compete in the MLL and NLL.

Similar to this past season, four teams will make the playoffs. But instead of a Championship Weekend, the semis and finals will be held separately, a week apart. The #1 and #2 seeds will then host their own semifinal games, at their home locations on August 16th. The Finals will be played a TBD location on August 23rd. This move could present some facilities scheduling problems for teams, as they won’t know if they are hosting a game until later in the season, but it also gives the franchises more incentive to be a #1 or #2 seed, and I like increased competition! Overall, I like this move, even if I think the Championship Weekend format is pretty unique and cool.

The season starts on April 26th (one day before it did in 2013), ends on August 9th, and the draft will be held on January 10th in Philadelphia in conjunction with the US Lacrosse Convention. Details are still being worked out for the 2014 All-Star Game, and the location of the finals.

What makes all this even more interesting is that a week ago, we learned that the NLL may be extending their season further into the Spring with a longer season (18 games from 16) and a longer series of playoff games (between fewer teams), and this created cause for concern for players who competed in both leagues. At the very least it caused concern for many fans. A schedule that has the league running until the end of May conflicts with the MLL’s start date at the end of April even more than the NLL’s current schedule, which had the title game on May 11th in 2013.

It doesn’t seem like a make or break deal, as NLL players on title game teams would still only miss a maximum of five or six games, but I would really love to see the NLL push their schedule even earlier. With so little lacrosse around during the fall and early winter, a November start date seems better overall, and it would also allow guys to play in both professional leagues in a more full-time manner. The NLL has pushed their schedule up a bit, now that they intend to start at the end of December, but it’s just not enough in my opinion.

The NLL schedule is far from set, or a done deal, so it’s not time to freak out yet. Before any of that can go down, the league and players need to sign a collective bargaining agreement.


  1. I’m still in the camp that the MLL needs to move back, not up. They obviously want their rookies to play immediately with a January draft, but they penalize top NCAA players who make a playoff run with missing about 1/4 of the season. Adding the NLL on top of that and it’s so frustrating going to an early MLL game and try to figure out who’s actually there and playing.

  2. The only way I see things working out is to make sure the NLL and MLL don’t overlap.The NLL season needs to start at least a month earlier so it can end before the MLL season starts. The huge issue for the MLL is the conflict with the NCAA season ending Memorial Day weekend, which prevents the drafted players from playing an entire season if they make it to the playoffs (and many of them do). I wouldn’t mind the MLL season being pushed back and having the championship game played on Labor Day. It would give me something to do on my day off from school. All I know is that I hate diverting my attention between multiple games. I don’t watch the NLL once the NCAA season begins and I don’t watch the MLL until the NCAA season is over. There just isn’t enough time to watch all the games going on at once.

  3. @Rydensaur I completely agree that the BEST solution is that the NLL and the MLL don’t overlap. I’d also like to see the MLL start after the college season ends with a Labor Day finish. Unfortunately I’m not sure this will happen anytime soon, and I don’t think the NLL and MLL brass are trying to do what’s best for everyone, simply what’s best for their own leagues. It’s tough to blame them, though – if the leagues aren’t financially stable then there won’t be any professional lacrosse at all.

  4. @krowen It’s funny you mention they’re doing what’s best for their leagues because they are doing the complete opposite. With many players playing for the MLL and NLL you’re making guys choose between which league they want to play in more and in the end they might be losing a player. If they want to make the most money possible they wouldn’t try to compete with each other for viewers and big name players. It’s a very basic business practice. Hopefully someone will realize this sooner rather than later.