NLL's Blazers Shut It Down for '12 Season
from staff reports
The "Big 3" of Casey Powell (left), Dan Dawson and Josh Sanderson will be up for grabs in a dispersal draft after the Boston Blazers announced Thursday they would not play the 2012 NLL season.
The National Lacrosse League's Boston Blazers will not be field a team for the 2012 season, according to an announcement on their website posted by Doug Reffue, the franchise's president and general manager.
"The Boston Blazers have temporarily suspended operations for the 2012 National Lacrosse League (NLL) season as we begin the initial steps to relocate the team to a new home facility for the 2013 season," wrote Reffue. "We have initiated a six month strategic plan under my direction to evaluate prospective home arena venues, both locally and nationally, where the Blazers can play the 2013 campaign and beyond."
Boston made the eight-team NLL playoffs this season with an 8-8 record before bowing to Toronto in the East Division semifinals, 11-10.
Based on the tone of the letter, the Blazer organization isn't content with the current arrangement it has with the TD Garden, which was the site of Boston's home games. The TD Garden is also the home venue for the NBA's Boston Celtics and the NHL's Boston Bruins.
"We are interested in partnering with an arena where we can build on the momentum created over the past three seasons and forge a long-term win-win relationship between the team, the local corporate community and facility operator," wrote Reffue.
Those who have bought season tickets for the 2012 will be refunded in full, according to the Blazers' website.
The Blazers' business operations will be maintained in an "offseason" capacity throughout the 2012 season. The club will continue to host its youth related community programs and philanthropic activities.
"This temporary suspension represents the first phase of a relocation process as we evaluate potential home venues for the 2013 NLL season and beyond," Reffue said in a press release. "At this early stage of the process, we are already in active discussions with several prospective venues. As general manager, my goal is to win and build a Blazers team that competes for the NLL title every season. In order to reach this goal, we need an arena partner who shares our same vision and is strongly committed to growing professional indoor lacrosse in their market."
"We have enjoyed a strong base of support from Boston fans over the last three years – they have been the lifeblood of our organization," Reffue said. "We will keep them informed as we march toward the 2013 season. We look forward to sharing information about the Blazers' next chapter in the weeks and months ahead and will be posting updates on our website and Facebook page."
A dispersal draft will be held for the second straight NLL offsesaon. Last year, the Orlando Titans ceased operations and its players were sent around the league. The Blazers have a talent-loaded roster that will be divied up among the league's remaining nine teams. A link to the Boston Blazers' website was removed from NLL.com, the league's official website, and only nine teams remain. No date has been announced for the dispersal draft.
The "Big 3" of Dan Dawson, Josh Sanderson and Casey Powell will be up for grabs. So will goaltender Anthony Cosmo and defenseman Kyle Rubsich. Powell's NLL status was in question after suffering a knee injury in Sunday's MLL championship game, but he told Lacrosse Magazine on Wednesday that he plans to return to the pro game.