Knighthawks Relocating to Halifax, Pegula Sports Getting Expansion Team in Rochester

Photo Courtesy of Rochester Knighawks

The NLL and commissioner Nick Sakiewicz have announced some more exciting news as it is now official that the NLL will be coming to Halifax, NS. Credit to Marisa Ingemi for reporting on this last summer as well as this past summer as the rumors have now come full circle. 

The Halifax franchise has been the worst kept secret in lacrosse over the past year. According to many different sources and various media outlets the NLL was ready to announce the franchise last year but the owner they had pulled out practically last minute. All the rumors can be put to rest as the Halifax announcement is finally here. The NLL hasn't announced a team for Halifax but the league has filed for a trademark for Halifax Privateers.

Halifax won't be an expansion franchise as some may have thought. The owner of the Rochester Knigthawks, Curt Styres, will be relocating them from Rochester to Halifax after the 2018-19 season. There was much talk over the summer of Styres wanting to relocate the Knighthawks to Halifax, but it was said that NLL commissioner Nick Sakiewicz didn't want that to happen. Styres application to relocate the franchise to Halifax was approved by the NLL Board of Governors which allowed him to get his wish. Many of the players from the Knighthawks roster will relocate with the team according to the league's press release.

As Styres takes the Knighthawks to Halifax in 2019-20, where they will play under a different team name, the Pegula family will bring a "replacement" franchise to Rochester. It was reported over the summer that Pegula Sports and Entertainment had interest in buying the Knighthawks from Styres as he brought an expansion franchise to Halifax. As it looks Pegula Sports will be bringing what is essentially an expansion / replacement franchise to Rochester. Pegula Sports also owns the NLL's Buffalo Bandits, NFL's Buffalo Bills, and the NHL's Buffalo Sabres. The announcement of Pegula Sports gaining ownership of the Rochester expansion franchise was announced Thursday afternoon. You can watch the announcement on NLLTV.

On Thursday afternoon Pegula Sports announced that the expansion franchise they received will keep the name of the Rochester Knighthawks. Along with keeping the name the history of the Rochester Knigthawks will live on as well. This new Rochester Knighthawks team will be built from the ground up through the expansion draft in 2019 just as the new Halifax franchise. In addition it was also announced that Blue Cross Arena will receive 18 million dollars for renovations that include expansion, new offices, locker rooms, digital enhancements, etc.

The announcements today are just the tip of iceberg in the second wave of Sakiewicz's five year expansion plan for the NLL. There have been reports of the Sand Diego Seals and Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai bringing a team to New York or Brooklyn. There have also been rumors that the owners of the NBA's Golden State Warriors are in line to bring an NLL franchise to the San Francisco Bay Area as their new arena, Chase Arena, finishes construction. The biggest rumor may be the NLL coming back to Boston as they do have trademarks for Boston Shamrocks. When those other expansion franchise will be announced is still up in the air, but expect to hear them sooner rather than later.

Halfiax is just another step in the five year NLL expansion plan and it is great to see how well this timeline is being brought to life. Nick Sakiewicz indeed has the league moving forward in the right direction.