The Vancouver Stealth are leaving Langley.
The National Lacrosse League announced approval of the sale of the Vancouver Stealth to Canucks Sports and Entertainment Monday morning.
The statement posted online said Vancouver’s new NLL team will commence play at Rogers Arena beginning in the 2018-2019 season.
“This is another pivotal moment for the League and we are honoured and thrilled to have the Aquilini family and Canucks Sports & Entertainment leading our Vancouver franchise in one of the most relevant lacrosse communities in North America” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz.
“We are very excited to welcome the National Lacrosse League to Rogers Arena,” said Jeff Stipec, COO, Canucks Sports and Entertainment. “I would like to thank (Stealth owner) Denise Watkins and the Stealth staff for all they have done to establish and develop the NLL in Greater Vancouver.”
“We look forward to continuing to grow the game, both on the floor and in the community. We can’t wait to get to work.”
The Vancouver lacrosse franchise will have a new name, brand and logo to be unveiled in the coming months.
“I’m excited that the game we all love will remain in the Lower Mainland and will have a long term future,” former owner Watkins said in a written statement.
“I’ve always known that my role was that of a builder and caretaker, and we would ultimately transition the team to a larger organization with greater resources. This was truly a heartbreaking decision.”
Jason Winslade from Langley Events Centre issued a statement saying the LEC “is proud to have worked cooperatively with the National Lacrosse League and the Stealth organization to bring the league back to Metro Vancouver … and we look forward to working with the NLL and Canucks Sports and Entertainment to continue to support the franchise, the league, and the growth of the sport in our province.”
The move comes after a disastrous 2018 National Lacrosse League season ended for the Stealth with an 11-10 loss to the Georgia Swarm in the team’s season finale April 28.
The Stealth finished six games back of a post-season berth.
In 2017, the Stealth went 9-9 to finish second in the West Division and earn a home playoff date compared to this season’s 2-16 record.
The National Lacrosse League relocated its Everett franchise to the Langley Event Centre in 2013, changing the team name to the Vancouver Stealth and saying it would be for a minimum of five years.