Jennings eyes expansion

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:16 AM ET

Jim Jennings has an eye on the future.

Yet he's making sure the pool is full before diving in.

The National Lacrosse League has made that mistake in the past.

"We're really happy where we are right now because all our franchises are stable and that's the key," said the NLL commissioner, who was in Edmonton yesterday to announce the awarding of next year's all-star game to the city.

"When I came to the league in 2000 there were very, very unstable franchises. Most of them were. But we've been fortunate enough to get great owners into the league in the last seven years.

"Most of our owners are NHL owners and that really stabilized the league."

Jennings said at least one expansion team will be added to the mix next season and that franchise will be located in the Eastern U.S. There are also talks with two other potential owners for expansion franchises.

The league is also interested in going back to Vancouver. The Vancouver Ravens entered the league in 2002, but folded after three seasons. Currently there is interest by an ownership group to return to B.C.

"Vancouver is a No. 1 priority, but we have to find a strong owner," Jennings said.

"It was a great franchise for us when we were there. It was just the ownership wasn't strong enough to sustain it."

There have been too many cases of fly-by-night ownership in the NLL. But that's changing.

"The key is our franchise values are going up," Jennings said. "Our franchise values are $5 million (each), where in the year 2000 they were $250,000. If you judge on where the league is from that standpoint, we're progressing very well."

Currently, there are 13 teams in the league, but Jennings has a grand vision.

"Our goal is to have 24 teams within the next four years," Jennings said.


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