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35 Moments: MILL Merges with NLL

The MILL was a single entity league, with all teams (six or seven teams) being owned by a group of owners, led by top executives, Chris Fritz and Russ Cline. A few disgruntled individuals were in talks to start a rival league with a more traditional ownership style to further invest in their individual teams. Two owners of teams in the MILL decided they wanted to branch off and create their own league, the National Lacrosse League. After the Buffalo, Syracuse, and Boston franchises committed to the NLL, as well as star players Gary and Paul Gait among others, the two leagues agreed on a merger under the name, National Lacrosse League as we know it today. The agreement came to unify the sport and have the best talent and teams all in one place. In the merger, the Boston Blazers folded but two new teams made their debuts in the 1998 season, the Syracuse Smash and Ontario Raiders. John Livsey, Jr. was named as the first Commissioner of the National Lacrosse League.