Bayhawks start ball rolling for league's debut in June

They'll open vs. Lizards at Homewood Field

Lacrosse

March 17, 2001|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

The Baltimore Bayhawks and professional outdoor lacrosse arrived yesterday.

The Bayhawks, one of six teams set to kick off the inaugural Major League Lacrosse season this summer, unveiled their logo, introduced some of their talent and moved another day closer to June 7, the day the team will host the Long Island Lizards in the history-making first game right here in Baltimore.

"This is the next step. It's a natural step for the sport," said Gordon Boone, part of the Bayhawks' ownership group. "I grew up playing rec council, high school, college and club and then there was nothing further to do. We have great athletes and now these guys have an option to go forward."

The MLL was formed in February 1999 and appears to have solid footing at the start, with a television contract with FOX Sports Net in place (along with WMAR locally), strong sponsorship and what they believe is an exciting, family-oriented product.

The Bayhawks, coached by Johns Hopkins grad Brian Voelker, will play a 14-game regular season, with home games at Hopkins' Homewood Field.

They have 20 players on their roster now and there will be two more drafts - supplemental and collegiate - and an open tryout before finishing with a 25-man roster.

"We have some great athletes - some big, strong, fast guys - and the nature of the game, playing in the summer, told us we got to get guys who can get up and down the field," said Voelker. "This is a game that's exciting. It's going to be an up-and-down, running type of game."

Said Mark Millon, a Team USA attacker and two-time All-American at Massachusetts: "I just can't wait to get out there. The people involved that have put this all together are just so into it and there's a lot of financial backing."

The positive response at last summer's showcase game at UMBC showed a market for professional outdoor lacrosse. With little advertising or promotion, a crowd of 5,600 showed up to watch some of the world's finest lacrosse players compete in an exhibition.

The league was founded by Jake Steinfeld, CEO of Body by Jake Enterprises.

"It's the best players in the world," said Bayhawks co-owner David Pivec. "Up at the [league] news conference in New York last week, I think Jake said it best: `Where do you have an opportunity to start a league with the best players in the world?'"

Tickets for league games will range from $10 to $20, with the Bayhawks aiming to sell 3,500 season tickets for home games at Homewood Field, which can hold nearly 10,000.

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