Posts for NLL

Is the Wings’ Home Opener in Danger of Being Cancelled?

Chris Jastrzembski - November 15, 2018

The Philadelphia Wings are scheduled to start their new expansion season one month from today with a home game against the Buffalo Bandits at the Wells Fargo Center.

The key phrase in that sentence is “scheduled to start,” because the National Lacrosse League season is going to be delayed due to ongoing collective bargaining negotiations with the Professional Lacrosse Players Association.

It’s gotten testy at times:

The deadline that NLL commissioner Nick Sakiewicz mentioned came and passed. But the first two weeks of the season were not cancelled as the league originally suspended their 5 PM deadline as conversations with the PLPA continued.

However, after reportedly exchanging proposals and counter proposals throughout the day, the first two weeks of the season will be cancelled after all.

Via NLL press release:

The League suspended its 5:00pm deadline yesterday to allow the PLPA to provide a new counterproposal. After a thorough review of the PLPA’s counterproposal, it is clear we cannot accept the terms the PLPA has put forward, and therefore, have made a decision to reject it. We believe those terms would have both short and long term negative consequences on our member clubs and the League which we are not willing to accept. Therefore, there is not yet an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement.

With respect to the upcoming season, the PLPA has instructed its players not to attend training camps or submit to physicals, making the formation of rosters and operation of the opening of the season impossible.

Therefore, and regrettably, because of the PLPA’s current position, the first two weekends of the 2018-19 season, which includes games on December 1 and December 8, 2018, are cancelled.

We will provide further communications on the 2018-19 schedule as updates become available.

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“Wingston” is Philadelphia’s Newest Mascot

Kevin Kinkead - November 9, 2018

Now we’ve got a green thing, an orange thing, and a yellow thing:

I’m not really sure what it is. Kind of looks like a Koopa Troopa from Super Mario Brothers. On Wingston’s Twitter page, there’s a picture showing him from the side and he appears to have a small tail. Maybe he’s a young reptilian jawn.

Either way, let’s give Wingston a warm Philadelphia welcome, just like we did for Gritty.

Flying With the Wings: A Chat with Philadelphia Wings players Kiel Matisz and Matt Rambo

Russ Joy - September 26, 2018

The Wings are back and better than ever. With a new look and updated branding, the NLL expansion team has begun to establish an identity off the field, but I’ve been wondering what the on-field product will look like. Last weekend, I spoke with NLL champion Kiel Matisz and rookie La Salle College High School grad Matt Rambo.

Kiel Matisz

I asked Matisz what it’s like to be traded from a championship team to one looking to build an identity and establish themselves in the league. We also talked about Matisz’ interest in history and food.

Russ: You just came off the pinnacle of any player’s career, winning the NLL championship in a 66 point season. When you come to a new team, is there any kind of a culture shock? What does it feel like coming from a championship club to someone who’s trying to reestablish an identity in Philadelphia?

Kiel Matisz: I’m super excited about the opportunity. Obviously, when you’ve spent your whole professional lacrosse career with one organization, you don’t really know anything different. To leave Georgia, the friendships I that I’ve built for the last six years, was tough. That’s the reality of it. The Swarm organization is a fantastic organization for the time I was there. I’m super excited personally to be coming to this organization, the City of Brotherly Love is fantastic. Bringing Jordan Hall, my old teammate to my new team is fantastic. I know a lot of the guys; lacrosse is a small community. I think we’re gonna build a  good team, a great culture. It’s exciting getting to establish that. All your ground rules, all your guidelines, how you want to play, your identity. I’m excited to get that going. I’m kind of in the middle of my career. It’s good to get a fresh start.

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Your Philadelphia Wings Schedule (With Minimal Flyers Interference)

Kevin Kinkead - September 6, 2018

Lacrosse returns to Philadelphia this winter, which means the Wells Fargo Center is now going to host three teams and a bunch of side events like Metallica and Josh Groban, who are two of my favorite musical acts.

The NLL released the schedule today for your expansion Wings and there are nine home games at the Center beginning in December and ending in April.

The home games:

  • Saturday, December 15th – Buffalo
  • Saturday, January 12th – Georgia
  • Saturday, January 26th – Toronto
  • Friday, February 1st – Rochester
  • Saturday, February 9th – Colorado
  • Saturday, February 16th – New England
  • Friday, March 8th – vs. Buffalo
  • Saturday, March 23rd – New England
  • Saturday, April 6th – Calgary

Seven Saturdays and two Fridays for no interference with the Sixers. There are four home games that will be played on the same day as Flyers games, but they are splitting them up in the afternoon and night to allow crews to do the arena changeover. They also shoved a pair of home games into the NHL and NBA all-star breaks.

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The Wings Unveiled Their New Home Jersey

Chris Jastrzembski - June 12, 2018

The second version of Philadelphia’s NLL professional indoor (box) lacrosse team has unveiled their new home jersey. They’re nothing like the old threads.

The Philadelphia Wings showed off their black home jerseys and announced their founding partner inside a hanger at the Northeast Philadelphia Airport. A weird location if you ask me, but I guess the new brand revolves around aviation.

