[Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest entry from Jared Buccola — that’s him at right. Back in June he previewed the uniforms for the Premier Lacrosse League. Today he’s back with a look at the National Lacrosse League, whose season starts tomorrow. Enjoy!— PL]
By Jared Buccola
The National Lacrosse League (NLL), which was founded in 1986, is a professional box lacrosse league consisting of 15 teams across the United States and Canada. Unlike the Premier Lacrosse League, the NLL follows the more traditional city-based model, with home and away games throughout the schedule. In addition box lacrosse is a completely different sport than field lacrosse, which is what you would see in the PLL and NCAA. Box lacrosse is like hockey — six vs. six (including a goalie), in a turf covered, enclosed rink. Box lacrosse is known for up and down action, close quarters, and heavy contact!
In terms of uniform design, box lacrosse jerseys will look familiar to hockey fans. In addition, a unique NLL trend is what I call an “all over design” on the helmets. Buffalo, Halifax, and New York provide good examples of this.
The following team-by-team breakdown does not include special holiday uniforms, like for St. Patrick’s Day or Christmas, but is otherwise pretty thorough. Ready? Here we go.
The Firewolves have three monotone uniforms — black (shown above), maroon, and white. The maroon and black sets share the same template, with thin piping on the shoulder yoke and down the sides, and chevron stripes on the shorts and arms. The white set differs, as it has maroon side panels and shoulder yoke, and more traditional gold/maroon/gold arm stripes. The maroon and black sets use the Firewolf logo, while the white set uses the team’s logo and wordmark crest.
A unique diagonal pattern sets the Bandits apart from the rest of the league. The home uniforms (shown above) are split between orange and black, with a white diagonal stripe pattern across the chest highlighting the team’s wordmark. Their away uniforms use a different layout, highlighted by an orange shoulder yoke and diagonal stripes across the bottom half of the jersey. Both jerseys use an alliteration-inspired wordmark, with a bandana and cowboy hat-topped “S.”
Calgary keeps it simple with a black/white/grey color scheme. Their home black (shown above) and away white have a solid-colored jersey, with large grey arm stripes, trimmed in black and white. A fun detail is the rivets on the back numbers. Their alternate grey uniforms have a black horizontal stripe that encases the wordmark, while the home and aways use the wordmark/logo crest.
Nothing says Colorado like prehistoric creatures and the Rocky Mountains! Their home uniforms (shown above) are maroon with a black yoke and side panel, while the shorts are black, all separated by white mountain graphics. The aways use the same recognizable layout, with maroon-accented Rocky Mountains on a white jersey. Both uniforms use the same stylized “M” logo that morphs into Mammoth tusks.
Georgia lands on the plain side of the design realm. They wear solid blue jerseys over blue pants with yellow, blocky horizontal stripes (shown above). The only thing that differs for the road white jerseys is the addition of a blue side panel. A winged stinger crest and “Georgia” wordmark are used on both jerseys.
The Thunderbirds’ home uniforms (shown above) are mono-purple with white/orange/white stripes on the sleeves and a unique feather stripe on the side of the shorts. The home design also uses a Thunderbird-head logo, while the away uniforms take a page from the New York Rangers book, with a diagonal wordmark extending down across the chest.
Las Vegas Desert Dogs
mono-black uniform (shown above) with white trim. The road uniform will probably be the inverse of this design. The logo consists of an outline of a dog, with crossed lacrosse sticks behind it and “LV” initials on its forehead. When you consider the bright colors of Vegas, it’s kind of a letdown for this team to go with black and white. This hat with a colored logo was posted on their Instagram, but none of those colors seem to be used in the uniform design.
New York Riptide
With a similar color scheme to their Island-dwelling neighborhood fisherman neighbors, the Riptide have a mono-blue home uniform (shown above), accented by teal/blue/orange stripes, and some wave-like accents. The away uniforms are bright white with the same stripes and wave accents as the home set. Both sets use a circular wave crest with the Riptide wordmark.
