SASKATCHEWAN – The Saskatchewan Rush of the National Lacrosse League has been sold to the Priestner Sports Corporation. The announcement came last month as it was noted that Priestner Sports has made another franchise evolve and improve over a seven year span.
Priestner Sports is also the owner of the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades since 2013, a major junior hockey team in the Eastern Division of the WHL, whom purchased the franchise from Bruce Urban.
Blades president-GM Colin Priestner will be the Rush’s governor, while Rush GM Derek Keenan will continue to run the lacrosse team’s operations.
“This is a transitional and progressive day for our league and the sport of lacrosse, as we welcome Priestner Sports to the NLL and thank Bruce Urban and his team for years of hard work and success both in the community and on the field of play,” NLL commissioner Nick Sakiewicz said in a press release.
“The Rush have been, and will continue to be, a model franchise not just for the National Lacrosse League but for all of sports in North America and are key to our continued growth and business success as we head toward our 2021-22 season this fall.”
The Rush has been based in Saskatoon since the 2016 NLL season. Previously, the franchise was based in Edmonton.
The Priestners have owned the Blades since 2013.
“First and foremost, we must thank Mr. Bruce Urban for allowing us the privilege of carrying on the Rush legacy,” Priestner said in the release. “We recognize all he’s done to bring some of the best lacrosse in the world to Saskatoon, while giving back to both the city and its surrounding areas.
“We welcome the challenge of maintaining the winning tradition he established here, while pushing ourselves to find new and interesting ways to grow the game and the Rush fanbase — which, in our humble opinion, is already the best in the league.”
According to the release, the Priestners weren’t actively pursuing the deal to by the Rush. Instead, the sale was a result of what the release said was “a series of friendly conversations between Bruce Urban and the Priestner family over the past year.”
The Rush has won two NLL titles — in 2016 and 2018 — since moving to Saskatoon, both near-recent victories.
The Priestners said they won’t be making any changes to season tickets, saying seats belonging to season-ticket holders remain on hold.