As the clock on the Swarm website continues to count down to the next home game against the Buffalo Bandits, it’s actually counting down to something even more amazing… the dawn of a new era in Swarm lacrosse. As the graphic states, it’s the countdown to the first ever nationally televised Swarm game on the Versus Network March 27th.
Swarm Captain Ryan Cousins
As the clock on the Swarm website continues to count down to the next home game against the Buffalo Bandits, it’s actually counting down to something even more amazing… the dawn of a new era in Swarm lacrosse. As the graphic states, it’s the countdown to the first ever nationally televised Swarm game on the Versus Network March 27th. As part of the nine game package the network signed with the National Lacrosse League prior to this season (7 regular season games, the All Star Game and the Champion’s Cup final), the Minnesota Swarm is ready for its close up. “This is an important moment in the history of the National Lacrosse League,” Swarm Owner and President John Arlotta states proudly. “It signifies that the league is beginning to get the recognition we deserve in the sports world… that they are interested and willing to put the NLL on their regular schedule. It also signifies that the league is recognizing that Minnesota has a rapidly developing lacrosse population and that our team is a good one that deserves to be highlighted.”
From the top down, it’s clear this game is the biggest in the seven year history of the team. “It’s always been one of our goals to get this type of exposure for us and the league,” says Swarm Co-Owner and Vice President Andy Arlotta. “It’s a huge step toward growing our brand, our team and our sport throughout the country and especially here in Minnesota.”
Everyone with a stake in the game is thrilled about the national exposure. The game, originally scheduled for 4:00 pm, has been moved up to 1:00 pm to accommodate the live broadcast. The fact that the schedule worked out boosts the serendipitous profile of this game. “The schedule worked out perfectly for us,” says Andy Arlotta. “And it makes me feel so great for the team, the employees, the staff here… everyone. The work that’s gone into building this team and our brand since we bought the team is just amazing. It’s a showcase to the nation what we’ve put together here… let’s show the rest of the country how big lacrosse is here in Minnesota.”
As you can imagine, the entire staff is pulling out all of the stops for this inaugural nationally televised game. Brooke Caines, the Director of Marketing for the Swarm and the steady creative hand behind every in-game element at the Hive has built a typically fabulous show for the Versus audience. “This game’s got it all,” says Caines, whose name should look familiar… she’s married to Swarm Assistant Coach Aime Caines. “It’s Family Day at the Hive (you can even bring your dog!), there’s a Radio Disney Event, a Mascot Halftime Game (the Professor’s personal favorite halftime event), two in-game giveaways, matinee pricing and even special merchandizing. But the best part is that the players’ families who rarely get to see them play can all watch the game on TV. That means a lot to them since most are scattered throughout British Columbia and Ontario, Canada.”
As for the game itself, the schedulers couldn’t have picked up a better opponent for the Swarm to face off against in front of the huge Versus audience. The Buffalo Bandits are coming to town… bringing their 7-3 record (good enough for 2nd place in the East) and their swagger with them. “The team is psyched for the game… this will be a rough and tumble game, for sure,” states Aime Caines. “As long as I can remember, Buffalo Head Coach and General Manager Darris Kilgore has put his system in place and built a team to be feared. They have an intimidating style and the personnel to match it. Darris will never change and the team will never change.” But, Caines knows his guys will be ready. “This Swarm team is much different than any other team who’s worn the Winged “S”. We’ve adapted to the league and we’re a much tougher team to be sure. No one is going to intimidate us.”
Buffalo has been a tough opponent for the Swarm since the team joined the NLL for the 2005 season. The Bandits hold a 12-2 all time record vs. the Swarm including 2-0 in the playoffs (2006, 2007) when the Swarm was in the East Division. The last time these teams met (February 4th), the Bandits won 15-12 but the Swarm more than held their own in the three fights. (Rory Smith vs. Brandon Francis, Andrew Suitor vs. Travis Irving and Sean Pollock vs. Jimmy Purves.). Look for more of the same on the 27th.
One final note: The nationally televised game marks the return to the Hive of Captain Ryan Cousins. #50 hasn’t played at home since February 20th of the 2010 season due to required training for a firefighting job with the Toronto Fire Department. Who better to usher in the dawn of a new era than the two-time Defensive Player of the Year? Welcome back, Cuz!
Oh… one other thing: You best all show up for the Nationally Televised game on the 27th... The Professor is taking attendance!