The 2000-2001 Philadelphia Wings started this season with a mission: to return the franchise to the elite of the National Lacrosse League. The 2000 Philadelphia Wings struggled to a 7-5 finish, and lost to the Toronto Rock in the first round of 2000 playoffs. In 1999, the Wings finished 5-7, their first losing season since 1992. A record close to .500 might be acceptable to some teams, but not for a franchise that won five Championships in their first 14 seasons.
"The 1998 Championship (a 17-12 victory over the Baltimore Thunder) marked the end of an era," said Mike French, Wings Vice President and Co-Owner. "Many of the great players from our early years retired. After the 1998 Championship, guys like Bill Miller, Chris Flynn and Scott Gabrielson left the game. It was a huge hole to fill."
The next two seasons were a time of transition for the Wings. The team was looking for new leaders to emerge. The retirements made way for up-and-coming players like Jake Bergey, Dave Stilley and Tom Slate. Today, Bergey leads the Wings offense (43 goals 43 assists=86 points for the 2000-2001 season), along with veteran forward Tom Marechek. Dave Stilley is the Wings captain, and Tom Slate plays a key role in the teams' success.
"Our new players needed time to gel. The 1999 and 2000 seasons were a time of transition for us," said French. "Luckily, we were good enough to stay highly competitive during those transition years. Now, the Wings are back."
The Wings finished the regular season 10-4, good for second place in the National Lacrosse League. In last week's semi-final matchup, the Wings defeated the Rochester Knighthawks to advance to the Championship Game. The Wings achieve success with a high-octane offense and solid defense. In goal, the Wings rely on Dallas Eliuk, one of the most consistent goalkeepers in the history of the league.
The Wings will have their work cut out for them against the Rock. The Wings are 2-7 all-time against the Toronto franchise, including two losses to the Rock during the 2000-2001 regular season. The Wings have also lost to the Rock twice in the post season.
For a detailed recap of the Wings season, please visit the Schedule section of the website.