Stealth make relocation work

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:39 PM ET

SEATTLE — The Washington Stealth waded into uncharted waters this season.

Relocating from San Jose to Everett, Washington, the franchise knew it would have to work hard in order to sell the National Lacrosse League.

So far, it’s working out well as the team has made small inroads in the community.

“Some people might not see it as successful, because we’re not playing in front of huge crowds,” said Stealth head coach Chris Hall. “But we’re playing in a smaller rink and in a market that doesn’t have a huge history of box lacrosse.

“But there is a verging field lacrosse program down here, especially in the high schools. We knew coming here we would initially have to try and sell the game and sell the team and I think we’ve done a great job of that.”

The Stealth drew 3,268 fans for their first-round playoff victory over the Minnesota Swarm last weekend. The Comcast Arena in Everett seats just over 8,200.

Due to the Sesame Street gang taking over the venue in Everett this weekend, the Stealth were forced to move their game against the Rush to the Key Arena in Seattle.The former home to the NBA’s Super Sonics and the WHL’s Thunderbirds, the building adjacent to the Seattle Space Needle, has just one fulltime tenant in the WNBA’s Storm.

If the Stealth move on to the final with a victory over the Edmonton Rush, they’ll host it back at the Comcast Center in Everett.

“I think ownership and management are happy with how we’ve started,” Hall said. “We have to build a core fan base and I think being successful on the floor will help that.

“Ownership is not sparring any expense to make this work. If something needs to get done, it’s going to get done. They’re willing to take a bit of a hit to ensure we’re able to get things done, and I think it’s going to be really successful here.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca


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