Lively Tales About Dead Teams

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2000-2003 Columbus Landsharks

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2000-01 Columbus Landsharks Media GuideNational Lacrosse League (2000-2003)

Born: 2000 – NLL expansion franchise.
Died:
August 28, 2003 – The Landsharks relocate to Phoenix, AZ.

Arena: Nationwide Arena

Team Colors:

Owners:

 

The Columbus Landsharks were a toothless entry in the indoor National Lacrosse League, playing three seasons of box lacrosse at Nationwide Arena from 2000 to 2003.  The club was originally owned by John Livsey, the former Commissioner of the NLL.  But Livsey bailed quickly after the Landsharks tanked at the box office (6,559 attendance in 2000-01, compared to league average of 8,117) and on the carpet (3-11 record) in their inaugural season.  Livsey sold off the club to new owners in Montreal.  The original Landsharks franchise became the Montreal Express, who lasted just one further season in Quebec before folding in 2002.

Meanwhile, the owners of the NLL’s New York Saints franchise stepped in to form a new expansion club in Columbus that adopted the Landsharks name and history (such as it was).  The out-of-state owners stewarded the Landsharks through two more desultory seasons before giving up in August 2003, when the franchise moved to Phoenix and became the Arizona Sting.

The Landsharks’ three-year record was 16-30 and they never made the playoffs.

 

==Links==

National Lacrosse League Media Guides

National Lacrosse League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

July 3rd, 2014 at 2:35 am

1974 Rochester Griffins

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Rochester GriffinsNational Lacrosse League (1974)

Born: 1974 – NLL founding franchise.
Died: 1975 – The Griffins relocate to Long Island, NY.

Arena: Rochester War Memorial

Team Colors:

Owners: Tad Potter & Tom Potter

 

The box game combines the best features of outdoor field lacrosse with elements of basketball, hockey, soccer and thermonuclear holocaust.” – Ron Reid of Sports Illustrated, covering the 1974 NLL championship series between the Rochester Griffins and Philadelphia Wings.

The Rochester Griffins were the class of the National Lacrosse League during the circuit’s debut season in the summer of 1974.  The team played a fast break style under the direction of coach Morley Kells and advanced to the league championship series against the only team better in the regular season – the Philadelphia Wings.  The Griffins took the best-of-seven series in six games, winning the title at home at the Rochester War Memorial before a sparse gathering of 2,525 fans.  Somebody dug up a fantastic full broadcast of Game Six from local Philadelphia television and posted it on YouTube – check it out below.

The crowds – or lack thereof – were a problem in Rochester all season.   Out of town owners Tad and Tom Potter, investors in the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins franchise, threatened to move the team before the season was even out.  At the end of the year, the Potters sold out to Detroit Red Wings owner Bruce Norris, who moved the championship club down to Long Island, where they were known as the Long Island Tomahawks in 1975.  The National Lacrosse League folded after the 1975 season.

 

==YouTube==

 

 

==Links==

Only Fans Were A Myth“, Ron Reid, Sports Illustrated, October 7, 1974

National Lacrosse League Media Guides

National Lacrosse League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

May 13th, 2014 at 12:17 am

1974-1975 Montreal Quebecois

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Montreal Quebecois LacrosseNational Lacrosse League (1975)

Born: 1974 – NLL founding franchise.
Died: February 1976 – The NLL ceases operations.

Arena: The Montreal Forum (16,544)

Team Colors:

Owner: Nelson Stoll & John Ferguson

 

The Montreal Quebecois lacrosse team was one of six founding members of the National Lacrosse League in 1974.  The NLL was a summer-season operation that played indoor lacrosse on wooden floors in NHL and minor league hockey arenas.  The other five cities in the league in 1974 were Maryland, Philadelphia, Rochester, Syracuse and Toronto.

Originally the Quebecois were going to be a joint venture between Quebec investors Nelson Stoll and John Ferguson along with Sydney Salomon, owner of the NHL’s St. Louis Blues.  Shortly before the inaugural season began though, Stoll and Ferguson bought out Salomon’s 50% interest to make the Quebecois into a fully locally-owned franchise.  Ferguson was a former Montreal Canadiens ice hockey star who won five Stanley Cups during his 12-year career with the NHL team from 1959 to 1971.  Ferguson was pressed into coaching the Quebecois during the 1974 season when the club’s original hire, Bill Bradley, had a change of heart and decided he wanted to play only and not manage the team.

The Quebecois’ top player was John Davis, who finished 2nd in the league in scoring in 1974 (78 goals, 105 assists) and 3rd in 1975 (79 goals, 129 assists).

During the 1975 season, the Quebecois acquired a provincial rival when the NLL’s Syracuse Stingers franchise moved to Quebec City and became Les Caribous de Quebec.  The Quebecois and the Caribous met in the Nations Cup championship series in September 1975, with the Caribous upsetting Montreal 4 games to 2.   The games drew large crowds in both cities, but they also proved to be the final lacrosse matches ever staged by the NLL.  The league folded in February 1976 after membership dwindled to only three viable clubs.

 

==Montreal Quebecois Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Year Date Opponent Score Program Other
1974 5/15/1974 vs. Toronto Tomahawks W 14-8 Program
1974 7/7/1974 @ Maryland Arrows ?? Program
1974 8/8/1974 vs. Maryland Arrows W 14-12 Program
1974 8/13/1974 vs. Philadelphia Wings L 23-13 Program
1974 9/8/1974 vs. Rochester Griffins W 20-11 Program
1975 4/15/1975 @ Maryland Arrows ?? Program Roster

 

==Downloads==

1974 Montreal Quebecois Regular Season Final Statistics

 

==Links==

It Was Provincial Indeed” – October 6, 1975 Sports Illustrated coverage of the 1975 NLL Nations Cup final.