Panther City Lacrosse Club
home uniforms (shown above) and white with purple trim on the road. Both jerseys sport a horizontal stripe with a panther’s-head logo and a Mission-like architectural design across the top.
home uniform (shown above) with grey/red side panels and grey wing graphics over the shoulders. The away uniforms have the same basic design in mono-white. Both jerseys feature a stylized “W” crest.
mono-black set (shown above) with gold/green/gold stripes and a winged “R” crest. The away uniform is white with a hawk crest instead.
San Diego Seals
mono-purple Seals uniform (shown above). Unlike most NLL teams, the Seals do not have a white jersey, opting instead for a grey away uniform. They also have a black uniform, but let’s pretend we didn’t see that one. They do get extra points for the three-pronged crown design on the helmet. Both the home and away uniforms use a crowned seal’s face on a shield, while the alternate black sports a zoomed-in, outlined version of just the seal’s face.
mono-black uniform (shown above) has thin green trim but not a lot of other contrast. They’re another team that doesn’t have a white uni, as their away uniforms are mono-green. Both jerseys use a script “R” logo as their crest.
Toronto’s home uniforms (shown above) are blue and red, separated by a wavy, stylized maple leaf design. The away uniform uses the same layout, with white over blue, separated by the same wavy design. Both jerseys feature “Toronto Rock Lacrosse” lettering on the chest, stacked over a maple leaf.
The Warriors double up on monotone designs. The home black uniforms have grey and gold stripes on the arms and shorts. Pretty much a mirror image for the away white uniforms, with black and gold stripes on the arms and shorts. Both jerseys use the same crest, a layered “V” and “W” inside a shield.
That’s it. Enjoy the NLL season!
The Buffalo Bandits is one of my favorite designs in all of sports. Rock is really well done too.
I will say this: while “Bandits” might not be the most original name ever, I do appreciate that they didn’t try to cram an image of a buffalo into their look since that wouldn’t really fit the name (Sabres, I’m looking in your direction).
Perhaps a fever dream, but did Boston have a team in this league?
Boston had a team in the outdoor pro league, MLL, the Boston Cannons. The Cannons joined the Premier Lacrosse League (last season?), which barnstorms and teams have no city affiliation.
A loooooong time ago, Boston had the Blazers. Detroit had the Turbos, Pittsburgh had the Bulls, and I believe Baltimore had a team. These were all back in the MILL days.
There was also a second incarnation of the Blazers a bit more recently (about 2009 or so).
Two different versions of the Boston Blazers have come and gone from the NLL. The most recent iteration of the franchise moved to Connecticut, and eventually to Albany. It’s frustrating that New England can’t seem to support a team but New York State has four.
In high school (early 2000s) I went to a ton of Philladephia Wings games and I maintain that NLL is the best entertainment value in live sports. I wish more people would get into it and it would get a bigger following because it’s a great sport and just incredible fun in person.
Their 90s teams were great. His name slips my mind but I remember they had the center who dominated faceoffs. Those were fun times. Played box lacrosse a bit and loved every minute of it. As a football player, it gave me an extra outlet to throw my weight around.
With that being said, lacrosse uniforms have never done anything for me. While they have improved tremendously, they still just look so “rec league”. Guys in gym shorts and an oversized shirt with an overdesigned logo or just way too busy. There are college club teams with better uniforms than the NLL. I’d like to see more city names involved. Buffalo has a nice uniform but it also feels very hockey like.
It was a few years after you but “thrillin'” Mark Millon and Gary Gait were the stars when I was going. I think their goalie was also pretty good Dallas something.
Agree, it is a good time. I’m not a lacrosse fan at all, but when I went to a game in the past I was entertained. It takes time for these things to change, but with more kids playing, especially now as the dangers of football injuries become more known, you’ll start to see lacrosse as a spectator sport grow. Could be a while, but eventually it will become a “big league”.
What I am wondering is when indoor soccer gets bigger. I think Americans would embrace that. I am bored to tears by standard soccer, but have enjoyed the few indoor matches I have attended. I guess the international popularity of soccer will always sort of pull that along domestically, even if the indoor version is more suited to the existing tastes of the general US sports fan.
