The Rochester Rattlers, a professional lacrosse team from New York, will relocate to Texas. As rumored, the team will be rebranded as the Dallas Rattlers for the 2018 MLL season, and will play its home games at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, the Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters and practice facility, and the site of the 2017 MLL Championship Game.
David Gross, head of Major League Lacrosse (MLL), the outdoor professional lacrosse league, confirmed that they've been interested in North Texas for quite some time. "We believe this relocation will make the franchise stronger than ever and will bring the highest level of lacrosse to a rapidly growing hotbed for the sport," he said in a release.
Longtime sports executive Bill Goren will be president of the team.
Bill Warder will serve as head coach, replacing Tim Soudan, who is stepping down. An assistant coach with the Rattlers since 2007, Warder played in MLL in 2001 and has held coaching roles with the Rattlers and his alma mater of Hobart College. He was an assistant coach when Rochester won the first MLL Championship in franchise history in 2008.
"Bill brings incredible passion and knowledge of MLL and will be a strong asset for the club," Gross said.
Last season, the Rattlers went 8-6 and qualified for the postseason for the eighth time in franchise history. They were eliminated by the Outlaws in the MLL Semi-Finals, 15-8.
New Balance will continue to own the team and the Rattlers will be the first MLL franchise in the state of Texas and the only team to play in the Central Time Zone.
The Rattlers were managed by David and Wendy Dworkin during the 2017 season and returned to play at Capelli Sport Stadium. They are one of the six original franchises that began play in MLL in 2001 and won the Steinfeld Trophy in 2008 with a 16-6 win over the Outlaws for the first Championship in franchise history.
The team relocated to Toronto before the 2009 season, but resumed play under the Rochester Rattlers brand in 2011 when the Chicago Machine relocated to Rochester.
Ford Center is a 12,000-seat indoor facility on the campus of The Star that hosts the Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters and serves as the team's practice facility. It opened in August 2016 and hosted the 2017 MLL Championship Game that saw the Ohio Machine win the first league title in franchise history.
The facility serves as a focal point to the sports and entertainment district with more than 15 restaurants, the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor Walk, an Omni Hotel, and the Tostitos Championship Plaza.
The Rattlers will be the seventh professional sports franchise in Frisco, which is home to the Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters, the Dallas Stars corporate headquarters and practice rink, FC Dallas of Major League Soccer, the Texas Rangers Double-A affiliate, the Frisco Roughriders, the Texas Revolution of Champions Indoor Football, and the Texas Legends, the G-League affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks.
Frisco also hosts FBS football’s Frisco Bowl, the FCS Championship Game for Division I college football, and the Conference USA Basketball Championships.
Major League Lacrosse (MLL), the premier professional outdoor lacrosse league, was founded by Jake Steinfeld and is headquartered in Boston. MLL has continued to lead the sport of lacrosse into the mainstream of competitive team sports since 2001. The league is made up of nine teams: The Atlanta Blaze, Boston Cannons, Charlotte Hounds, Chesapeake Bayhawks, Dallas Rattlers, Denver Outlaws, Florida Launch, New York Lizards, and Ohio Machine.