Major League Lacrosse for All Lacrosse Fans: Best 2023 Explanations!

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If you love lacrosse and are curious about Major League Lacrosse (MLL), this post is for you! We've created a comprehensive overview of all the events, teams, and players that make MLL come to life.

From inside scoop on professional lacrosse franchises around North America to detailed analysis of major league expansion plans - this post has it all.

Get your popcorn ready because we're diving deep into everything a lacrosse enthusiast needs to know about the fascinating world of Major League Lacrosse.


Take Away Key Points:

  • The MLL was the leading representative for field lacrosse up to 2020
  • In 2020 it merged with the PLL to undoubtedly advance the conditions for playing sports due to Paul Rabil and his initiative
  • Nowadays, the two organizations hold multiple national competitions for youth, high school, college, and professional athletes

The MLL history

The Major League Lacrosse - MLL was the main field lacrosse official association in the United States. The league's inaugural season was in 2001.

Lacrosse teams used to play between ten and sixteen games during the regular summer season. Finally, the teams would compete for the championship trophy named after its founder Jake Steinfeld.

However, the league doesn't exist today under this name. So let's see the reasons for the collapse.

major league lacrosse standings

Major League Lacrosse (MLL) was a men's field lacrosse league founded in 1999. It is the premier professional lacrosse league in the United States, and Canada had a seven-team structure for its 2020 season.

The majority of MLL players were college graduates and former college players. However, some of the top National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) collegiate teams have elements of current or former MLL members on their rosters.

For example, the University of Virginia's NCAA Division I team was captained by an MLL veteran in 2017. In addition, the creation of MLL gave more structure to the sport, made it more visible to the public, and enabled more athletes to pursue careers as professional lacrosse players.

Since its founding two decades ago, it has been embraced by lacrosse fans across both countries, making it one of the prominent professional sports leagues for athletes to play at the highest level. The principal founders of the league were Jake SteinfieldTim Robertson, and Dave Morrow.

The league had two separate drafts with six teams for the 2001 season. The first draft took place in 2000 for post-collegiate players. The second expansion draft took place in 2001 in Baltimore, Maryland. The expansion draft included all lacrosse players whose college careers had finished before and in 2001.

For instance, Rochester Rattlers selected Ryan Mollett of Princeton as the first lacrosse player for the MLL team. Moreover, each lacrosse team was assigned three franchise players before the initial draft.

MLL began the professional sports games in 2001 with six teams in the northeastern U.S. These six pro lacrosse teams were split into two divisions: American Division and National Division.

The American Division included teams in Long Island, Bridgeport, Boston, and Connecticut. On the other hand, the National Division had teams in New Jersey, Rochester, and Baltimore. The league owned the pro lacrosse teams.

The first MLL game was played in the regular season of 2001. The Long Island Lizards lost to the Baltimore Bayhawks with a result of 16–13 at Homewood field in Baltimore, Maryland. Chris Turner scored the first-ever goal in the history of Major League Lacrosse.

The pro lacrosse league was the primary representative for the fourteen-game regular season in its first two years. After that, however, the officials reduced the number of games to twelve.

After the first year, the professional league's playoff format featured the best teams in each division, advancing to the semifinals. The teams could obtain two wild-card playoff spots if they had the next-best records, regardless of division.

The first Championship Game was held in 2001, in September. The Long Island Lizards defeated the Baltimore Bayhawks with the final result of 15–11. The lacrosse game occurred at the John F. Kennedy Stadium in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Paul Gait, a professional player, was declared the MVP of the game.

During the next couple of seasons, the game's growth was outstanding, and it marked a massive step forward in the world of lacrosse. The championship was the main attraction, and the most competitive teams were Baltimore Bayhawks and Long Island Lizards. The Lizards were champions in 2001 and 2003, while Bayhawks won the title in 2002 and 2005.

In 2004, the battle for the championship took place between the Boston Cannons and Philadelphia Barrage. The Boston Cannons were celebrating the victory and title.

In 2003, New Balance became a major sponsor and another founding member of MLL. New Balance CEO and founder Jim Davis provided great financial support. Davis is still the owner of the Dallas Rattlers.

