NLL makes it official, as Black Wolves make the move to Albany

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Vickie Fulkerson, The Day, New London, Conn.
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Feb. 23—National Lacrosse League commissioner Nick Sakiewicz called Tuesday "a bittersweet day for the league and our sport," as the NLL announced the relocation of the New England Black Wolves from Mohegan Sun Arena to Albany.

The news was first reported Monday by the Albany Times Union and confirmed to The Day by several sources.

The team will be known for the immediate future as Albany NLL but will facilitate a naming and branding contest for fans across the Capital Region, with the new name and logo to be revealed in April. The team will compete beginning with the 2021-22 season at the Times Union Center.

The Mohegan Tribe sold its majority share in the team to the ownership group of Capital Region NLL, led by former collegiate All-American and NLL alumnus Oliver Marti. The group also includes Sol Kumin, co-owner of 2020 Kentucky Derby winner Authentic.

Black Wolves minority owners Mike French, Brad Brewster and Ted Goldthorpe will retain their stake and join the team in Albany.

"We want to first thank our colleagues at Mohegan Sun for all the positive work they have done building the franchise in New England," Sakiewicz said in a press release. "We are also very excited to welcome to the league an amazing ownership group with significant success and experience in both the financial investment industry and lacrosse, led by Oliver Marti."

"We are proud to have worked side-by-side with the Black Wolves players, coaches and staff," Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment CEO Mario Kontomerkos said in the release. "Their performance on the field has translated into positive growth in ticket sales and brand awareness across New England, but it is their leadership and commitment as ambassadors in our community that will be missed most."

Formerly the Philadelphia Wings, the Black Wolves arrived at Mohegan Sun prior to the 2014-15 season and spent six years there. In 2020, the Wolves were 8-3 and in first place in the NLL's East Division when the remainder of the season was canceled due to the coronavirus prior to what would have made their fifth straight trip to the playoffs.

The team is coached by Glenn Clark.

This gives New York four of 14 NLL teams, with Albany joining the New York Riptide (located on Long Island), Buffalo Bandits and Rochester Knighthawks.

v.fulkerson@theday.com