NLL Unveils Division Realignment; Plans for Future Expansion
The NLL announces division realignment, schedule details, new playoff format and plans for future expansion.
On September 9, the NLL announced the league would undergo a division realignment, as well as revealed schedule details, a new playoff format and plans for future expansion.
For the 2019-20 season, the NLL will realign from two divisions to three in order to accommodate the addition of expansion teams New York Riptide and Rochester Knighthawks and new market Halifax Thunderbirds.
The five teams that comprised the West Division in 2018-19 will remain as the West Division this season. The six franchises that made up the East Division in 2018-19, will be redistributed among the East Division and the newly formed North Division.
San Diego Seals
New England Black Wolves
New York Riptide
With the announcement of the new division realignment, NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz hinted that we could see the league expand even more in the near future.
“The league has had unprecedented expansion over the last three years. With two more teams coming in this year along with a new market in Halifax, we felt the need to reexamine conference alignments, schedule, and playoff formats to prepare for future expansion,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz. “We also wanted to create exciting rivalries for the fans, the best travel scenarios for teams and players and competitive match-ups for our 13 franchises.”
While the NLL did not reveal any markets for potential expansion, Lacrosse Classified’s Jake Elliott spoke to LaxSportsNet and revealed he expects Dallas to be the home of a new NLL franchise in the near future.
In addition to division realignment, NLL regular season schedule format will see each franchise face the other 12 teams at least once during the 18-game season.
As for the NLL playoffs, eight teams will once again qualify with the three division winners will now automatically receive the top three seeds. The three second-place teams in each of the three divisions will receive the fourth through sixth seeds, while the seventh and eighth “wild card” seeds will be awarded to the next two best records from any division.
The first two rounds of the playoffs will remain single-elimination and teams will not be re-seeded after the opening round. The championship round will remain as a best-of-three series with the highest remaining seed hosting Game 1 and, if necessary, Game 3.