- What: The 2022 National Lacrosse League Season
- Who: The top four favorites to win the 2022 National Lacrosse League Cup
- Where: Various cities in North America
- When: The 2022 season began on December 3rd, 2021, and ends in late spring of 2022
Recognized as the predominant lacrosse league in North America, and the third most popular indoor sport worldwide by average attendance behind only the NHL and NBA, the 2022 NLL season is here and underway. After missing all of the 2021 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the current NLL season will feature a host of action and storylines. The 2019-20 season, the 34th overall in the history of the league, saw the playoffs cut short due to the pandemic but the Saskatchewan Rush made their case in the best in the league with the top seed at the time. Though the New England Black Wolves technically had the best record at the time of the season’s cancellation, they relocated to Albany and rebranded as the FireWolves.
With a season off and more rust than usual accumulating on players’ sticks, the league is ready to bounce back in a big way. Below, we take a deeper dive into who will make a run at the National Lacrosse League Cup and separate themselves from the pack.
|Odds to Win 2022 National Lacrosse League Cup|
|New England Black Wolves||TBA|
The Number One Contender: Buffalo Bandits (Odds: TBA)
Off to a rousing start in the league’s eastern division, the Bandits have paced the league with a 2-0 record to start the year. Led by captain Steve Priolo, the Bandits have a ton of stacked talent on their roster. Buffalo also is under the leadership of head coach John Tavares who is the all-time leading scorer in the history of the NLL and a member of the NLL Hall of Fame as a member of the Bandits. One of the league’s most tenured franchises, the Bandits have won four titles over the course of the franchise’s existence, with their last championship coming back in 2008. However, with a division title crown in 2019, the Bandits could be that much closer to an NLL title in 2022.
Number Two: Halifax Thunderbirds (TBA)
One of the newest organizations in the league, they previously were known as the Rochester Knighthawks, the Thunderbirds have a dynamic defensive set-up. Led by the 2020 NLL Defensive Player of the Year, Graeme Hossack, Halifax was having a great year in 2020 before the suspension of the season. The Thunderbirds would end up finishing with an 8-4 record to wrap up the 2020 NLL season. Off of the field, Halifax is also bolstered by the 2020 Executive of the Year, John Catalano, who has built a roster of athletic and powerful players across the board. Already off to a great start at 2-0, the Thunderbirds are on a path right to the NLL title.
Number three: Saskatchewan Rush (TBA)
Another relatively new organization in the NLL, they relocated to Saskatchewan in 2015, the Rush have already won the Champion’s Cup twice since moving, in 2016 and in 2018. As mentioned above, the Rush were having another solid season in 2020 prior to competition being cut short. Nonetheless, the team was still awarded the 2020 NLL Western Division title. Though they have had a rougher start to begin the year, they still feature a strong roster, especially on defense with the captain of Team Canada, Chris Corbeil, leading the way.
Darkhorse contender: Philadelphia Wings (TBA)
Our final spotlight contender, the Wings are seeking their first NLL title since returning to Philadelphia in 2017. With a fan base that is known as one of the most hostile in the league, Philadelphia certainly has a strong home-field advantage to rely on during the course of the season. Buoyed by a 2-0 start to the season, Philadelphia has drawn even with Buffalo and Halifax for supremacy in the Eastern Division. It remains to be seen though if the Wings can outlast their division mates over the course of a season.
Prediction: In what could be one of the most exciting years in recent NLL history, look for the Thunderbirds to bring a title back to Halifax. Thanks to a strong roster and front office, the Thunderbirds are hitting all the right notes on and off the field.
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