There was a national story that was overlooked earlier in the week, which -- when added to the Bandits' announcement about a new general manager -- should teach me not to take a day off.
There will be indoor lacrosse in 2013.
The National Lacrosse League and the Professional Lacrosse Players Association reached a collective bargaining agreement for the 2013 season. The league had opted out of the previous deal, which had two years to run.
Interestingly, the terms were worked out on July 12 here in Buffalo. How did all of those lacrosse negotiators sneak into town without telling anyone about it?
The players weren't in a great bargaining position. The number of teams is down to nine, and that means some good players aren't playing anywhere in the winter and spring. An adjustment to the CBA for the time being probably was in order. A schedule for 2013 will be announced in September.
From here, the league hopes to negotiate a long-term deal with the players. Some sort of stability in that area is probably necessary in order for the NLL to even consider taking in new teams. You probably can come up with your own list of expansion cities that would be considered under new rules. Vancouver is considered the obvious choice, and you'd think Montreal and/or Ottawa would pop up.
The one city that seems like a natural to me is Uniondale, Long Island. The Islanders have been trying to get a new arena built for a while, and a team that would give a few more dates to a new facility strikes me as a good idea. Besides, Long Island has plenty of lacrosse interest. It seems like a good idea for the Islanders to go into the indoor lacrosse business, following the business model that has worked well in Buffalo, Colorado, etc.
In the meantime, the new deal was a necessary first step toward looking ahead. This was no time for a suicidal labor dispute, and it looks like both sides realized that. Nice job.
--- Budd Bailey