Mississauga will be getting a professional sports team

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Published June 1, 2023 at 3:21 pm

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Mississauga is getting a professional lacrosse team, and a historically successful one to boot. Sort of.

The National Lacrosse League’s (NLL) Toronto Rock, who’ve won six NLL titles since their inception in 1999 to tie them with the Philadelphia Wings for most league championships, will play the majority of their 2023-24 regular-season home games and all playoff home games at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre in Mississauga.

NLL seasons run from December to early June each year.

The Mississauga venue will remain the site of Rock home games throughout the 2024-25 season as well while the club’s regular home the past two seasons, FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton, undergoes major renovations.

FirstOntario Centre will host the December 2023 slate of Rock home games before shutting down for renovations in early January 2024, the team said in a news release today (June 1).

The Rock will then call Mississauga home for the 20 months the Hamilton stadium will be closed before the Steel City venue reopens to house the club once again for the 2025-26 season.

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said she can’t wait for the Rock to arrive in Canada’s seventh-largest city.

“We are thrilled that Mississauga and our Paramount Fine Foods Centre will be the Toronto Rock’s home away from home for parts of their next two seasons,” she said. “Sport has a unique way of bringing people together. It transcends language and culture and is truly a unifying force for good, especially in a diverse city like Mississauga. Investing in sport and local athletes is at the heart of city-building. Mississauga is already the home of Canada’s first NBA G League, the Ontario Hockey League and proudly hosted the 2016 Ontario Summer Games, as well as the 2022 Ontario Summer Games and Ontario Parasport Games. And now we look forward to cheering the Toronto Rock on to victory right here in our city.”

Toronto Rock owner, president and general manager Jamie Dawick said it will be an adjustment for the club, but he’s confident all will go well until the team’s new-look Hamilton home is ready to reopen.

“We know there will be some challenges with relocating games mid-season, however we hope to replicate the same Rock City experience and energy in Mississauga that our fans currently enjoy in Hamilton,” Dawick said in the news release.

“From the moment we shut the doors in Hamilton, the countdown to our return home will begin,” he continued. “With that comes an abundance of excitement and optimism about the heightened fan experience and enhanced amenities that a virtually brand-new building will bring to our fans and the city of Hamilton.”

The team says Rock City Builders Club Season Members will be contacted in the coming weeks to confirm their seat location at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre in Mississauga, which is a much smaller venue than FirstOntario Centre.

The franchise was founded in 1998 as the Ontario Raiders in Hamilton. Shortly thereafter, it was sold to a group of investors led by then-Toronto Maple Leafs assistant general manager Bill Watters, who relocated the franchise to Toronto, where it was renamed the Toronto Rock.

The Rock won their sixth NLL title in 2011 and continued playing in Toronto until May 2021 when the team announced its relocation to Hamilton.

The current NLL season concludes this Saturday when the Colorado Mammoth and Buffalo Bandits play the deciding game in their championship final series.

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