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Event Spotlight:
2002-03 National Lacrosse League Update

Thursday, June 20, 2002

By David W. Unkle
SJSports Staff Writer

The National Lacrosse League (NLL) Board of Governors completed their annual summer meetings today. The three-day meeting held at New York's Madison Square Garden concluded with a conference call for members of the national media. NLL Commissioner Jim Jennings stated that the league will not exceed thirteen teams dealing a blow to those individuals looking for expansion in cities like Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco Bay Area and Edmonton. We are still aggressively pursuing expansion. There is a considerable amount of interest, especially from groups on the West Coast of the United States. We are very careful in choosing our new partners. I am confident that we will expand to some of these markets for the 2003-2004 season said Jennings. When specifically asked about the potential for a NLL franchise in Edmonton, Jennings said we did not receive a formal application from a potential ownership group to place a franchise in Edmonton for the 2002-2003 NLL season. We know how disappointed the fans in Edmonton are, but we ask them to be patient. We still expect to be there in the future. Jennings stated that while the league would like to ultimately expand to sixteen teams, they wanted to get the right ownership groups in the right buildings in the right cities to ensure responsible growth.

The NLL will begin regular season play on December 27,2002 with the season ending in mid-April 2003. Revised scheduling will minimize the number of and length of bye weeks for teams while maintaining a balanced sixteen-game schedule.

Standardization of goalkeeper equipment will go into effect for the 2002-2003 season. There will be random checks before, during, and at the conclusion of contests. Coaches can request for an official compliance check of a goalkeeper's equipment. Teams in violation will incur a two-minute penalty and the goalkeeper will receive a game misconduct. In the event that a violation is not found, the requesting team will receive a two-minute bench minor penalty.

Two teams who status remains in questions, Washington and Montreal will soon know their fate. Jennings and the members of the Board believe that the Montreal team can be sold to local investors and keeping the team in Montreal. In the event that the team does cease operations for the 2002-03 NLL season, players will be allocated via a dispersal draft. The Washington Power has been sold and the team will relocate to an undisclosed market. An announcement on the team's new ownership and location is expected by mid-July.

The NLL is marketing indoor lacrosse through its Swoop and Scoop programs and will continue to heighten fan awareness of the sport. The NLL is without a national television contract following the loss of CNN/SI and the league is pursuing other opportunities prior to the start of the season.

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