Lacrosse Pur­poses

THE VAN­COU­VER CANUCKS OR­GA­NI­ZA­TION AC­QUIRED A NA­TIONAL LACROSSE LEAGUE TEAM IN JUNE. CAN IT TURN THE AIL­ING FRAN­CHISE AROUND?

BC Business Magazine - - The Informer -

Canucks Sports & En­ter­tain­ment is hop­ing that its pur­chase of the Van­cou­ver Stealth lacrosse club will bring more fans to Rogers Arena on days when the hockey team is off. With the re­branded Van­cou­ver War­riors start­ing play at their new home in De­cem­ber, that re­mains to be seen.

Al­though it's Canada's na­tional sport, lacrosse wasn't quite work­ing at the Lan­g­ley Events Cen­tre. The Stealth posted the worst aver- age at­ten­dance among Na­tional Lacrosse League teams in 2017-18 en route to a 2–16 record that put it last in the stand­ings. In five years in Lan­g­ley, the team fin­ished above the bot­tom in at­ten­dance just once. That sea­son, it posted the sec­ond-worst mark.

But Canucks chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Jeff Stipec thinks lacrosse can find an au­di­ence at Rogers. “There's five teams in the NHL that have lacrosse teams, and they made it re­ally easy for us to un­der­stand the busi­ness model,” Stipec says. “We spent a lot of time with Cal­gary and Colorado, and they were great part­ners in shar­ing with us how they've turned it into a suc­cess. We like that NHL/NLL model, where you can have that same en­gine driv­ing two busi­nesses.”

Stipec even sees po­ten­tial for the com­pany's hockey op­er­a­tions to learn some­thing from the new fran­chise.

“I think we're go­ing to try some wild things in lacrosse, and we'll see how it works and see if it would work at the hockey games,” he says, not­ing that lacrosse is a grass­roots sport. “But we're go­ing to push the en­ve­lope. In Cal­gary, their line is `Come for the party, stay for the game.' The price point is at­trac­tive–in that $25 range, a lit­tle cheaper for groups. I think we'll be able to at­tract a lot of peo­ple that'll say, hey, let's head over to Rogers for a game on Fri­day or Sat­ur­day night.” –N.C.

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