The sweetest move the Montreal Alouettes ever made was leaving the Big Owe for the 10 times more intimate Molson/McGill Stadium.
Suddenly, CFL football was a big deal again in the sometimes fickle province of Quebec.
The second-year Toronto Nationals, a professional field lacrosse team still trying to find its niche in a city with so many entertainment options, learned quickly that BMO Field, with it’s 20,000 seats, wasn’t working.
So they packed up and headed for Lamport Stadium, a kind of forlorn looking joint, created mostly out of concrete, in dire need of facelift.
Clearly, the Nats’ game-day crew knows what it is doing.
Lamport never looked so fresh as for the Nationals’ 2010 home opener Saturday — not in 30 years anyway — what with new padded seating, fresh field turf and a strong game-day design complimented by at least a dozen bright orange concessions tents.
The Hooters fan zone, the Hooters cheerleaders had the Major League Lacrosse audience of close to 4,000 pumped, too, while two national networks — TSN2 and ESPN — fed the game to households across Canada and the U.S.
Trouble was, the hometown Nats were bad, really bad, getting trounced 25-12 by the visiting Chesapeake Bayhawks.
The defending Major Lacrosse League champs are now 0-2 to start the season, not exactly what the fans expected.
In a sport like field lacrosse, where possession off the faceoff often ends in a goal, Bayhawks Alex Smith won — and this is not a misprint — 34 of the game’s 39 faceoffs. Game over and out!
“We came up against one of the best faceoff guys that ever lived,” said Nats attacker John Grant Jr., a lacrosse legend, himself. “We had to bury our chances because we weren’t going to get a lot of possessions.”
Brian Vetter and Kyle Dixon had four goals each for the winners while Josh Sims and Mark Steenhuis led the Nats with two goals apiece.
“I’m disappointed,” Toronto head coach Dave Huntley said. “I thought our staff, everyone did a great job on the stadium. We just weren’t very good.”
Asked what’s next, Huntley quipped: “If I had the answer to that I would be the coach of the Leafs.”
The Nats visit the Denver Outlaws next Saturday before returning to Lamport, Saturday, June 5 against the Chicago Machine.