Release courtesy of the Rhode Island Kingfish.
The Rhode Island Kingfish of the North American Lacrosse League are pleased to announce they will be calling Boss Arena on the campus of the University of Rhode Island home beginning with the 2013 season this January.
“Rhode Island is emerging nationally as a lacrosse hotbed, and we are ecstatic to have partnered with a first class venue at Boss Arena to host Rhode Island’s own professional lacrosse franchise,” said Kingfish General Manager Michael Lydon.
The team begins play this January with six home games against other North American Lacrosse League teams – the Boston Rockhoppers, the Kentucky Stickhorses, the Baltimore Bombers and the Lehigh Valley Flying Dutchmen.
With the team selection process following the NALL combine on Oct. 13, the Kingfish are confident the team will have a distinctly Rhode Island feel when they take the floor this January.
“There is such a tremendous amount of Rhode Island talent that has graduated from college lacrosse programs in the last few years, and we are excited to build a core group of players that will be familiar to followers of Rhode Island Lacrosse,” Lydon said.
This local feel begins with the appointment of head coach Charlie Blanchard and associate head coach Steven O’Donnell to the Kingfish staff.
“Both Steve and Charlie are enormously respected in the Rhode Island and greater New England lacrosse communities, and we are thrilled they will be leading the Kingfish in our inaugural season,” Lydon said.
A 2012 inductee into the Ohio Lacrosse Hall of Fame, Blanchard currently serves as head golf coach at Bryant University, where he also served as assistant men’s lacrosse coach under Mike Pressler for five seasons.
Collegiately, Blanchard was selected as a two-time first team All-American while playing midfield for Ohio Wesleyan University, and was named USILA’s midfielder of the year in 1987. Also an inductee into the Ohio Wesleyan Athletics Hall of Fame, Blanchard was also a team captain and Most Valuable Player in men's soccer while at OWU.
Blanchard also was selected to the NCAC’s All-Decade team and later joined the Major Indoor Lacrosse League’s Boston Blazers from 1990 to 1997, and was selected to play in the MILL’s inaugural All-Star game. He was a five-time game MVP for the Blazers. In addition to his duties at Bryant, Blanchard is a co-owner of Rhode Island’s Next Level Lacrosse program.
Currently the Head Coach of the LaSalle Academy boys’ lacrosse team, O’Donnell, a member of the New England Lacrosse Hall of Fame, brings an unmatched level of coaching and playing experience to the Kingfish, having served as a captain at the University of New Haven in 1982 before moving on to coach Providence College at the Division I level through 1986.
O’Donnell still holds the highest winning percentage of any coach in Providence College history. O’Donnell is also a co-owner and operator of Next Level Lacrosse.
Off of the field, O’Donnell serves as the superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police.
“We are proud to have a coaching staff so dedicated to the growth of the game of lacrosse in Rhode Island and beyond, and we are confident with this talent behind the bench the Kingfish will be immediate contenders in the North American Lacrosse League,” added Lydon.
The Rhode Island Kingfish of the North American Lacrosse League begin play at Boss Arena on the campus of URI this January. Tickets are on sale now at RhodeIslandKingfish.com.
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