The Minnesota Swarm of the National Lacrosse League today announced that the team is relocating to the metro-Atlanta area for the 2016 NLL season.
The franchise will be named the Georgia Swarm and has agreed in principle on a lease agreement to play its home games at The Arena at Gwinnett Center (Duluth, Ga.) in Gwinnett County, which is located 25 minutes northeast of Atlanta.
“Today is an exciting day as we open a new chapter in team history,” Swarm Owner John Arlotta said. “The sport of lacrosse is growing at a rapid pace in Georgia and we’re thrilled to bring the fastest game on two feet at the professional level to The Arena at Gwinnett Center. With its high-scoring nature, and gameplay which resembles hockey and basketball in many ways, the NLL is enjoyable for lacrosse and non-lacrosse fans alike, and is great family entertainment.”
“Lacrosse is a great sport and it will add another dimension to family entertainment at Gwinnett Center and in metro-Atlanta as well,” said Joseph Dennis, general manager of Gwinnett Center. “We are excited to have the National Lacrosse League as a tenant team in The Arena for years to come.”
“The Arena at Gwinnett Center is a beautiful arena and a wonderful location for our franchise and we really appreciate the support of the arena and the county commissioners,” Swarm Co-Owner and President Andy Arlotta said.
The Swarm is currently comprised with one of the fastest and most athletic rosters in the NLL, which features young stars Miles Thompson (‘14 Co-Tewaaraton recipient, UAlbany), Jordan MacIntosh (Gold Medalist, Team Canada ‘14), Joel White (2-time NCAA champion, Syracuse University), Johnny Powless(3-time NLL champion), Shayne Jackson (‘15 team leader in scoring), Kiel Matisz (‘12 No. 3 overall pick) as well as veterans Callum Crawford (team’s all-time leading scorer) and Mitch Belisle (‘14 U.S. Men’s National Team Member).
This coming fall, the Swarm will hold a league-high four first-round draft picks in the 2015 NLL Draft with selection Nos. 1, 3, 5 and 6. This year’s draft class is highly regarded as one of the best in recent memory and features the NCAA’s all-time division-I points leader, University at Albany’s Lyle Thompson (Miles’ younger brother).
“On behalf of the entire NLL, we are excited about coming to Georgia,” NLL Commissioner George Daniel said. "NLL Lacrosse is an action packed, high energy spectacle unlike anything the fans of metro Atlanta have ever seen.”
During their 11 seasons in the NLL, the Swarm has been heavily involved in the lacrosse community and received numerous awards for its dedication and time devoted to growing the sport. The team is looking forward to continuing its efforts now in Georgia.
“It’s always been our mission to help grow and aid the sport of lacrosse as much as we can,” (Andy) Arlotta said. “We’re excited to introduce ourselves to members of both the local lacrosse and business community in the coming weeks.”
The Swarm’s application to relocate to Georgia has been approved by the NLL.
Fans can receive updates about the franchise by visiting www.GeorgiaSwarm.com and team’s social media accounts: @GeorgiaSwarmLAX on Twitter, Georgia Swarm on Facebook and @GeorgiaSwarmLAX on Instagram. The team will host a press conference this summer at The Arena at Gwinnett Center to introduce management and players to local media members and fans.
Information regarding 2016 tickets will be available online in the near future. To sign up for ticket updates, please visit www.GeorgiaSwarm.com
Known as the fastest sport on two feet, lacrosse has seen its participation numbers skyrocket across the country over the last decade. Indoor lacrosse – also known as box lacrosse -- is played inside the confines of an ice hockey rink, with glass and rink boards intact and the playing surface consists of green turf. The NLL combines the physical play of hockey with the high scoring, fast pace and play-making style of basketball. Teams on average combine to score a total of 25 goals during an NLL game, and each team features five runners (forwards and defenseman) and a goaltender on the floor. For more information about the gameplay, visit Lax 101.
NLL teams each play an 18-game regular season schedule (nine home and nine away) that starts in early January, followed by the Champion's Cup Playoffs in May. All games are played on the weekends.
About the NLL
The National Lacrosse League (NLL) is North America's professional indoor lacrosse league featuring the best players in the world. Founded in 1986, the NLL ranks third in average attendance for professional indoor sports worldwide behind only the NHL and NBA. The league is comprised of nine franchises across the U.S. and Canada. The 2016 NLL season will mark the league's 30th year. For more information, visit NLL.com and find the NLL on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
About Gwinnett Center
Just minutes outside of Atlanta, Gwinnett Center’s 80-acre lakefront campus can accommodate a variety of events including concerts, performances, meetings, trade shows, conventions, banquets, and celebrations. The multipurpose campus includes an amazing 13,000 seat arena and a 702-seat performing arts center, as well as 23 versatile meeting rooms, a 50,000 square foot exhibit hall and a 21,600 square foot grand ballroom. Gwinnett Center is a beautifully landscaped and architecturally stunning facility with an award-winning outdoor private garden, soaring atriums and modern angles, which provide a beautiful backdrop for any event. The campus, operated by the Gwinnett Convention and Visitors Bureau, distinguishes itself by hosting a diverse range of events, including the Gwinnett Gladiators, Georgia Swarm, Carrie Underwood, Justin Timberlake, Menopause the Musical, Japan Fest, Vicente Fernandez, Red Hot Chili Peppers, George Strait, Eric Clapton, NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championship, Enrique Iglesias & Pitbull, Orange Conference, Home By Dark, Beyoncé and more. For a full list of events, please visit www.gwinnettcenter.com.
For media inquiries, please email Alec Schimke -- Director of Media & Lacrosse Relations – at firstname.lastname@example.org or (651) 785-5577.