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Saskatchewan Rush 2016 NLL Champions Champion's Cup Photo: Calvin So

NLL Lacrosse Arenas – Where Every Team Plays!

When this coronavirus mess finally passes, who is down for the ultimate NLL lacrosse arena roadtrip? It’s only a rough 7,580 miles from Scotiabank Centre in Halifax to Pechanga Arena in San Diego if we hit every door on the way by.

That’s only 119 hours of windshield staring. A mere 19 states and seven provinces. Three borders and, well. I don’t even want to think about the tolls, gas and snacks.

For a while it seemed like the National Lacrosse League was a never ending game of musical venues, moving from barn to barn, city to city. Last season we saw the dawn of a new era in the league, flexing stability through new and more-secure team ownership alongside growth into new markets. We got the Wings back in Philly, Joe Tsai popped the Seals up in San Diego and the Warriors got a makeover by the Canucks ownership. The 2019 momentum carried into 2020 with two more teams added, the Riptide to Long Island and the Knighthawks becoming the Thunderbirds (while the Knighthawks name returned to Rochester as a new expansion), before the whole season was halted midway through by COVID-19.

Just when we started to have nice things.

Sometimes it’s hard to find the facts about professional lacrosse all in one place, so we did some digging for you. Locations, factoids, history, it’s all there.

I hope to dig deeper into the roots of the game, but for now, let’s dive through the current 13 squads and the arenas they call home.

NLL Lacrosse Arenas 2020

Buffalo Bandits

KeyBank Center

Buffalo, New York

Capacity: 19,070

Nickname: Banditland

Where they were before: N/A

Opened: September 21, 1996

First NLL game: Saturday, January 20th, 1997. Baltimore Thunder 16, Buffalo Bandits 18. (MILL)

Operated by: Pegula Sports and Entertainment

Shared with: Buffalo Sabres (NHL)

buffalo bandits philadelphia wings nll national lacrosse league
Photo by Bill Wippert

Biggest lacrosse moment: April 26, 2008. The Buffalo Bandits defeated the Portland LumberJax, 14-13, to win the 2008 NLL Champion’s Cup. The first and only championship won in the arena and the only one of the four Bandits championships captured in the building.

Halifax Thunderbirds

Scotiabank Centre

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Capacity: 10,595

Nickname: The Nest or the “Metro Centre” if you’re old school.

Where they were before: Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, NY

Opened: February 17, 1978

First NLL game: Saturday, December 7th, 2019. Long Island Riptide 4, Halifax Thunderbirds 12. First exhibition on November 25th, 2006, between Toronto and Philadelphia ahead of the 2007 WILC

Operated by: Halifax Regional Municipality

Shared with: Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

Biggest lacrosse moment: May 20, 2007. 2007 World Indoor Lacrosse Championships were hosted by Canada Lacrosse at the Halifax Metro Centre, now named Scotiabank Centre. A reported attendance of over 25,000 fans were on hand for the entire event. Canada claimed the gold medal over the Iroquois Nationals, 15-14, with USA taking bronze over England, 17-10, beforehand.

Rochester Knighthawks

Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial

Rochester, New York

Capacity: 10,664

Nickname: The War Memorial

Where they were before: N/A

Opened:October 18, 1955

First NLL game: Saturday, January 7th, 1995. New York Saints 8, Rochester Knighthawks 11 (MILL)

Operated by: Pegula Sports and Entertainment

Shared with: Rochester Americans (AHL)

Biggest lacrosse moment: May 31, 2014. Game 3 of the 2014 Champion’s Cup Finals. The Rochester Knighthawks won their third-straight NLL Champion’s Cup, the first team to do so. Rochester’s 10-6 victory of the Calgary Roughnecks took the series, 3-2, to set history as the very first three-peat.

Toronto Rock

Scotiabank Arena

Toronto, Ontario

Nickname: or ACC from the oldies.

Where they were before: Maple Leaf Gardens

Opened: February 19, 1999

First NLL game: Saturday, December 21st, 2000. Ottawa Rebel 7, Toronto Rock 17.

