Lively Tales About Dead Teams

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1974-1975 Maryland Arrows

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Maryland ArrowsNational Lacrosse League (1974-1975)

Born: 1974 – NLL founding franchise.
Folded: February 1976

Arena: The Capital Centre (17,500)

Team Colors:

Owner:

Nations Cup Championships: None

 

The Maryland Arrows were an indoor (box) lacrosse team that was active for both seasons of the short-lived National Lacrosse League (1974-1975.)  The NLL went out of business in February 1976 before a third season could be staged.  The Arrows were reportedly ready and willing to continue on, but there weren’t enough viable teams and the Arrows faded into history with the rest of the league.

Maryland ArrowsWhile they lasted the Arrows featured one of the greatest lacrosse players of the era in Paul Suggate.  Suggate easily led the NLL in scoring in 1974 with a ridiculous 115 goals and 124 assists in only 40 games.  That was over 50 points ahead of the league’s second leading scorer.  In 1975 he finished 2nd to Doug Hayes of the Long Island Tomahawks and was overall the greatest scorer in the National Lacrosse League’s brief history.

Americans of the 1970’s weren’t all that familiar with box lacrosse and the NLL wasn’t shy about marketing the sport’s hockey-style violence to get them through the turnstiles.  The Arrows’ radio commercials featured a voiceover endorsement from Attila the Hun.  The team’s mascot was a Neanderthal goon named Crunch Crosscheck (see logo above right).  A fight-filled June 1975 game against the Philadelphia Wings at the Capital Centre in Landover included a wild bench-clearing brawl and the spectacle of Wings’ players Carm Collins, Larry Lloyd and Zeny Lipinski allegedly beating a group of Arrows fans with their lacrosse sticks.  13 Arrows and 12 Wings players were later fined by Commissioner Gerry Patterson and Collins, Lloyd and Lipinsky were charged with assault and battery by the local state’s attorney.

 

Maryland Arrows Memorabilia

 

Arrows Video

1975 Maryland Arrows Documentary

 

Links

National Lacrosse League Programs

Attila Gives His Approval“, Joe Jares, Sports Illustrated, June 3, 1974

Two Ways To Stick It To ’em” Larry Keith, Sports Illustrated, July 7, 1975

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Written by AC

March 10th, 2014 at 2:54 am

1994-1997 Washington Warthogs

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Continental Indoor Soccer League (1994-1997)

Born: November 11, 1993 – CISL expansion franchise
Folded: December 23, 1997

Arena: USAir Arena (18,310)

Team Colors:

Owner: Abe Pollin

CISL Championships: None

 

The Washington Warthogs played four seasons of indoor soccer at the old Capital Centre/USAir Arena in Landover, Maryland from 1994 to 1997.  The Warthogs were members of the Continental Indoor Soccer League (CISL), which moved the sport of indoor soccer out of its traditional home in the wintertime and used it as a date-filler for NBA and NHL arenas during the slow summer months.  Many of the CISL club investors were NBA owners and the Warthogs were no exception.  Washington Bullets and Capitals owner Abe Pollin paid a $150,000 expansion fee to join the CISL for the league’s second season in the summer of 1994.

The CISL didn’t garner much in the way of national media coverage, but the Warthogs did earn some attention for their periodic use of female players.  In 1994, the team signed former North Carolina State player Colette Cunningham. Cunningham saw limited action but became the first female to score a point in men’s professional soccer in the U.S.  The following year, the Warthogs signed U.S. National Team star Kristine Lilly, already one of the all-time greats of the women’s game at age 24. Lilly joined the team in August 1995 and played 3-4 shifts per game for the Warthogs late in the season.  Lilly’s appearances earned the team a sizable write-up in Sports IllustratedWarthogs Head Coach Jim Gabarra was married to Lilly’s National Team teammate Carin-Jennings Gabarra. He would later become a highly regarded coach in the women’s pro leagues formed of the 2000’s.

Other notable Warthogs included U.S. World Cup veteran Eric Eichmann, who appeared for the club in 1994, and forward Dante Washington, who played for the team in 1994 and 1995 and later went on to a long career in Major League Soccer.

The CISL folded after five seasons of play on December 23, 1997, taking the Warthogs down with it.

 

In Memoriam

Former Warthogs owner Abe Pollin passed away on November 24, 2009 at age 85.

 

Warthogs Video

Washington Warthogs at Indiana Twisters.  Final weeks of the CISL.  August 22, 1997

 

Links

October 16, 1995 Sports Illustrated article “Belle of the Ball” on Kristine Lilly and the Warthogs.

Continental Indoor Soccer League Media Guides

Continental Indoor Soccer League Programs

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Written by AC

May 28th, 2013 at 1:36 am

March 21, 1987 – Baltimore Thunder vs. Washington Wave

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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.

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