The National Lacrosse League (NLL) will return to action for the 2021-22 season with opening weekend set for December 3-4, 2021 and will welcome a new team as the Panther City Lacrosse Club will be a part of the new West Division.
The following is a team-by-team capsule of each club that will make up the West Division: beginning with the Calgary Roughnecks (5-5, third in West Division 2019-20).
A champion was not crowned in the 2019-20 season due to the pandemic, so the Calgary Roughnecks enter the 2021-22 season as defending champions. The Roughnecks will be adding players from both the 2020 and 2021 drafts into the mix.
Key additions include Nate Wade and Harrison Matsuoka and key losses include Dane Dobbie and Tyson Bell.
Next is the Colorado Mammoth (7-6, second in the west Division 2019-20).
The Mammoth did not get off to a good start in the 2019-20, opening the season by losing six of their first ten games. But a three-game winning streak pushed Colorado over .500 and into contention for a playoff spot. The tide was changing for the Mammoth who traded for right handed forward Tyler Digby from the New York Riptide to bolster the right hand side of the offence. In their last game, they had an impressive comeback against the Knighthawks after starting the game down 7-1.
The loss of captain Dan Coates will hurt the Mammoth defence and leadership in the locker room but provides more opportunities for young players such as Warren Jeffrey and Brett Craig to grow in their careers. The big splash for the Mammoth came when they grabbed Zed Williams from Georgia. Williams hasn’t suited up for the Mammoth yet but has put on an amazing two seasons with the PLL in the meantime.
Key additions for Colorado include Ron John, Zed Williams, and Connor Robinson and key losses include Dan Coates, Jacob Ruest and Will Malcom.
Panther City Lacrosse Club (Expansion Team) will be welcomed in the coming season.
The NLL opened for the Panther City Lacrosse Club in Fort Worth Texas to become the league’s 14th franchise for the 2021-22 season and they will play their home games at 14,000 seat Dickies Arena.
Expansion teams did not fare well in the 2019-20 season and with a tough West Division, it remains to be seen how well Panther City will compete.
The Panthers key additions include Ryan Benesch, Matt Hossack, Phil Caputo, Connor Kelly, Liam Patten, Connor Sellars, Taylor Stuart, Randy Staats and Jeremy Thompson.
San Diego Seals (6-6, third in the West Division 2019-20)
In the last played season the San Diego Seals were in the mix for a post-season berth. They were riding a three-game winning streak that brought their season-ending record to 6-6 and look to bring a championship caliber squad to southern California for the 2021-22 campaign.
The Seals made arguably the biggest splash in the off-season by signing former NLL Most Valuable Player Dane Dobbie as a free agent where he spent his entire career with division rival, Calgary.
The Seals key additions include Dane Dobbie, Tre Leclaire and Mac O’Keefe and their key losses include Connor Fields, Kyle Buchanan, Nick Damude, and Connor Kearnan.
Saskatchewan Rush (7-3, 1st in West Division 2019-20)
The Saskatchewan Rush was a legitimate contender for the NLL title two years ago. They were leading the West Division with a 7-3 record and now they look to recapture their winning ways for the 2021-22 season. Historically, the Rush don’t often pursue other team’s unrestricted free agents but they did fortify their back end with the signing of ten-year veteran defence-men Matt Beers.
There are questions about the Rush’s age and whether their dynasty is reaching an end point with this group of players.
The Rush key additions include: Josh Currier, Matt Beers, Dan Lintner, Bobby Kidd III, and Marshall Powless and their key losses include Connor Robinson, Jeremy Thompson, Matthew Dinsdale, Evan Kirk, and Matt Hossack.
Vancouver Warriors (4-9, fifth in the West Division 2019-20)
This coming season, the Vancouver Warriors hope to make some big strides since the NLL was last in action. The Warriors were sitting in last place in the Western Conference and were in the midst of a four-game losing streak.
The Warriors key additions include Matthew Dinsdale, Reid Bowering, Adam Charalambides, and Brett Mydske and their key losses include Matt Beers, Ian Hawksbee, Joel McCready and Jame Rahe.
This brings the anticipation of the National Lacrosse League’s West Division to be a good watch during the 2021-22 season.