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Ottawa Black Bears: Professional lacrosse team coming to Ottawa

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Ottawa will be getting a professional lacrosse team in the National Lacrosse League (NLL).

A news conference at the Canadian Tire Centre Wednesday announced that the NLL's New York Riptide will be moving to Ottawa in the 2024-25 NLL season.

The team will be called the Ottawa Black Bears. Home games will be played at the Canadian Tire Centre.

Ottawa Black Bears NLL team logo. (Ottawa Black Bears)

"Ottawa is an incredible market, with an established fan base, and a major-league arena," said NLL Commissioner, Brett Frood in a news release. "This is an immense opportunity for our League to fortify our roots in the National Capital Region and to partner with a sophisticated front office in the Senators. We feel this relationship will be a terrific success and are excited and confident in the short- and long-term positioning of the Ottawa Black Bears."

GF Sports and Entertainment will maintain ownership and operation of the franchise and will maintain a strong working relationship with Senators Sports and Entertainment. 

The New York Riptide will continue to operate through the conclusion of the 2023-24 NLL season. The franchise’s inaugural regular season home game at Canadian Tire Centre is anticipated to take place in December.

"We chose Ottawa for many reasons, including the strength of the Senators Sports and Entertainment brand, the demand and rapid growth of box lacrosse in the region, and the fantastic arena," said GF Sports and Entertainment's Erik Baker.

"Today, we look to the future as the Ottawa Black Bears, a name that reflects not only the attributes of the region, but also the values of this community and our franchise. We will be a community-dedicated team that will be relentless, proud, passionate and gritty. Ottawa fans will be proud to wear the Black Bears logo." 

Ottawa briefly had an NLL team. The Ottawa Rebel was part of the league from 2001 to 2003.

Mayor Mark Sutcliffe called the announcement "exciting."

With the launch of the Black Bears, the NLL will have nine teams in the U.S. and six in Canada.

"Box Lacrosse is a fast, physical and fan-friendly game. With the NLL's strength and rapid growth, a strong ownership group and the collective relationships with TSN, we believe the Ottawa Black Bears will be another great addition to the Ottawa sports landscape," said Senators Sports and Entertainment COO Erin Crowe. "This will be an entertaining and exciting product that our fans will love and embrace. We can’t wait for the Black Bears to hit the field and take their place in our community."

National Lacrosse League Commissioner Brett Frood (centre) poses with GF Sports and Entertainment's Erik Baker (right) and Senators Sports & Entertainment COO & CFO Erin Crowe after announcing the Ottawa Black Bears, Wednesday, February 21, 2024 in Ottawa. (Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The Black Bears are headlined by league scoring leader and 2020 NLL first overall pick Jeff Teat, the Ottawa Senators said. The team runs under head coach Dan Ladouceur, a five-time NLL champion.

Fans interested in signing up for tickets and learning more about both the Black Bears and the NLL are asked to visit https://www.ottawablackbears.com/

Lacrosse is one of Canada's national sports. An Act of Parliament in 1994 declared lacrosse to be Canada's national summer sport, with hockey the national winter sport of Canada.

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