Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘Major Indoor Lacrosse League’ Category

1989-1994 Detroit Turbos

3 comments

1991 Major Indoor Lacrosse League ProgramMajor Indoor Lacrosse League (1989-1994)

Born: 1989 – MILL expansion franchise
Folded: Postseason 1994

Arena: Joe Louis Arena

Team Colors:

Owners:

MILL Champions: 1991

 

The Detroit Turbos brought their brand of brawling, high scoring box lacrosse to the Joe Louis Arena for six winters in the early 1990’s. The team sold a decent number of tickets during its first two seasons, peaking with average attendance of 11,910 during the 1990 season. The Turbos’ initial appeal may have been helped by limited supply. During the Turbos era, the Major Indoor Lacrosse League schedule featured just 8-10 regular season games per season.

The Turbos’ glory years came in 1991 and 1992 after the team drafted and signed superstar twins Gary Gait and Paul Gait out of Syracuse University.  The Gait Brothers led the Turbos to the championship of the Major Indoor Lacrosse League during their rookie season of 1991. Both Gaits were named First Team All-Pros, as was goaltender Ted Sawicki.

The Turbos had the best record in the league once again in 1992, but lost to the expansion Buffalo Bandits in the playoff semi-finals.

The Gait brother departed for the rival Philadelphia Wings in 1993. Two mediocre seasons followed. On March 11, 1994, the Turbos played the Wings at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. With the Turbos down 15-6 in the third quarter, a bench clearing brawl broke out. Fighting was a big part of the appeal of the MILL. But the fight and the fan reaction got so out of hand that the game officials cancelled the rest of the match.

By 1994 Turbos’ attendance crashed 60% from the team’s 1990 peak to fewer than 5,000 fans per game. The club folded quietly after the 1994 campaign.

 

Detroit Turbos Memorabilia

 

Turbos Video

1991 Detroit Turbos TV Commercial

The Turbos take on the Philadelphia Wings at the Spectrum in Philly on February 11, 1990. Note that the teams are playing with hockey goals instead of lacrosse goals!

 

Links

Major Indoor Lacrosse League Media Guides

Major Indoor Lacrosse League Programs

##

 

 

Written by Drew Crossley

December 15th, 2017 at 4:16 am

1996 Charlotte Cobras

one comment

Major Indoor Lacrosse League (1996)

Born: October 2, 1995 – MILL expansion franchise.
Folded: August 21, 1996 – The Cobras cease operations.

Arena: Independence Arena

Team Colors:

Owner: Major Indoor Lacrosse League

MILL Championships: None

 

Very obscure Box Lacrosse entry that lasted for only one season in the centrally-owned Major Indoor Lacrosse League.  The Charlotte Cobras were added to the league as an expansion franchise in 1996, but they were badly overmatched.  The Cobras lost all 10 of their games and were outscored 186-85 for the season, an average deficit of more than 10 goals per game.

In August 1996 the league decided to shut down the Cobras rather than bring them back for a second season.

Would like to find a logo, pocket schedule or other scrap of memorabilia for this team, but not holding out much hope.  Thanks to SkedCentral.com for sending over this rare Cobras pocket schedule (above right).

 

==1996 Charlotte Cobras Results==

Date Opponent Score Program Other
1/12/1996 vs. Boston Blazers L 17-4
1/13/1996 @ Boston Blazers L 19-9
1/20/1996 @ Rochester Knighthawks L 15-10
1/27/1996 vs. Baltimore Thunder L 16-6
2/10/1996 @ Baltimore Thunder L 14-10
2/16/1996 vs. New York Saints L 20-9
2/24/1996 @ Buffalo Bandits L 28-6
3/2/1996 vs. Philadelphia Wings L 14-8
3/9/1996 @ Philadelphia Wings L 26-11
3/23/1996 vs. Rochester Knighthawks L 17-12

 

==Links==

Box Lacrosse Media Guides

Box Lacrosse Programs

###

March 21, 1987 – Baltimore Thunder vs. Washington Wave

one comment

Baltimore Thunder vs. Washington Wave
Eagle Pro Box Lacrosse League Championship Game
March 21, 1987
The Capital Centre
Indoor Lacrosse Programs 1987-Present
12 pages

 

This was a great find from a collector in Maryland.  A championship game program from the debut season of the Eagle Pro Box Lacrosse League back in 1987.

The Eagle league was the second attempt to start a professional box lacrosse circuit in the United States.  The National Lacrosse League (1974-1975) played during the summers in sweat box hockey arenas for two summers in the mid-1970’s before folding.  Eagle league founders Russ Cline and Chris Fritz were promoters by trade: hard rock concerts, monster truck shows and tractor pulls.  Big arena events with blue collar appeal.  Box lacrosse was no different.  As Sports Illustrated’s Franz Lidz put it in a feature on this 1987 championship game, Cline and Fritz marketed box lacrosse to “fans of ice hockey, pro wrestling and Rambo.”

All four of the league’s franchises advanced to the playoff series after the Eagle League’s modest six-game inaugural season.  According to Lidz, Cline & Fritz were so sure that either the regular season champion New Jersey Saints (4-2) or the Philadelphia Wings (3-3) would advance to the championship, that they booked the Philadelphia Spectrum to host the title game in mid-March.  When the league’s two weakest teams, the Baltimore Thunder (2-4) and Washington Wave (2-4) both advanced to the final by upset, the promoters pushed back the championship by a week and hurried to book the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland where they Wave played their home games.

An announced crowd of 7,019 turned out for the title match on Saturday, March 21, 1987.  The Capital Centre didn’t own its own lacrosse carpet, so the game was played on a second-hand indoor soccer carpet purchased from the Pittsburgh Civic Arena.  The carpet still bore the logo of the defunct Pittsburgh Spirit of the Major Indoor Soccer League.  Baltimore prevailed 11-10 in a close match, packed with crowd pleasing hard hits.

The Eagle League still exists today, after a couple of name changes.  The league was known as the Major Indoor Lacrosse League from 1988 until 1997.  The league adopted its current brand name – the National Lacrosse League – in 1998.  In the early years, Cline & Fritz owned the league and all of its franchises.  In the 1990’s, the league moved to a franchise model.  Expansion fees rose as high as $3.0 million per franchise in 2006-2008, although the league’s speculative bubble in franchises fees has since deflated.

The Washington Wave lasted for three season, folding at the end of 1989.  The Thunder hung onto until 1999.

##

Follow

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: