MLL's Nationals Mull Move to Hamilton
from staff reports
Toronto Nationals John Grant and Shawn Williams celebrate a goal during the 2009 MLL championship game. The Nats are likely to move to Hamilton in 2011.
© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com
Major League Lacrosse's only Canadian franchise could be on the move in just its third season.
The Toronto Nationals are in discussions with McMaster University to play its games at Ron Joyce Stadium in Hamilton, about an hour southeast of where the team currently resides, according to The Spectator.
The Nationals won the MLL championship in their inaugural season in 2009, but stumbled to 3-9 in 2010, finishing last among the six professional outdoor lacrosse teams. They were also the league's second-worst draw, averaging 3,079 fans per home game at Lamport Stadium. Only the erstwhile Chicago Machine, which played all of its home games at neutral venues and was recently relocated to Rochester in the restoration of the Rattlers -- the team that was ironically dispersed to form the Toronto franchise -- drew fewer fans.
MLL commissioner David Gross told The Spectator there has been no formal request to move the team from Toronto, but that he is aware of the talks.
“All the league is doing is making sure that, if they do reach terms, our requirements are taken care of,” he told the newspaper. “There’s always things that leagues want to look at in terms of venues, and that’s all we’re doing.”
The last pro lacrosse team in Hamilton was the National Lacrosse League's Ontario Raiders, who would relocate and transform into the Toronto Rock -- now one of the NLL's banner franchises.