Unveiling after the jump: Continue Reading

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Philadelphia’s New Lacrosse Team Will Obviously be Called the Wings

Kevin Kinkead - November 29, 2017

In news that should surprise no one, Philadelphia’s National Lacrosse League expansion team will be called the Wings.

That’s the result of a fan voting contest that probably wasn’t close.

Wings 2.0 are owned by Comcast Spectacor and will begin play this season at the Wells Fargo Center using this logo:

And here’s what the old logo looked like:

I kind of like the old logo better, but I’ll reserve judgment until I see the new one on a uniform or helmet. Here’s a version on a white background that looks pretty sharp:

From the press release:

“The Wings are clearly the favorite, and we’re happy to give the fans what they want,” said Lindsey Masciangelo, Executive Director of Business Operations. “Respecting the fans’ desire for the Wings name, we wanted the look to feel fresh, but also pay homage to the history of indoor lacrosse in Philadelphia.”

The Wings logo features a throwback to the previous team’s mark with a familiar “W,” but slightly refreshed. The color scheme features red, gold and charcoal; a combination that no other team in the NLL possesses. The “P” on the side of the uniform, representing Philadelphia, will serve as a secondary logo. It is also a connection to Comcast Spectacor’s other Philadelphia-area professional sports team, the Philadelphia Flyers, of the National Hockey League.

The Wings are the 11th NLL team, joining expansion San Diego in entering the league this season. The franchise originally played in Philadelphia from 1987 to 2014 before relocating to Connecticut and rebranding as the New England Black Wolves.

Returning to Philadelphia was a slam dunk and no brainer for the league, which is now headquartered in Conshohocken and run by ex-Philadelphia Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz. Comcast now owns the Flyers, Wings, and Fusion, which is the new eSports franchise.

A Discussion with NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz on His Union Past and Lacrosse Future

Kevin Kinkead - September 19, 2017

Nick Sakiewicz never left town, he just changed jobs.

The former Philadelphia Union executive resurfaced as National Lacrosse League Commissioner last January following 21 seasons in Major League Soccer.

That was three months after his split with Union majority owner and principal investor Jay Sugarman. The pair brought soccer to Philadelphia in 2008, but parted ways at the end of 2015 when their relationship became strained following years of on-field struggles and disagreement on how to move the franchise forward.

For some of that time, Sakiewicz was seen as public enemy number one in Chester, a CEO and Operating Partner who became the face of an underachieving club. In fairness, that was something he never really disputed.

“Someone has to answer and take the heat, I guess,” he told the Delco Times a few months back.

To that point, I viewed Nick as a person who covered for Sugarman’s shortcomings by repeatedly falling on the sword. There was never a doubt that Sakiewicz was a smart businessman, but a lack of resources stunted early Union gains and quickly brought an end to the club’s honeymoon period. Whether he helped his cause or not, most people realized that this was a thrifty franchise with a young coach, no scouting department, and no general manager.

But those days are long gone, and Sakiewicz is now building a new foundation for the NLL.

Attendance is up and expansion is underway. There seems to be stability and foresight for a league that has existed for quite a while now, but for most of that time just spinning its wheels. In many ways, Sakiewicz’s experiences with a rapidly growing MLS made him an ideal candidate to oversee the growth of another niche sport with similar upside.

I ran into Sakiewicz for the first time in two years at last Thursday’s NLL Philadelphia expansion announcement. He agreed to speak further about his lacrosse gig and Union departure, and we followed up on the phone this week. Continue Reading

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Comcast Spectacor Acquires New Box Lacrosse Team

Chris Jastrzembski - September 12, 2017

After a four-year hiatus, indoor lacrosse is returning to Philadelphia.

Comcast Spectacor President and CEO Dave Scott will officially announce the arrival of Philadelphia’s second National Lacrosse League franchise Thursday morning at 11 a.m. at the Wells Fargo Center. He’ll be alongside NLL commissioner Nick Sakiewicz, who was formerly the first CEO of the Philadelphia Union.

Scott will reveal the team’s name, their first season, and where the games will be played. We’re hearing “Wings” will be in play, as fans will have the opportunity to name the team.

A Bloomberg report mentioned the team will play at the Wells Fargo Center beginning in the 2018-19 season. Comcast Spectacor reportedly paid $5 million for the new team.

Rumors of an arrival first began back in February when John Barchard of BGN Radio mentioned Philly as a potential target for expansion. It ramped up again when Marisa Ingemi of College Crosse reported San Diego, which has already been announced to begin play for 2018-19, and Philadelphia would be given expansion franchises.

Sakiewicz teased an angry Union fan that he would be back in some way a few days ago:

Prior to all of this, it was very evident the NLL wanted to bring a franchise back to Philadelphia after the Wings left for New England in 2014. Sakiewicz was announced as the new league commissioner in January 2016 and relocated the league’s headquarters to Conshohocken six months later.

Professional indoor lacrosse has a long history in Philadelphia, especially with the Wings. They were one of the first teams in the first incarnation of the NLL back in the mid 1970s, and were one of the original teams of the new NLL back in 1987. Guys like Paul and Gary Gait, Tom Marachek, Dallas Eliuk, and my high school assistant coach Tony Resch were part of the team’s golden era in the 90s.

Enjoy some old school Wings clips: Continue Reading

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