Major League Lacrosse is returning to the state in the form of the Connecticut Hammerheads franchise, which will call Fairfield University its home.
MLL Commissioner Alexander Brown made the announcement, with a press conference to follow at the school on Feb. 28 at 10 a.m. The franchise had been known as the Dallas Rattlers until the end of the 2019 season; Bill Warder, who coached that team for four seasons, remains as the rebranded team’s coach.
The Hammerheads will be the league’s first team to play in the state of Connecticut since the Bridgeport Barrage, which played from 2001-2003 before relocating to Philadelphia. Warder played for the Bridgeport Barrage during the MLL’s inaugural season in 2001.
“Connecticut is a hotbed lacrosse community and is home to many of the top youth, club, high school and college programs in the country,” MLL President Ian Frenette said. “We’re excited to make the state of Connecticut a home of Major League Lacrosse, and work with community leaders, businesses, and local non-profit organizations to bring a positive impact to the entire community.”
The team will play all five of its home games on Conway Field at Rafferty Stadium. Fairfield University’s lacrosse facilities feature a Daktronics HD video board, a state-of-the-art sound and lights system, and a FieldTurf playing surface. The 3,500-seat stadium also features two VIP suites and a fully integrated production suite and press box for media.
“As our athletic programs continue to grow, it is important to build strategic partnerships with organizations like the MLL to expand our reputation nationally and showcase our exceptional facilities,” said Director of Athletics Paul Schlickmann.
The Hammerheads open its season at home on May 30 at Rafferty Stadium, which was built in 2015. The season opener will be the second-ever MLL game played in the stadium, as Fairfield University hosted a 2016 MLL semifinals matchup between the Denver Outlaws and the New York Lizards.