More fun than indoor soccer?????
As a kid growing up in the late 80s/early 90s indoor soccer was huge! We had the Hershey Impact who then became the Harrisburg Heat. It was a weekly event to have Mom take all of us to the games. They were so fun as a kid. It WAS the thing to do for families at that time. We also have the Hershey Bear and AHL hockey offers an incredible family fan experience and the cost is so affordable all things considered.
Agreed. The St. Louis Steamers regularly drew capacity crowds of about 10,000 to the old St. Louis Arena for MISL games. Part of that was attributable to their policy of recruiting heavily from local high schools and St. Louis University back when St. Louis was a bit of an amateur soccer mecca. But part of it was the popularity of indoor soccer for about a decade.
Solid value for your entertainment buck.
Find it interesting that MLL can get by with ads that are essentially the same size as what NBA/NHL/MLB have. I know that the big leagues get more revenue with more eyes on their sport, but presumably if those big leagues “need” that revenue, MLL needs it far more, and thus would have uniforms that look more like WNBA or European sports with regards to ad size and placement.
Here is the new uniform design for the Vancouver Warriors this year. Different short striping and a more gold helmet. Black uniform striping has always been gold and white trim.
Interesting thing about players in winter pro NLL. Many of them play a summer Senior “A” lacrosse season in Canada. The two Senior “A” leagues have teams that have really long histories. Teams with a much longer history than NLL teams. Worth checking out some of the cool logos and uniforms In the Western Lacrosse Association (BC-based) and Major Series Lacrosse (Ontario-based) if curious.
New Westminster Salmonbellies have quite the history – going back to 1888.
Have 24 Mann Cup titles:
The vintage Queen’s Park Arena with the wooden floor adds to it as well. I have the opportunity to go to both as I live in Vancouver. I prefer going to a New Westminster Salmonbellies game. The experiences are different but the talent level is much the same. A bucket list item if a lacrosse fan for the experience.
Yes you are right, the NLL is predominantly Canadian players. There are also a large number of them who play in the PLL.
Box is very different than field, but many US players play both growing up (especially in cold weather environments like Upstate NY, Iroquois territory, New England, upper Midwest, etc).
Box players are prevalent and evident when you watch NCAA lax games (all divisions). You can see bigger guys playing physical inside and around the crease. While traditional field players are often looking for more space to operate trying to isolate and dodge from midfield or X
I miss the Minnesota Swarm. I thought it was clever to have a mosquito (the alternate “State Bird”) as the mascot. I remember going to downtown St. Paul to see some games. It is a bummer they moved to Georgia.
Philadelphia Wings was also a team name back in the old NLL of the mid 1970’s.
A bit different look.
Too many black uniforms in this league. And a black home team against a white road team makes for a really dull game uniformwise.
Really bad uniforms almost all the way around. The only 2 decent ones IMO are Georgia and Halifax. The rest are different shades of putrid.
One interesting thing about Calgary, they play on “Westjet Field” in the Saddledome, and the turf is the same colour as the Westjet corporate colours.
Normally I’d comment about the intrusion of advertising, but the NLL is a shoestring operation (unlike MLB or NHL) and I don’t think they deserve grief for that.
10 of 15 teams have black as a main color??
Too intimidating for me.
Jared’s Uni Watch t-shirt is pretty great!
Thanks, it’s an oldie but a goodie!
I think I have two comments stuck in the spam filter?
We know an NHL team will not bring back the Cooperalls for a game at least.
Probably safe to say as well NLL teams won’t bring back spandex shorts!
Some of these logos are OK but I see too many side panels on these uniforms and for sleeved jerseys that is a no go for me. Only basketball jerseys can have colored side panels that go with the shorts.
that Seals logo is fabulous. Seriously well done
Agreed, luckily they just happen to be my favorite team as i’m originally from San Diego. They have a secondary logo that they use as a primary on the youth program’s jersey that is even better in my opinion. It’s a full, swimming seal with a lacrosse stick and crown ::chef’s kiss::
Here’s the youth team jersey that uses the secondary logo