The National Lacrosse League has announced the 2015 NLL regular season schedule, which means teams can now start booking their travel itineraries. And with NLL clubs expected to log almost 80,000 combined air miles this upcoming year, an average of about 8,800 miles per team, the league's travel looks just as high-flying as the action fans are accustomed to seeing on the turf.
But which teams will have to fly the farthest in their quest for the Champion's Cup? Check out the estimated mileage below to see which players, coaches and staff will rack up plenty of frequent flyer miles this coming year. The figures factor in each team's flight distance to away games from their home city along with any back-to-back weekends where they fly home to play.
Buffalo Bandits (5,300 miles): Centrally-located between their East Division rivals Rochester and Toronto, the Bandits will have the least amount of travel in the NLL. With a combined four road games within driving distance against the Knighthawks and Rock, Buffalo will fly to Connecticut twice and Minnesota once, along with long trips to Calgary and Vancouver.
Calgary Roughnecks (8,400 miles): The West Division-champion Roughnecks won't have it so rough travel-wise this season as the team logs the fewest air miles of the four teams in the West. With a total of four short trips to Edmonton and Vancouver, the flights out East to Minnesota, Rochester and Toronto will keep Calgary in the air this year. But Calgary's lesser travel shouldn't be totally envied as the team plays their final three games on the road.
Colorado Mammoth (11,100 miles): The mile-high Mammoth will coincidentally lead the league in air mileage with games in Buffalo, Connecticut, Minnesota and Rochester. Those four trips, coupled with three flights to Alberta and two voyages to Vancouver, make Colorado the busiest travelers in the NLL. The good news for the Mammoth is that the travel is balanced throughout their schedule as they play five of their first nine games on the road and five of their final nine at home.
Connecticut-based franchise (10,000 miles): With a pair of trips to Buffalo, Minnesota and Toronto, along with visits to Calgary, Edmonton and Rochester, the recently-relocated franchise will lead the East Division in air miles. But the team won't head West of Minnesota after Week 12 and will bring six other clubs to New England for games at Mohegan Sun Arena including home games for the season opener and finale.
Edmonton Rush (10,400 miles): With six of their last nine weeks on the road, the Rush will have to wait until the second half of the season to do most of their flying. Edmonton travels to Buffalo, Minnesota, Rochester and Toronto in the East along with two trips to Calgary and Colorado and one visit to Vancouver. But Edmonton won't fly East of Minnesota after Week 13 which means they might be able to get off to a hot start at home then finish strong down the stretch.
Minnesota Swarm (8,300 miles): Positioned as the midway point for NLL cities geographically, the Swarm find themselves in the middle of the pack among East Division teams for air travel. With three flights out West to Colorado, Edmonton and Vancouver, Minnesota's two trips to Buffalo and Connecticut, along with games in Rochester and Toronto, help tack on the miles. The Swarm's travel will be loaded into the front of the schedule as the team hosts their final four games of the season.
Rochester Knighthawks (6,500 miles): The three-time defending NLL champs have the second-fewest estimated air miles despite travelling to driving-distance cities Buffalo and Toronto just one time each. Along with two trips to Connecticut and Minnesota, Rochester will visit Calgary, Colorado and Vancouver this season. But the Knighthawks will have a tough finish with three of four games to end the season on the road against the Mammoth, Stealth and Swarm.
Toronto Rock (8,600 miles): With five of their last seven games at home, Toronto will do a majority of their travelling earlier in the year. While trips to play all four West teams in Calgary, Colorado, Edmonton and Vancouver will bump up their air mileage, two driveable trips to Rochester and another in Buffalo will help alleviate their travel as they head to both Connecticut and Minnesota just once.
Vancouver Stealth (10,800 miles): Last but certainly not least, the Stealth have the second-most air miles among NLL teams this season despite just three games in the East against Buffalo, Connecticut and Toronto. The trip to New England marks the longest voyage of any NLL team at almost 2,500 miles, which equates to nearly a 5.5 hour flight. Still, a pair of short trips to both Calgary and Edmonton, and two medium-length treks to Colorado, make the Stealth's travel all that more manageable.
Estimated team travel distances for 2015 NLL season:
1) Colorado: 11,100 miles
2) Vancouver: 10,800 miles
3) Edmonton: 10,400 miles
4) Connecticut: 10,000 miles
5) Toronto: 8,600 miles
6) Calgary: 8,400 miles
7) Minnesota: 8,300 miles
8) Rochester: 6,500 miles
9) Buffalo: 5,600 miles
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