Operated by: Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment

Shared with: Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL), Toronto Raptors (NBA), Toronto Marlies (AHL)

TORONTO, ON - MAR 11, 2018: National Lacrosse League game between the Toronto Rock and the New England Blackwolves, (Photo by Ryan McCullough / NLL)
Photo: Ryan McCullough / NLL

Biggest lacrosse moment: May 5, 2005. The Toronto Rock defeated the Arizona Sting, 19-13, to capture the organization’s fifth NLL Champion’s Cup of the past seven years. A crowd of 19,432 were on hand to witness the finale, setting the NLL single game attendance record that still holds to this day.

Georgia Swarm

Infinite Energy Arena

Duluth, Georgia

Capacity: 11,355

Nickname: The Hive

Where they were before: Xcel Energy Center in Minneapolis, MN

Opened: February 16, 2003

First NLL game: Saturday, January 9th, 2016. Toronto Rock 7, Georgia Swarm 12

Operated by: Gwinnett County

Shared with: Atlanta Gladiators (ECHL)

random thoughts Georgia Swarm 2018

Biggest lacrosse moment: June 4, 2017. Game 1 of the best of three 2017 NLL Champion’s Cup series was captured by the Georgia Swarm on their home floor over the Saskatchewan Rush, 18-14. The Swarm won Game 2 in Saskatchewan, claiming the organization’s only championship.

New England Black Wolves

Mohegan Sun Arena

Uncasville, Connecticut

Capacity: 7,074

Nickname: The Casino

Where they were before: Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA

Opened: November 9, 2001

First NLL game: Saturday, April 21st, 2002. 2002 NLL All-Star Game – North Division 14, South Division 10

Operated by: Mohegan Sun

Shared with: Connecticut Sun (WNBA)

Buffalo Bandits at New England Black Wolves NLL 2017 Photo: New England Black Wolves
Photo: New England Black Wolves

Biggest lacrosse moment: May 6, 2016. The first playoff win for the New England Black Wolves came over the Georgia Swarm, 14-13, in overtime. The 2015-16 campaign was the second season since moving from Philadelphia and the first under coach Glenn Clark.

New York Riptide

Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Uniondale, New York

Capacity: 13,917

Nickname: The Coliseum

Where they were before: N/A

Opened: February 11, 1972

First NLL game: Wednesday, April 30th, 1975. Long Island Tomahawks 13, Montreal Quebecois 14

Operated by: Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment

Shared with: Long Island Nets (NBA G League), New York Islander, part-time (NHL), New York Open (ATP)

Biggest lacrosse moment: Wednesday, April 30th, 1975. The earliest form of professional lacrosse was the original National Lacrosse league, pre-dating Eagle Pro and MILL. Wooden floors filled the boards and the Long Island Tomahawks went as far as painting theirs white to attract attention to their first season after rebranding from the Rochester Griffins. The first pro box game on Long Island has to be the crown achievement for now.

https://www.facebook.com/newyorkriptide/videos/503089747303067/

Philadelphia Wings

Wells Fargo Center

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Capacity: 19,543

Nickname: The Center

Where they were before: The Spectrum

Opened: April 13, 1996

First NLL game: Saturday, January 18th, 1997. Baltimore Thunder 11, Philadelphia Wings 16 (MILL)

Operated by: Comcast Spectacor

Shared with: Philadelphia Flyers (NHL), Philadelphia 76ers (NBA), Villanova Wildcats (NCAA)

chris cloutier
Photo: Ryan McCullough / NLL

Biggest lacrosse moment: April 26, 1998. Of the Philadelphia Wings six professional championships, only one game of the finals has taken place in Wells Fargo Arena. The Wings defeated the Baltimore Thunder, 17-12, in front of 9,860 fans before completing the sweep of the series for the very first NLL Champion’s Cup.

