Following a failed attempt to purchase a Canadian Football League franchise, Bruce Urban, president of Western RV Country, spent around $2 million (Canadian) to bring indoor lacrosse to Edmonton.
After more than two months of talks and two days of intense negotiations, National Lacrosse League (NLL) commissioner Jim Jennings announced last week that Urban and Craig Anstead, general manager of the Alberta-based multi-location dealership, were awarded a league franchise for the 2006 season.
Anstead will manage the team’s day-to-day operations and hopes to have a coach and general manager hired by the end of May so the team can prepare for the expansion draft in July. The 2006 regular season begins in January.
Edmonton becomes the third Canadian entry in the now 11-team league, along with Calgary and the Toronto Rock. The league began in 1987 as the four-team Eagle Pro Box Lacrosse League, then became the six-team Major Indoor Lacrosse League in 1988 and the National Lacrosse League in 1997.
Urban’s team will play out of Rexall Place, home arena of the National Hockey League’s Edmonton Oilers.
The first order of business will be naming the team. There’s an Internet contest on the team’s new website: www.edmontonprolacrosse.com. The contest closes May 12, and the winning name will be announced at the NLL Champion’s Cup final featuring Arizona at Toronto on May 14.