BOSTON –Major League Lacrosse, (MLL) the premier outdoor professional lacrosse league, announced that the Rochester Rattlers will relocate to Frisco, Texas and will be rebranded as the Dallas Rattlers for the 2018 MLL season. The team will play its home games at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, the Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters and practice facility and the site of the 2017 MLL Championship Game.
“We have been interested in the North Texas area for quite some time and we are thrilled that our dream of bringing an MLL team to Dallas has come to fruition,” MLL Commissioner David Gross said. “We would like to thank the city of Rochester, the Dworkin family and everyone who has supported the Rattlers for their devotion to the team. We believe this relocation will make the franchise stronger than ever and will bring the highest level of lacrosse to a rapidly growing hotbed for the sport.”
Bill Warder, who has served as an assistant coach with the Rattlers since 2007, will be the head coach. Warder played in MLL in 2001 and has held coaching roles with the Rattlers and his alma mater of Hobart College since his playing career ended. A native of Geneva, N.Y., Warder was an assistant coach on B.J. O’Hara’s staff when Rochester won the first MLL Championship in franchise history in 2008.
IL reported that Major League Lacrosse is expected to make an announcement this week of the long-speculated Dallas franchise. Multiple sources have indicated the Rochester Rattlers will be relocating there. That initial report is below.
According to Inside Lacrosse sister publication the Dallas Business Journal, the announcement is expected to be that Dallas will be the latest city to field an MLL team. The new Dallas team is expected to retain the name and logo of longtime MLL franchise the Rochester Rattlers. The Rattlers have faced numerous challenges — most notably their low attendance numbers — in recent years and have been owned and operated by the league since their return in 2011 after previous ownership moved the team to Toronto in 2009.
Over the past few months, MLL has been taking increasingly serious steps to either move — or shutter completely — the Rochester Rattlers franchise. Reports of the team moving to Dallas were rampant last year, but that deal was rumored to have fallen through at the last moment. On Oct. 13, the league filed for the “Dallas Rattlers” Wordmark with the US Patent and Trade office. Jobs to work for the Dallas MLL franchise have already been listed on popular job-finder website glassdoor.com.
After reaching out to several Rattlers players, IL has learned that the potential move to Dallas would force several players in the Rochester locker room to re-evaluate their playing future. For a team that’s known throughout the league as a tight-knit unit, breaking up the locker room with this sort of move could have far-reaching consequences in terms of player retention. During the league’s Player Movement window, every Rattlers player who was eligible to file for movement did, indeed, do so to explore the market. However, only all-star Midfielder Kyle Denhoff made the move to another team, jumping ship to the Boston Cannons.
Tim Soudan, still the coach of the Rattlers franchise before the announcement, did not know this week if the move was final, but said, “If we had a couple more years at the stadium we might be in the middle of the pack, attendance-wise. If it happens for sure, it would be a shame. We are in the birthplace of Iroquois nation.”.