November 16, 2017 - Major League Lacrosse (MLL)
RATTLERS TO RELOCATE TO FRISCO, TX FOR 2018 SEASON Ford Center at The Star to serve as home venue
BOSTON - Major League Lacrosse (MLL), the premier outdoor professional lacrosse league, announced today the Rochester Rattlers will relocate to Frisco, Texas and will be rebranded as the Dallas Rattlers for the 2018 MLL season. The team will play its home games at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, the Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters and practice facility and the site of the 2017 MLL Championship Game.
"We have been interested in the North Texas area for quite some time and we are thrilled that our dream of bringing an MLL team to Dallas has come to fruition," MLL Commissioner David Gross said. "We would like to thank the city of Rochester, the Dworkin family and everyone who has supported the Rattlers for their devotion to the team. We believe this relocation will make the franchise stronger than ever and will bring the highest level of lacrosse to a rapidly growing hotbed for the sport."
Bill Warder, who has served as an assistant coach with the Rattlers since 2007, will be the head coach. Warder played in MLL in 2001 and has held coaching roles with the Rattlers and his alma mater of Hobart College since his playing career ended. A native of Geneva, N.Y., Warder was an assistant coach on B.J. O'Hara's staff when Rochester won the first MLL Championship in franchise history in 2008.
"The team will have a tremendous front office led by longtime sports executive Bill Goren as Team President," Gross said. "Tim Soudan, who has done an amazing job coaching the Rattlers, has unfortunately decided to step down as head coach. He will be replaced by Bill Warder, who has served as an assistant coach with the Rattlers for the past decade. Bill brings incredible passion and knowledge of MLL and will be a strong asset for the club."
Ford Center is a 12,000-seat indoor facility on the campus of The Star that hosts the Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters and serves as the team's practice facility. It opened in August 2016 and hosted the 2017 MLL Championship Game that saw the Ohio Machine win the first league title in franchise history. The facility serves as a focal point to the sports and entertainment district that offers fans the ultimate experience with over 15 restaurants, the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor Walk, an Omni Hotel and the Tostitos Championship Plaza.
"When we set out to build Ford Center and The Star we envisioned finding new and innovative ways to engage our youth and community specifically. We believe bringing the Dallas Rattlers here does that and also grants us new opportunities to give people the Cowboys experience," said Stephen Jones, Chief Operating Officer of the Dallas Cowboys.
"The city of Frisco is excited to welcome the Rattlers to their new home," Dallas Rattlers President Bill Goren said. "The Rattlers have been a first-class organization since their inception in 2001 and we are looking forward to continuing that rich tradition here in Texas."
New Balance will continue to own the team and the Rattlers will be the first MLL franchise in the state of Texas and the only team to play in the Central Time Zone. Prior to hosting the 2017 MLL Championship, the Lone Star State was the site of the 2015 MLL All-Star Game in Houston.
Frisco has been nicknamed "Sports City U.S.A." as the Rattlers will be the seventh professional sports franchise to call the city home. Located in the north end of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Frisco is home to the Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters, the Dallas Stars corporate headquarters and practice rink, FC Dallas of Major League Soccer, the Texas Rangers Double-A affiliate, the Frisco Roughriders, the Texas Revolution of Champions Indoor Football and the Texas Legends, the G-League affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks. Frisco also hosts FBS football's Frisco Bowl, the FCS Championship Game for Division I college football, and the Conference USA Basketball Championships.
Last season, the Rattlers went 8-6 and qualified for the postseason for the eighth time in franchise history. They were eliminated by the Outlaws in the MLL Semi-Finals, 15-8.
The Rattlers were managed by David and Wendy Dworkin during the 2017 season and returned to play at Capelli Sport Stadium. They are one of the six original franchises that began play in MLL in 2001 and won the Steinfeld Trophy in 2008 with a 16-6 win over the Outlaws for the first Championship in franchise history. The team relocated to Toronto before the 2009 season, but resumed play under the Rochester Rattlers brand in 2011 when the Chicago Machine relocated to Rochester.