Rumours revving Titans

TY PILSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:43 AM ET

On the floor, the New York Titans are the toast of the NLL's East Division.

Off it, there's a dark cloud hanging over the franchise.

Rumours abound the team will move in the off-season, or maybe just fold and join the long list of defunct NLL clubs.

Titans star goalie Matt Vinc said the players have heard all the talk: They're staying in New York, moving to New Jersey or Hartford, or just plain closing up shop.

Some would think that's a distraction the players don't need as they try to win the first championship in the club's short three-year existence tomorrow night against the Roughnecks at the Dome.

Instead, Vinc said they are trying to use it to their advantage. Make a little lemonade from a lemon, as it were.

"It's also a little bit of motivation," said Vinc. "We don't know if we're going to be playing together come next year. So, we've been using that a little bit since we don't know where tomorrow may lie."

Understandably, the league would rather focus on the positives this week, but talk of relocation or teams folding is important to fans.

NLL commish George Daniel -- who will arrive here tomorrow for the big game -- said the league has a June 1 deadline for teams to apply to move or give notice they will fold.

So far, nothing has crossed his desk.

"I haven't received any application yet from any team," said Daniels. "And I haven't been told I'm receiving any. So, from that standpoint, it's business as usual. I assume (the Titans) will be back."

New York isn't the only NLL club in trouble. The San Jose Stealth has struggled mightily at the gate. This season, the club averaged a league-low 4,129. New York drew second-worst at 4,692.

Portland Lumberjax owner Angela Batinovich has already publicly said her team, which drew 7,320, cannot survive in that city and her first wish is to move. Seattle is the rumour du jour as the Jax new home.

With three teams in obvious distress, it's a good bet Daniel knows more than he's saying. But, as the league boss, you can't fault him for not sharing any closed-door talk among owners.

He did admit there are clubs exploring every avenue to remain viable and given the economy and struggles of some existing clubs, expansion next year is doubtful.

To look on the glass half-full side of things, Buffalo set a new single-season attendance record (it averaged 17,947) this year and six of the league's teams topped 10,000 in average attendance.

The Roughnecks were sixth with 10,398.

"I'm actually very satisfied, all things considered with what's going on in the world," said Daniels.

"I think our attendance ended up being down 4% this year. That's not very much. That's about the same as MLB. Based on that, I feel very good about where we are considering leagues we are compared to, like Arena Football, didn't even play."


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