After six seasons at the Mohegan Sun Arena, the New England Black Wolves indoor lacrosse team has been sold and will be moving to Albany, N.Y. this fall.
A group headed by Oliver Marti, a former Division I All-American lacrosse player and former National Lacrosse League (NLL) star, purchased the team.
The new owners will relocate the franchise immediately to the fast-growing lacrosse hotbed of Albany, where the team will play in the downtown, recently renovated Times Union Center. It marks the return of indoor lacrosse to the Capital Region for the first time since 2002.
“This is a bittersweet day for the league and our sport,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz. “We want to first thank our colleagues at Mohegan Sun for all the positive work they have done building the franchise in New England. 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.”
“Our group, which is comprised of lacrosse enthusiasts, professionals, and influential people in the industry, are determined to help grow the sport of lacrosse,” said Oliver Marti, the head of the Albany NLL ownership group. “The NLL is blossoming, and we want to be a part of its growth, while also being instrumental in the direction the sport of lacrosse is heading.
The Black Wolves franchise is one of the most storied in indoor lacrosse history. The team is 28 years old and won six NLL championships playing in Philadelphia when the team was known as the Wings.
On July 11, 2014 the Wings announced they would be relocating to Uncasville, where they played as the Black Wolves at Mohegan Sun Arena. In their six seasons at Mohegan Sun, the Black Wolves made the playoffs each of the last four completed seasons.
The Black Wolves were 8-3 and in first place in the Eastern Division when the 2019-20 season was cut short due to COVID-19 last March. In their six seasons at Mohegan Sun, the Black Wolves made the playoffs each of the last four completed seasons.
The 2019-20 season was cancelled due to the pandemic.
“We are proud to have worked side-by-side with the Black Wolves players, coaches and staff,” said Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment CEO Mario Kontomerkos. “It is their leadership and commitment as ambassadors in our community that will be missed most. This sale allows Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment to focus and strengthen its position as a global brand in gaming and entertainment.”
The Black Wolves were the first indoor lacrosse team in Connecticut.
The state has hosted two outdoor lacrosse teams – the Bridgeport Barrage played three seasons (2001-03) in Major League Lacrosse out of the Ballpark at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport before moving to Philadelphia in 2004.
The Connecticut Hammerheads joined Major League Lacrosse in 2020 and were set to play at Rafferty Stadium in Bridgeport. But COVID-19 pandemic forced a shortened, quarantined tournament in Annapolis, Maryland with Connecticut playing five games. In December, MLL said they would be merging with Premier Lacrosse League and the Hammerheads were not part of the deal.