News started to trickle out months ago of the NLL making moves to expand. Everyone knows, at some point, a team is coming back to Philly. If it doesn’t happen by the time I become a millionaire, I got it covered. Yesterday, the League made it official that box lacrosse is heading back to Southern California, this time heading to beautiful San Diego.
Backed by Alibaba Group co-founder Joe Tsai, the new squad will call the Valley View Casino Center its home. The arena is conveniently on the side of town where families can get around easily. Located near the airport, SeaWorld, and some of the cities most visited beaches, the venue is surrounded with lodging and dining options, and fit with ample parking, and even an outdoor box.
Tsai is a lacrosse guy and a businessman, a combo often missing in the realm of team owners. His playing days led him to walk-on at Yale, before becoming a billionaire in the tech scene. Tsai has since backed lacrosse development in Hong Kong, as well as Taiwan, reinforcing his commitment to grow the game. He’s also a major donor behind the Yale Bulldogs program.
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From an outsider’s perspective, this guy really cares about the sport as a whole. If he didn’t, owning a professional lacrosse team would only be the smallest blip on the radar of the second largest shareholder in AliBaba.com. This is a real case of someone giving back to the game, instead of taking from it.
Before they can start building a team for the 2018-19 season, Tsai needs to piece together a front office staff. Wasting little time, the announcement was made that former-Mammoth general manager Steve Govett, would be running the show. This past offseason, Govett announced his departure from Colorado after serving as president, GM, and governor for the franchise since helping bring the team to Denver in 2003.
Joining Govett in SoCal is Josh Gross, former vice president of the Mammoth. After thirteen seasons with Colorado, Gross joined Govett in moving west to help Tsai ensure success while building the San Diego franchise.
From here, the group will set their sights on the Expansion Draft, where unprotected players from each team will be up for grabs, and the Entry Draft, selecting players coming out of college or junior lacrosse.
We’re Going Back to Cali
When the San Diego squad takes the floor in 2018, it will mark the first time in nearly a decade that professional box lacrosse will return to California.
In 2004, the NLL took the New Jersey franchise and rebranded them as the Anaheim Storm. Playing in the Arrowhead Pond, now the Honda Center, the Storm only made it two seasons in Southern California. After the 2005 season, the Storm had to close its doors due to low attendance numbers.
The same year the Storm entered the League, San Jose adopted a team, taking the Albany Attack and renaming them the Stealth. For six seasons, the Stealth operated out of Northern California, before heading north up I-5 for Washington, and now competing out of British Columbia.
Name the Team
We don’t know the big picture for picking a name of the new San Diego franchise, but we figured we could lend Tsai and company some help. First, we turned to Twitter to see what the people have to say…
Some good ones…
San Diego Franchise … just the franchise
— Bryan Habick (@Coach_Habick) August 30, 2017
— Tarhy Alford (@tarhyalford) August 31, 2017
San Diego Condors pic.twitter.com/hyJLq3h4iH
— Christopher Dupree (@cd1lax12) August 30, 2017
— Brice Burge (@THATBriceBurge) August 30, 2017
Plenty made Anchorman references.
The anchormen pic.twitter.com/Vnscl4A952
— Dallas Box Lacrosse ™ (@DallasBoxLax) August 30, 2017
Whales… Ask Ron Burgundy about the meaning of San Diego.
— Danish Lacrosse – The Fighting Pastries 👊🇩🇰 (@DanishLacrosse) August 31, 2017
No idea, but their main color better be Burgundy. https://t.co/0zHhkp5CLV
— Ryan Conwell (@RyConw) August 30, 2017
While some reminded us there’s other movie references to be made…
Hey isn't Ridgemont High in SD…ijs
— HeroLacrosse (@HeroLacrosse) August 30, 2017
…and others couldn’t help themselves.
— David Isaac (@D_Eye14) August 30, 2017
San Diego Thieves (as in Ali Baba and the 40)
— Scott Hensley (@scotthensley) August 30, 2017
Here’s some of the suggestions… with a few of our own!
- Red Dawn
Tell us what you think. Should any of these suggestions make it onto the sweaters of the new San Diego franchise? What about if they went by “California” or “SoCal” instead? So many choices!
Here’s the Scoop on San Diego:
Instead of telling you more of what you already know, or rewording the work of others, we encourage you read up on the move.
- New East Village Sports Arena Announcement Coming Soon – East Village Times
- National Lacrosse League Welcomes Its 10th Franchise – NLL
- Lacrosse League Expands to San Diego With Alibaba Billionaire – Bloomberg
- Alibaba Co-Founder Joseph Tsai Brings NLL Team to San Diego – US Lacrosse
- San Diego’s new team comes with new owner, new attitude – San Diego Tribune
- Tech billionaire Tsai buys San Diego lacrosse team – Washington Post