Calgary Roughnecks

Scotiabank Saddledome

Calgary, Alberta

Capacity: 19,289

Nickname: The Saddledome

Where they were before: N/A

Opened: October 15, 1983

First NLL game: Saturday, November 21st, 2001. Calgary Roughnecks 17, Montreal Express 32

Operated by: Calgary Sports and Entertainment

Shared with: Calgary Flames (NHL), Calgary Hitmen (WHL)

Biggest lacrosse moment: May 7, 2004. The Calgary Roughnecks defeated the Buffalo Bandits, 14-11, in a solo championship game in front of over 19,000 fans. It was the first of three NLL championships won in Calgary, the only three claimed by the Roughnecks. The late Chris Hall was able to capture his first Champion’s Cup in just the third season after expansion to Calgary.

Colorado Mammoth

Pepsi Center

Denver, Colorado

Capacity: 17,809

Nickname: Loud House

Where they were before: USAir Arena in Washington D.C.

Opened: October 1, 1999

First NLL game: Saturday, January 3rd, 2003. Colorado Mammoth 12, Toronto Rock 13 in OT

Operated by: Kroenke Sports & Entertainment

Shared with: Denver Nuggets (NBA), Colorado Avalanche (NHL)

Colorado Mammoth Saskatchewan Rush NLL 2018 Photo: Bart Young
Photo: Bart Young

Biggest lacrosse moment: April 2, 2005. Despite a, 10-6, loss to the Anaheim Storm, 18,326 fans stayed packed in the Pepsi Center to bid lacrosse legend Gary Gait farewell in his last game in Mammoth uniform at the Pepsi Center. While the Mammoth have one NLL title, none of the games in the 2006 playoff series were held in Denver.

San Diego Seals

Pechanga Arena

San Diego, California

Capacity: 12,920

Nickname: Sports Arena

Where they were before: N/A

Opened: November 17, 1966

First NLL game: Saturday, December 18th, 2019. Colorado Mammoth 12, San Diego Seals 17

Operated by: AEG

Shared with: San Diego Gulls (AHL), San Diego Sockers (MASL), San Diego Strike Force (IFL)

Biggest lacrosse moment: May 6, 2019. Regardless of the final outcome, the San Diego Seals were able to secure a playoff spot in their first season after expansion. Falling, 12-11, to the Calgary Roughnecks on a Monday night, over 5,000 fans were on hand to witness the first postseason NLL game in Southern California.

Saskatchewan Rush

Co-op Field at SaskTel Centre

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Capacity: 15,200

Nickname: Sask Place

Where they were before: Rexall Place in Edmonton, AB

Opened: February 9, 1988

First NLL game: Saturday, January 15th, 2016. Saskatchewan Rush 11, Vancouver Stealth 13

Operated by: City of Saskatoon

Shared with: Saskatoon Blades (WHL), Saskatchewan Rattlers (CEBL)

Biggest lacrosse moment: June 4, 2016. The freshly relocated Saskatchewan Rush swept the final series against the Buffalo Bandits with a home win, 11-10, in front of 15,182 tightly packed fans. The win earned the Rush their second-straight NLL Champion’s Cup and first of two in Saskatchewan.

Vancouver Warriors

Rogers Arena

Vancouver, British Columbia

Capacity: 18,910

Nickname: “The Garage” for the real old school fans

Where they were before: Langley Events Centre in Langley, BC

Opened: September 21, 1995

First NLL game: Saturday, December 1st, 2001. Toronto Rock 12, Vancouver Ravens 13

Operated by: Canucks Sports & Entertainment

Shared with: Vancouver Canucks (NHL), Vancouver Titans (OWL)

nll national lacrosse league vancouver warriors winners and losers
Photo: Bob Frid

Biggest lacrosse moment: December 21, 2018. The largest crowd to-date for the Vancouver Warriors of 9,902 changed their pilgrimage from going to Langley to see the Stealth to the lights downtown for the Warriors. It was the first game after the move and acquisition by Canucks Sports & Entertainment. Falling short of the playoffs in their first year as the newly minted Warriors, the team didn’t get a chance to make up for it in 2020 due to COVID-19.

We want to know which NLL lacrosse arenas are your favorite! Which rinks in North America deserve the chance to host a NLL game and which ones need a team back? I would love to see a franchise come back to Nationwide Arena in Columbus to revive the Landsharks. If you want me to keep going with all of the arenas from NLL’s yesteryears you better let me know in the comments below.

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