1. Pro lacrosse expansion draft (2006-2011)

From 2006 to 2011, Major League Lacrosse (MLL) experienced significant expansion. Initially composed of only five teams competing in Boston, Bridgeport, New Jersey, Long Island, and Baltimore, the league saw a dramatic upswing in league affiliation over five years.

Strategic additions to reach new markets saw six more franchises added to the MLL family at various points during this period – initially adding Denver and Los Angeles in 2006; Chicago and Toronto in 2009; and Jacksonville and Ohio in 2011.

The impact of these developments grew exponentially with each successive year as the competition between rival teams generated higher levels of interest across lacrosse fields nationwide. With the commencement of their twelfth season, fans can certainly credit much of MLL's success to its formidable feats during the 2006-2011 period.

2. LXM Pro Tour (2009)

The LXM Pro Tour 2009 was the inaugural pro lacrosse tour hosted by Major League Lacrosse. It showcased some of the world's best players and attracted numerous fans. The tour featured sixteen stops in cities throughout the United States, allowing fans to see elite-level lacrosse up close.

In addition to professional matches, the tour included youth clinics, autograph sessions, and live music performances. Fans also had access to exclusive merchandise and memorabilia from premier lacrosse sponsors such as Nike and STX, making it an unforgettable experience for diehard lacrosse fanatics.

The LXM Pro Tour 2009 proved that the sport had become a major draw in America, with games selling out quickly and media coverage focusing on the thrilling competition.

3. Southern Trend (2012-2018)

Over the past six years, Major League Lacrosse (MLL) has grown significantly in southern states. Teams located in Charlotte, Dallas, and Atlanta joined the league from 2012 to 2018.

Introducing these franchises has helped MLL expand its fan base and attract a larger demographic. While many southern sports fans have embraced MLL, several former Carolina players have gone on to compete at the highest levels of lacrosse. This has created a strong bond between the south and lacrosse and demonstrated the impact of having teams based in the south.

Additionally, events such as the U.S. Lacrosse National Convention have united lacrosse communities all over the south, allowing for even greater sports growth than ever in this region.

4. The second contraction (2019-2020)

The Major League Lacrosse (MLL) experienced a second contraction towards the end of 2019 and the start of 2020, reducing the number of teams in the league from nine to six.

This was done to better fit with MLL's vision to sustain relevance in a modern lacrosse landscape as well as strengthen overall team competition. As a result of this reduction, two rival franchises - the Chesapeake BayHawks and Ohio Machine - merged into one entity based near Columbus, OH, while Rochester Rattlers and Atlanta Blaze disbanded altogether.

Despite these changes, MLL remains confident that its decision will positively affect the league and its teams in the coming years.

MLL partnership with the Premier Lacrosse League

In 2020, the Major League Lacrosse (MLL) and the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) merged to create one unified professional lacrosse entity.

The merger has been well received by fans of the two leagues. The PLL and MLL partnership provides them with an improved viewing experience and more opportunities for players to showcase their skills on a larger stage.

In addition to creating a higher level of competition, this merger also unites several former rivalries and democratizes viewership of the sport of lacrosse across teams. The MLL players were included in the PLL player pool, became the official PLL players, and could play the game in various states within the USA.

It is an exciting time for both competitive and casual fans of lacrosse alike, as they now have unprecedented access to enjoy the quality talent these leagues have produced over time.

With its combination of increased skill level, a celebration of rivalries, and expansion of viewership, the PLL and MLL partnership looks set to be a promising way forward for professional lacrosse.

1. Premier League Lacrosse

major league lacrosse player salary

The Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) is a professional lacrosse league founded in 2018 by professional lacrosse player Paul Rabil. The PLL co-founder was Paul's brother Mike. Together, they brought more than 140 MLL players into the new Premier League Lacrosse.

The PLL offers a real-time ecosystem of talent and teams, where PLL players are contracted directly to the league upon acceptance. The massive step forward was marked by expansion teams - former MLL teams and the game's growth for a short period.

This means that the players always remain at the forefront of the decisions made by the organization. The PLL has six team franchises in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Denver, Dallas, and Atlanta which feature multi-talented players from all levels of play.

