FireWolves hope to build momentum, hype ahead of National Lacrosse League season

This past weekend, Capital Region lacrosse fanatics fueled up with three days of Premier Lacrosse League action at the Tom & Mary Casey Stadium in Albany.

Representatives from the Albany FireWolves were in attendance all weekend with a booth in the PLL fan zone, spending three days fueling the hype for the team’s market debut with the National Lacrosse League. in theaters later this year.

It’s another step in the process of connecting the team with the community which FireWolves president George Manias says has continued since it was announced that the New England Black Wolves would be brought to Albany and s ‘would set up at the Times Union Center.

Manias has experience building a brand for a team in the downtown Albany arena. He was president and CEO of the Albany Empire of the now defunct Arena Football League – although he was not involved in the current embodiment of the Empire which won the National Arena League title over the week. -end last – and hope the FireWolves can also capture the excitement of Capital Region sports fans with a brand of fast-paced, high-energy indoor lacrosse.

“There’s a reason the PLL comes to Albany every year now, and it’s because of the grassroots lacrosse program that takes place here in the Capital Region,” Manias said. “We definitely knew lacrosse was a growing sport here, but its magnitude really showed in the PLL games. . . it was our target market, and we were really successful in differentiating ourselves.

After the team’s last chance to connect with local fans over the PLL weekend, the FireWolves announced earlier this week that their home opener will be on December 18 at 7 p.m., after a trip two weeks to start the season.

It was the popularity of Albany’s men’s lacrosse program and the success of the PLL in its debut at Casey Stadium in 2019 that played the biggest role in convincing the FireWolves’ owning team to buy the club and win it. ‘bring to Albany.

“There is a fan base that is geared towards outdoor play,” Manias said. “We still have some work to do to promote indoor play, club play. I think once people realize what we are it’s a quality lacrosse brand – the majority of players who play in PLL also play in our league – and we think it’s even a better one. spectator sport because you bring it indoors, time is not a factor, you put it on a [field the size of a] hockey rink, so you condense it and it’s faster.

Manias hopes to create an atmosphere of “quality fan engagement” inside and outside the arena on match days, but the most important part of the product will be putting a championship-caliber team on the field. ground.

That work goes to head coach and general manager Glenn Clark, who led the then Black Wolves to the playoffs in each of their first five seasons in New England and placed the club at the top of the league table. the NLL when the league was shut down by the novel coronavirus pandemic in March 2020.

By the time the 2021-22 season kicks off, it will be almost two years since the league last played, but with around 75% of the roster still in the fold, Clark expects to be competitive. right off the bat – although the whole NLL has a bit of rust to shake off.

“We were really driving at that time [in 2020]Clark said. “Every weekend is a challenge, and it will be the same [this year], but we’re going to be one of the teams that should be in the mix for a championship.

Among the players expected to lead the way for the FireWolves, two were on the pitch last weekend for the PLL teams, Jules Heningburg and Joe Nardella, as well as former UAlbany star Joe Resetarits.

“It’s an entertaining group with a lot of different personalities,” Clark said. “I think people are going to be excited once they see them go.”

FireWolves season ticket packages are on sale now, and individual game tickets are expected to be available for purchase by September 1. Most, if not all, of the home games will take place on Saturday night, Manias said.

During this time, the club will continue to connect with the community at the local level. They have successfully hosted a summer youth program for Junior FireWolves, which will return with the start of the season with player participation, and the FireWolves will continue to be present at local lacrosse camps and demonstrations.

“Everything,” Manias said, “now we’re going to focus on letting people know and putting on great entertainment, throwing the party for opening night.”

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