Mohegan Sun Casino Buys Half of Philly Wings, Moves Team
The Philadelphia Wings are for now, no longer.
The National Lacrosse League and Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority announced Wednesday at a press conference in Uncasville, Conn., that the Mohegan Sun casino has purchased half of the Wings franchise, and a team under a new name and logo will play at the casino starting in December.
The NLL Board of Governors approved the relocation and transfer of controlling ownership to the MTGA. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed but the Hartford Courant reported that the investment by Mohegan was approximately $1.5 million the average worth of league teams. The Courant said the other is half is still owned by Wings owner Mike French. French, in a press release from Mohegan Sun, was identified as team president and co-owner.
The Mohegan Tribe, which operates Mohegan Sun, also owns the WNBA's Connecticut Sun and operates Mohegan Sun Arena with a seating capacity of 7,700 for NLL lacrosse. The team marks the second current NLL ownership group of Native American descent, joining the Rochester Knighthawks group led by Curt Styres.
"On behalf of the entire NLL, we are proud to welcome the Mohegan Tribe as owners, further re-connecting our league with the rich roots of the game," said NLL Commissioner George Daniel. "We are also excited about the prospects of bringing the NLL to Connecticut and greater New England for the 2015 season."
"The Mohegan Tribe is thrilled to be associated with a game with centuries-old roots with the Eastern Woodland Indians," Kevin Brown "Red Eagle" said. "By bringing the lacrosse team to our reservation land, we are not only creating a tie with the past, but bringing the game into an exciting future with our top-notch sports and entertainment team. We are aiming to create a team and community spirit to match what we have been able to achieve with the Connecticut Sun."
The team's current roster will remain intact.
"We are equally excited about partnering with Mohegan Sun and the MTGA," French said. "The New England market for lacrosse for both men and women has been expanding at a phenomenal pace. We have a great nucleus of proven players, strong leadership in our locker room and a very experienced coaching staff. We look forward to bringing all of this energy to Mohegan Sun Arena."
The team will be a member of the NLL East Division, joining the Buffalo Bandits, Minnesota Swarm, Knighthawks and Toronto Rock. The Calgary Roughnecks, Colorado Mammoth, Edmonton Rush and Vancouver Stealth play in the NLL West.
The Wings have existed as a franchise since 1986, as one of the original four franchises in the then-Eagle Pro Box Lacrosse League. There appears to be an open door for a return, but they are on their way north to Connecticut.
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