The Montreal Express lacrosse team has suspended operations, effective immediately. The Express will not participate in the 2002-2003 NLL season. The franchise has been granted a one year suspension by the League's Board of Governors, at the request of the team's ownership. The franchise will remain in existence, but will be inactive for the upcoming season.
Details relating to the disbursement of Montreal Express players to the League's twelve other teams will be announced at a later date. The team will not participate in the 2002 Entry Draft.
'Montreal is a great city, and we are sad to make this announcement,' said Commissioner Jim Jennings. 'Despite great efforts, the current ownership was unable to make it a success. The Board of Governors and I still believe the NLL can be successful in Montreal, with the right ownership group and the right situation. We are not permanently closing the door on Montreal today.'
For the 2003-2004 season, the Montreal franchise has the option of resuming operations in Montreal or applying to the League for relocation.
The Express played the 2001-2002 season at the Molson Centre. The team finished its inaugural season with a record of 8-8, placing third in the Central Division.
The 2002-2003 season will consist of twelve teams, playing in three divisions, each consisting of four teams. The divisions are as follows:
Colorado (to be named)
New Jersey Storm
New York Saints
The Colorado franchise will remain in the Eastern Division, where it played last season when the team was located in Washington, DC.