The Vancouver Stealth will soon have a new foe with San Diego set to become the 10th team in the National Lacrosse League.
The yet-to-be named team will begin play in December 2018 and will use the Valley View Casino Center as their home venue.
The San Diego squad is owned by Joseph Tsai — a 53-year-old businessman and former member of the Yale University lacrosse team — and will operate under Tsai Sports & Entertainment.
“I have a strong passion for lacrosse and look forward to bringing the NLL to San Diego,” Tsai said in a press release on Wednesday (Aug. 30).
“Our team is committed to creating a fan-first experience and to being an integral part of the local community.”
“Joe’s passion for lacrosse and his vision for our newest team is very exciting and along with the explosive growth in the south west, it’s the perfect time for the NLL to come to the great city of San Diego ,” said NLL commissioner Nick Sakiewicz.
Stealth president and general manager Doug Locker is excited about adding a new opponent.
“It is awesome for us to have another team in the west, even better to have a team in our time zone,” he said.
“I think it sets the stage for some potential great west coast rivalries.”
San Diego would join the Stealth, Calgary Roughnecks, Colorado Mammoth and Saskatchewan Rush in the West Division.
The East Division already has five teams — the Buffalo Bandits, Toronto Rock, Georgia Swarm, New England Black Wolves and Rochester Knighthawks.
There is still talk about more expansion with speculation that Philadelphia could return to the league. The Philadelphia Wings became the New England Black Wolves following the 2014 season.
There has also long been talk about returning to Edmonton, the former home of the Saskatchewan Rush, among other expansion targets.
The NLL has since relocated their league head office from New York to just outside Philadelphia.
But as for what the expansion — and specifically the expansion draft — will mean to the Stealth roster moving forward, Locker said that is a decision for a later date.
Some teams may make moves ahead of this season to avoid losing players, but Locker is not of that mindset.
“I want to play this year year for this year and then we will make our plans after that,” he said.
“(Losing players) is a small price to pay for growing the league,” he said. “Every team is going to share the same pain.