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National Lacrosse League Opens Friday with NLL Faceoff Weekend: Ten Things to Know

credit: NLL/ Steve Hiscock

The National Lacrosse League (@NLL), the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, opens its 37th season with five contests on “NLL Faceoff Weekend” with three games on Friday and two on Saturday.

Coming off a season of record-breaking attendance across the league and interest in the NLL and the sport of lacrosse at an all-time high, the off-season was an exciting one for the NLL, with storylines heightening the anticipation for 2023-24.

Here are 10 things to know about the NLL entering Week 1:

  • Fans can watch three of the five NLL Faceoff Weekend contests on linear broadcasts, beginning with the “NLL Game of the Week on TSN” doubleheader on Friday featuring the Saskatchewan Rush at Halifax Thunderbirds (7 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. AT), with broadcasters Pete Dalliday, Pat Gregoire, and Ashley Docking) followed by Panther City Lacrosse Club at Vancouver Warriors (10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT), with Teddy Jenner, Brad Challoner, and Shantelle Chand).
  • In the “NLL Saturday Night Showcase on ESPN,” the Philadelphia Wings visit the New York Riptide (7:30 p.m. ET). The Albany FireWolves vs. Las Vegas Desert Dogs contest (10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT) will also be seen locally in both markets (My4 in Albany, Fox 5 in Vegas).
  • The Buffalo Bandits, who open play on Dec. 9 at Albany, will be looking to repeat as NLL Champions, a feat that is rare in League history. The Rochester Knighthawks (now the Halifax Thunderbirds) were the last, pulling a threepeat with titles from 2012-14. The only other title defenses in League history were by the Toronto Rock (1999-2000) and (2002-03).
  • The Bandits’ championship last season was their 12th trip to the NLL Finals, the most in League history. The current Halifax Thunderbirds made ten appearances during their time as the original Rochester Knighthawks, and the Rock have made nine NLL Finals appearances.
  • All 135 regular season games and every playoff contest will be streamed live on ESPN+ and TSN+. The full schedule is available at https://www.nll.com/schedule/full-schedule/.
  • TSN will broadcast 20 Game of the Week contests, including at least one at each of the League’s five Canadian-based franchises. The schedule, subject to change, is available here: https://www.nll.com/news/2023-24-nll-game-of-the-week-on-tsn-schedule-announced/
  • In October, the NLL unveiled NLL UnBOXed™, the League’s new continent-wide grassroots campaign designed to bring the League’s fast-paced game to boys and girls in more communities across North America. The League also revealed the cities and branding for the nine non-NLL markets, available at https://www.nll.com/UnBOXed/.
  • The new NLL UnBOXed series will debut with the Toronto Rock and New York Riptide playing at Place Bell in Laval, Québec on Friday, February 16, 2024 in the first regular season game to be held in the province since 2002.
  • In September, the League unveiled new branding, including a refined primary logo, stylized wordmark, and for the first time, a French language “Ligue Nationale de Lacrosse” family of marks.
  • The 2023-24 NLL season will be the first under a new unified standings format and playoff structure which will feature a more balanced schedule across its 15 teams and a single-table, eight-team playoff qualification system that eliminates the geographical conferences.
  • Monday marked the debut of “War on the Floor: A Season with the San Diego Seals” on Prime Video, an all-access series that follows the expansion franchise throughout the 2021-2022 season. Search “War on the Floor” to watch the five episode series.
  • NLL.com’s news bureau has been busy with numerous features every week. The latest series is the “NLL Top 50,” counting down the league’s best at each position. Next up, the forwards. See links to the other positions at the bottom of that article.

Schedule – Week 1 (All Times Eastern)

Friday

  • Saskatchewan Rush at Halifax Thunderbirds, 7 p.m., TSN, TSN+, ESPN+
  • Panther City Lacrosse Club at Vancouver Warriors, 10 p.m., TSN, TSN+, ESPN+
  • Albany FireWolves at Las Vegas Desert Dogs, 10 p.m., ESPN+, TSN+, My4, Fox 5

Saturday

  • Calgary Roughnecks at Rochester Knighthawks, 7 p.m., ESPN+, TSN+
  • Philadelphia Wings at New York Riptide, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2, ESPN+, TSN+

About Jerry Milani

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Jerry Milani is a writer and public relations executive living in Bloomfield, N.J. He has worked in P.R. for more than 30 years in college and conference sports media relations, two agencies and for the International Fight League, a team-based mixed martial arts league, and as a freelance professional. His PR clients have included Wizard World and FAN EXPO, which produce pop culture and celebrity conventions across North America, USA Wrestling, the National Lacrosse League, Strat-O-Matic Media, the Pacific Life Open and Pilot Pen Tennis tournaments and dozens of others. Milani is also the director of athletic communications for Caldwell University. He is a proud graduate of North Rockland High School and Fordham University and when not attending a Yankees, Rams or Cougars game can be reached at Jerry (at) JerryMilani (dot) com.

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