Lively Tales About Dead Teams

NLL Lacrosse (1974-1975)

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The National Lacrosse League was a professional box (indoor) lacrosse circuit active during the summers of 1974 and 1975.  NLL clubs played in some of the major and historic hockey arenas in the Northeast and eastern Canada. The summer seasons conditions could be brutal for players and fans alike in buildings like the Boston Garden and Toronto’s Maple Leafs that lacked air conditioning.

Players could earn about $6,500 a year playing in the NLL.  The league’s talent pool included a large number of Canadians, many of First Nations origin, and a handful of moonlighting ice hockey players.  Two particular notables were Buffalo Sabres left winter Rick Dudley, who played for the 1974 NLL champion Rochester Griffins and future United States Men’s National Soccer Team head coach Bruce Arena who suited up for the Montreal Quebecois.

The league’s franchises were unstable, with several shutdowns and relocations during the NLL’s brief history.  Nevertheless, teams in Maryland, Montreal and Philadelphia (especially) proved to be popular box office draws.  The league folded in early 1976 before a third season could get underway.

The NLL of the 1970’s is not to be confused with today’s National Lacrosse League, which is a nationwide indoor league that traces its roots back to 1987.  After several name changes, the modern day league adopted the National Lacrosse League name in 1998.  The Philadelphia Wings franchise of the modern day NLL formed in 1987 and revived the name and updated the logo of the 1970’s Philadelphia Wings of the original NLL.


National Lacrosse League Franchise List

Franchise Years Active Nations Cup Champions
Boston Bolts 1975 None
Long Island Tomahawks 1975 None
Maryland Arrows 1974-1975 None
Montreal Quebecois 1974-1975 None
Philadelphia Wings 1974-1975 None
Quebec Caribous 1975 1975
Rochester Griffins 1974 1974
Syracuse Stingers 1974 None
Toronto Tomahawks 1974 None

Written by AC

May 7th, 2012 at 8:51 pm

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One Response to 'NLL Lacrosse (1974-1975)'

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  1. In your 1975 Philadelphia Wings section it’s noted:

    “One player – John Grant Sr. – returned from the original Wings of the 1970’s to see action for the new Wings. In later years, his son John Grant Jr.would also come to star for the Wings.”

    John Grant Jr. never played for the Wings. He was drafted by the Buffalo Bandits in 1995 but chose to attend college. 4 years later (1999) he was drafted 1st overall by the Rochester Knighthawks.

    Big E

    1 Sep 15 at 7:21 pm

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