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HistoryStories/Op-Ed

The NLL Unstrung: The Start of a new Series

Face-Off Weekend is just days away and you are probably wondering what type of pregame or preseason article I am going to write about today, but this is not one of those league write ups.

Actually, as we approach the start of the new season, I would like to introduce a new series called The NLL Unstrung.

Throughout the series, you can join me every two weeks as we uncover the great history of the NLL dating back to 1986 when Chris Fritz and Russ Cline created the Eagle Pro Box Lacrosse League. Since then a lot has obviously changed, but with your help we will be able to share some of the stories more known and the ones untold.

I hope you caught the part where I said… ‘with your help’. Here’s the thing, as you may know by now, I just joined NLL Productions in September right before the 2018 Entry Draft here in Philadelphia. I am looking forward to creating fresh, exciting content for you guys, but am hoping the NLL community can help make that content even better.

For The NLL Unstrung, some of the series will feature my thoughts as a former three time-all american soccer player that reached as high as the professional level and learned lacrosse through covering the field game for years, stepping into the NLL.

But of course, you will also get firsthand accounts and stories from people that have been in and around the league for years. You’re welcome to share stories with me on social media. I’m on every possible platform, but the best way to reach me is through a message or mention on twitter @ReneePWash, and using the hashtag #NLLUnstrung.

It’s time we dive deeper into the great stories of players, teams, coaches, and more from over the league’s 33 years. For instance, did you know in its inaugural season, the league featured just four teams- the Washington Wave, the Baltimore Thunder, the Philadelphia Wings, and the New Jersey Saints? Most people may know that already.

Did you also know that with all of the team transformations over the years with expansion and relocation,that the arenas teams played in have changed too? In fact, some are not even standing anymore. Let’s take a quick look back.

The Capital Centre, home of the Baltimore Thunder, that once stood at Harry S. Truman Drive in Washington DC was closed 26 years after its open in 1972, and demolished in 2002.

The home of the Philadelphia Wings, the Spectrum, was an arena I grew up seeing when I went to Philadelphia 76ers games as a little girl. It notoriously stood alongside the John F. Kennedy Stadium and Veterans Stadium, also known as ‘The Vet’, but is no longer there. In fact, all three stadiums in the South Philadelphia Sports Complex have been demolished and replaced. The most recent being the Spectrum which was torn down in 2011 to be replaced with a parking lot for the current Wells Fargo Center, that is once again home of the Wings.

In my home state, New Jersey, after 34 years of being the source of all North Jersey and New York indoor sports and events, the Meadowlands Arena closed down in 2015. Once home to the New Jersey Saints, it is still standing but is only used as a rehearsal site for any concerts or productions coming to the area.

Finally, the last and only arena being used, the Baltimore Arena, was home to the original Baltimore Thunder. Every year going back 14 years, there has been discussion of tearing down the arena to rebuild a new one in its place, but it is still standing! The once known Baltimore Arena is now known as the Royal Farms Arena and is still actively used in the Baltimore area.

So as mentioned in the beginning, the league has come a long way since being an all American league that did not have any Canadian players for its first few years. Did you know

that? Maybe you did, but either way, you’re going to have to wait until the next article to uncover some of that scoop with someone who is going to give you inside perspective on the league’s original rules.

I have already given you enough hints on what’s to come. Be sure to check back for the next edition of The NLL Unstrung.

But until then, it is finally time to start the 2018-2019 season as we finally have games Saturday. I’m excited to be able to enjoy the start of Face-Off Weekend watching one of the new expansion franchises, the Philadelphia Wings, host the Buffalo Bandits.

The New England Black Wolves travel to face the East Division finalists, the Georgia Swarm. Finally, the West Division finalists, the Calgary Roughnecks host the Vancouver Warriors who are looking to bounce back after a two win season and an offseason of rebranding their team around a new name.

For those of you going to the Wings/Bandits game hopefully I will see you there! Tweet me if you have any cool updates to share from the weekend!

For anyone not able to go to the games, don’t forget you can watch the games live on the B/R live app and follow the hashtag #LaxOn.

So I leave you with this last reminder. Don’t hesitate to share your stories with me  @ReneePWash or use the hashtag #NLLUnstrung. I look forward to featuring your experiences and others as we uncover NLL History one string at a time. With Face-Off Weekend finally here, let the games begin! See you next week!

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