Toronto – The Boston Blazers announced via their official team website that they have suspended operations for the 2012 season with hopes of relocating and resuming play in 2013.
With that development, the National Lacrosse League will hold a dispersal draft of the players currently on the Boston roster. The dispersal draft will be held via a conference call on Friday, September 9 at 1pm ET.
“It’s disappointing for the league,” said Rock Owner and President Jamie Dawick. “Having said that, it’s the same thing as Orlando folding a year ago. The franchise has to be stabilized or you’re swimming up stream. I’ve seen this coming for a while and I’m not surprised.”
The Rock Owner and President views the Boston market as a very difficult one to compete in given the success of other major pro sports teams in the city. Namely Major League Baseball’s Red Sox, The NBA’s Celtics, the NHL’s Bruins and the NFL’s New England Patriots.
“They compete in an incredibly tough market with all the other major pro sports franchises in that city capturing championships in recent years,” explained Dawick. “Based on the actual number of fans in the stands you could see the Blazers didn’t have the support there from day one. I don’t think the NLL ever worked in Boston and without the fans buying tickets it can’t work unless you want to just keep losing money.”
The Toronto Rock, as defending NLL Champions, will have the 9th and last pick in each round of the dispersal draft.
Several prominent names will be available in the draft including former Toronto Rock players Josh Sanderson and Anthony Cosmo and former draft picks Nick Rose (2008), Damon Edwards (2009) and Ryan Dilks (2010).
“The Boston roster was very top heavy in talent,” said Dawick. “Picking in the number 9 spot doesn’t mean a lot to the Toronto Rock as I don’t believe the 9th best player on the Boston roster would have made our team that just won the NLL championship.”
The dispersal of Boston’s top heavy roster will mean immediate improvement for teams that finished lower in the NLL standings in 2011.
“You’re subtracting one team from the league so it’s going to make it tougher for players to find jobs in our league,” said Dawick. “The winners are the cellar dwellers from a year ago.”
Without Boston, the NLL now moves forward with 9 franchises ready to compete for the 2012 Champion’s Cup.
“I know there’s enough strong franchises for this league to have success,” expressed the Rock Owner set to embark on this third season of ownership. “Maybe the league grew too quickly before I was involved. This gives us a chance to get our house in order and make smart decisions about growth and attract strong partners who are in it for the long haul. With Boston leaving and Orlando leaving the year prior, we’ve weeded out the franchises that weren’t committed to being a part of the core of this league moving forward. The league is in good shape and isn’t going anywhere.”
A tremendous number of game changing player movement scenarios exist as a result of the impending dispersal draft coupled with the rapidly approaching NLL Entry Draft on Wednesday, September 21.