Knighthawks Move to Halifax, Rochester Gets a New Team
In press conferences today, the National Lacrosse League announced that Halifax, NS is gaining a franchise and that a new expansion franchise will be forming in Rochester, NY.
The Halifax franchise, which is moving from Rochester, will play in the Scotiabank Centre in the 2019-2020 season, sharing the facility with the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL.
Owner and General Manager Curt Styres has apparently been looking for a new location for some time and finally decided that Halifax was the place to take his team. Scotiabank Centre is wrapping up a series of renovations, in time for the Mooseheads to take the ice this year, so the Halifax lacrosse franchise will be moving to a facility that is looking fresh and new.
Seating capacity at the Scotiabank Centre is 10,595, just a hair lower than the 11,215 capacity in Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, but still higher than the 9,411 league average in the 2018 season. For its part, Rochester only drew 6,760 fans per game in 2018, its lowest average attendance in the last decade.
The Knighthawks entered the NLL in 1995, set a league record by reaching the playoffs in each of their first 13 seasons, won the championship five times, and were the runners-up in the NLL finals last season. Consequently, Halifax is getting a team that is not only competitive, but one that is among the elite franchises in NLL history.
Shortly after the Halifax announcement, the league announced that Rochester will be receiving a new expansion franchise to replace the current Knighthawks, so there will be no break in the lacrosse action in that city. Under new owners Terry and Kim Pegula, the Knighthawks name will live on in Blue Cross Arena. The Pegulas already own the NLL’s Buffalo Bandits, as well as the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, Rochester Americans, and Buffalo Beauts.
It was also announced that there will be more than $18 million in upgrades at Blue Cross Arena, beginning with a new scoreboard that will be erected in the next few weeks. So the new ‘Hawks will be entering a building that has also seen some significant improvements to its fan experience.
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