National Lacrosse League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

March 10th, 2014 at 4:29 pm

1974-1975 Maryland Arrows

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Maryland ArrowsNational Lacrosse League (1974-1975)

Born: 1974 – NLL founding franchise.
Died: February 1976 – The NLL ceases operations.

Arena: The Capital Centre (17,500)

Team Colors:

Owner:

 

The Maryland Arrows were an indoor (box) lacrosse team that was active for both seasons of the short-lived National Lacrosse League (1974-1975.)  The NLL went out of business in February 1976 before a third season could be staged.  The Arrows were reportedly ready and willing to continue on, but there weren’t enough viable teams and the Arrows faded into history with the rest of the league.

Maryland ArrowsWhile they lasted the Arrows featured one of the greatest lacrosse players of the era in Paul Suggate.  Suggate easily led the NLL in scoring in 1974 with a ridiculous 115 goals and 124 assists in only 40 games.  That was over 50 points ahead of the league’s second leading scorer.  In 1975 he finished 2nd to Doug Hayes of the Long Island Tomahawks and was overall the greatest scorer in the National Lacrosse League’s brief history.

Americans of the 1970’s weren’t all that familiar with box lacrosse and the NLL wasn’t shy about marketing the sport’s hockey-style violence to get them through the turnstiles.  The Arrows’ radio commercials featured a voiceover endorsement from Attila the Hun.  The team’s mascot was a Neanderthal goon named Crunch Crosscheck (see logo above right).  A fight-filled June 1975 game against the Philadelphia Wings at the Capital Centre in Landover included a wild bench-clearing brawl and the spectacle of Wings’ players Carm Collins, Larry Lloyd and Zeny Lipinski allegedly beating a group of Arrows fans with their lacrosse sticks.  13 Arrows and 12 Wings players were later fined by Commissioner Gerry Patterson and Collins, Lloyd and Lipinsky were charged with assault and battery by the local state’s attorney.

 

==Maryland Arrows Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other
1974 7/7/1974 vs. Montreal Quebecois ?? Program
1974 8/8/1974 @ Montreal Quebecois L 14-12 Program
1974 8/18/1974 vs. Rochester Griffins W 12-9 Program
1975 4/12/1975 @ Philadelphia Wings ?? Program
1975 4/15/1975 vs. Montreal Quebecois ?? Program Roster
1975 5/14/1975 @ Long Island Tomahawks ?? Program

 

==YouTube==

1975 Maryland Arrows Documentary

 

==Links==

National Lacrosse League Programs

Attila Gives His Approval“, Joe Jares, Sports Illustrated, June 3, 1974

Two Ways To Stick It To ‘em” Larry Keith, Sports Illustrated, July 7, 1975

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Written by andycrossley

March 10th, 2014 at 2:54 am

1975 Long Island Tomahawks

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Long Island TomahawksNational Lacrosse League (1975)

Born: 1975 – The Rochester Griffins relocate to Long Island, NY.
Died: February 1976 – The NLL ceases operations.

Arena: Nassau Coliseum (14,300)

Team Colors:

Owner: Bruce Norris

 

The Long Island Tomahawks were a pro box lacrosse team that played at Nassau Coliseum in the summer of 1975.  The team’s ancestry is a little convoluted.  Owner Bruce Norris, who also owned the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League, was an original investor in the National Lacrosse League.  During the league’s first season in 1974, Norris owned the league’s Toronto Tomahawks franchise.  The Tomahawks floundered at Maple Leaf Gardens and the team was shifted to new ownership in Boston for the 1975 season.  Norris, meanwhile, kept the Tomahawks name and logo and bought the 1974 league champion Rochester Griffins franchise and moved it downstate to Long Island.

Bill Tierney LacrosseDespite the name lifted from Norris’ old Toronto club, the Long Island Tomahawks traced their history to the Griffins and you can see on their game program (above right) that they promoted themselves as the “1974 World Champions” of pro lacrosse.

Modern day box lacrosse fans are familiar with the game played on Astroturf carpets, but the National Lacrosse League of the 1970’s played on wooden courts laid over the ice at hockey arenas.  The Tomahawks’ court was painted an unusual white color, which you can see in the video below.  The league’s other teams typically played on green wooden surfaces.

The Tomahawks were the best team in the 6-team NLL during the 1975 season with a 31-17 record.  But they lost to the 4th-place Quebec Caribous 4 games to 2 in the semi-final playoff series in September 1975.  Doug Hayes (104 goals, 126 assists) led the league in scoring.

In February 1976 the National Lacrosse League went out of business, saying that only the Maryland, Philadelphia and Quebec franchises were prepared to move forward with a third season.  Pro lacrosse returned to the Nassau Coliseum in 1989 with the arrival of the New York Saints (1989-2003) of the Major Indoor Lacrosse League.

 

==Long Island Tomahawks Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Date Opponent Score Program Other
4/28/1975 @ Boston Bolts  W 19-17 (OT) Program
5/14/1975 vs. Maryland Arrows ?? Program
5/27/1975 vs. Quebec Caribous  W 19-17 Program

 

==YouTube==

The Long Island Tomahawks host the Philadelphia Wings at Nassau Coliseum. August 29, 1975

 

==Links==

National Lacrosse League Media Guides

National Lacrosse League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

February 22nd, 2014 at 8:08 pm