By Loof Lirpa, special correspondent to the NLL Blog
The drama is finally over. A spokesman for the Calgary Roughnecks announced this morning that the team has been sold and will relocate for the 2012 season. Following in the league's decisions to try new markets and to move to smaller towns outside of major cities (Hoffman Estates IL, Everett WA, Glendale AZ), the Roughnecks have been sold to a Mexican company called Ándale Arriba. The president of Ándale Arriba, S. Gonzales, has already stated his intention to move the team to Chimalhuacán, a town of just over half a million people near Mexico City. The team will begin play in the 2012 season, and will be known as the Mexico City Menudos.
NLL Commissioner George Daniel said that he is "sorry for the Roughnecks fans in Calgary who have to watch their team leave, but at the same time, very excited for the people of Chimalhuacán and Mexico City. This is a big step for our league, and we are happy for the mill— um, thous— um, dozens of Mexican lacrosse fans who will be able to watch the best lacrosse players in the world right in their own back yard. Seriously, until the arena gets built, Mr. Gonzales will be hosting the games in his back yard. Not much in the way of seating, but the tequila and burritos are really cheap. And I guarantee that snowstorms on game nights will be less of an issue than in Calgary."
After a private meeting with the players, Menudo captain Andrew McBride issued the following statement on behalf of himself and his teammates: "We're going where?"
In an exclusive interview with The NLL Blog, former Roughnecks owner Brad Bannister explained his financial reasoning and how he came to the difficult decision that this was the right move for the franchise: "Some dude gave me a coupla hundred grand and a bottle of Cuervo Gold. More than the Flames offered."
The movement for next season may not be over yet. There are rumours that the NLL may become the first professional North American sports league to have a team in Iceland, as the Rochester Knighthawks become the Reykjavík Hrútspungars. We will keep you updated on this story as it develops.