SAINT PAUL, Minn. – With two training camp sessions in the books, the Minnesota Swarm will begin preseason play this weekend, with back-to-back contests against the Rochester Knighthawks and Toronto Rock.
First up on the schedule is an exhibition game against Rochester on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 6 p.m. CT at The Blue Cross Arena. Minnesota concludes the weekend with a scrimmage against Toronto on Sunday, Dec. 18 at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena.
The Knighthawks are expecting “a packed house” for Saturday night’s contest and Swarm fans can tune into the action by listening to a LIVE radio broadcast on www.sportsradio950espn.com. Rochester defeated the Swarm twice last season – home and away – and finished the regular season at 10-6.
Minnesota did not face the Rock in 2011, but did scrimmage the defending champs in the preseason last year. Swarm Head Coach Mike Lines said that the opportunity to square off against two quality opponents in the preseason from the East Division can only benefit the Swarm as the team prepares for the regular season.
“Getting a shot against these two teams will give us a better perspective at where we need to go,” Lines said. “Eastern clubs have been successful against the West and both of these teams are young – more so with Rochester – they’re going to be a young, fast and quick team. These games are going to give us a pretty good measuring stick as to where we are right now.”
This weekend’s matchups also provide Swarm coaches with one last look at the roster before the team must make its final roster decisions. The Swarm will have to name their final 23-man roster and three practice squad players by the NLL’s deadline on Thursday, Dec. 22. Trimming the team’s roster down to 26 certainly will not be an easy decision for the Swarm’s front office; coaches and players both agreed that this year’s training camp has been the most competitive in team history.
“We’ve got 28 people coming through camp for 26 positions,” Associate General Manager Joe Sullivan said. “Our intention when we started this journey was that we would be going into Rochester with our 26-man roster. These guys have truly made it tough for us.”
Lines added, “The competitive nature is there for the simple fact that no one is safe. The players have all realized that."
Minnesota begins its eighth season of play in the NLL on Saturday, Jan. 14 on the road against the Colorado Mammoth at 8 p.m. CT. The Swarm hosts the Buffalo Bandits on Treasure Island Field at Xcel Energy Center for its home opener on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. CT.
Swarm fans looking to lock up season tickets in 2012 can take advantage of a Buy 2 Get 2 at 50% offer. By purchasing two season tickets at full price, fans can add an additional two tickets for half the cost. Lower level single game tickets can be purchased for as low as $20 to all eight home games by calling 1-888-MN-SWARM or visiting mnswarm.com.