All games are nationally broadcast on NBC or CBS Sports Network with an emphasis on delivering fast-paced games that offer enhanced viewing experiences within their app experience.

Additionally, there are exciting new initiatives like "The Lock In" tournament, which features a four-team robin format providing upcoming talent a chance to shine!

The PLL merger with the MLL united the two organizations and offered better working conditions in the professional game, youth lacrosse, pushing the game forward. Fans faced various championship games, famous attendance figures, and the fastest-game development in a short time.

2. Cannons Lacrosse Club

The Premier Lacrosse League wanted to expand the PLL player pool and add an eighth lacrosse team - Cannons Lacrosse Club. Cannons Lacrosse Club was a former MLL team - Boston Cannons, but the officials changed its name.

The former Boston Cannons won the title in 2020 and once again pushed the game forward in popularity. As a result, the Premier League had even more fans during the second season than in the first.

PLL championship games

The Premier League Lacrosse hosts some of the most prestigious lacrosse championships in the world. From their classic National Championship Series to their more competitive Canadian Cup and International Championships, the Premier League has something to offer everyone within the sport.

This renowned league boasts regional members from all parts of the globe, each bringing their skillset and expertise to create an exciting viewing experience for both seasoned lacrosse fans and first-timers alike.

During the lacrosse seasons, Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) also hosts various six-on-six games, with the new rules: no shot backup, a thirty-second shot clock, and quick restart after goals, so only the best athletes can compete for the title and finish the season successfully.

With a long history of victories on the court from some of the sport's greatest players, it is no wonder this league's championships are so sought after in lacrosse circles.

Best PLL teams

major league lacrosse teams

Premier lacrosse teams strive for excellence in the competitive world of the sport. The best teams, such as the PLL Redwoods, New York Lizards, Denver Outlaws, and Atlanta Blaze, are very accomplished in this highly physical and strategic game.

The Redwoods are managed by Kyle Harrison and Tom Schreiber, who have led their team to four straight championship wins, including two consecutive Major League Lacrosse titles.

The Outlaws boast the highest number of championships overall, with seven MLL titles since 2006. Last season, Georgia's own Atlanta Blaze brought home a historic championship crown as they demolished the Archers in their first year competing in the premier league.

The former Boston Cannons (now Cannons Lacrosse Club) is widely considered one of the leading teams that play in the Premiere Lacrosse League. Featuring superstars who have represented some of the top universities in the country and have winning records behind them, this team has a proud history of success for their fans to follow.

The Cannons have a knack for capitalizing on opportunities, and just last year, they achieved a Championship title amidst an exciting and competitive season.

However, new teams are taking their place in the lacrosse world. Among them are Redwoods Lacrosse Club, Chaos Lacrosse Club, Atlas Lacrome, Archers Lacrosse Club, Chrome LC, Whipsnakes Lacrosse Club, Waterdogs Lacrosse Club, and Wonders Lacrosse Team.

These clubs are composed of some of the top national players in the country with a commitment to winning championships and competing against each other at a high level.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much do PLL players get paid?

A professional lacrosse player in the PLL makes $35,000 per season, on average.

Is Major League Lacrosse canceled?

Yes, the league is canceled, as it merged with the PLL in 2020.

How to watch Major League Lacrosse?

The PLL season will feature twelve games on ABC (three), ESPN (three), and ESPN2 (six). The biggest number of all forty-seven games – the most games in the history of PLL will be streamed live on ESPN+.

Why do PLL players not wear shoulder pads?

As a fast sport requiring constant movement, lacrosse athletes cannot play well with bulky equipment, as they must keep up with the fast and light trend. So, they don't wear shoulder pads. The same goes for other sports requiring speed and agility.

Is fighting allowed in PLL?

Yes, fighting is allowed in PLL and NLL. However, fighting is not permitted in youth, high school, and collegiate-level lacrosse.


The new Premier Lacrosse League promises a bright future for lacrosse. With access to innovative talent and technology, the PLL offers unparalleled competition.

In addition, with its collaboration with Major League Lacrosse, fans faced access to the best of both worlds regarding field lacrosse games. Ultimately, this merger will revamp the lacrosse game and provide more exciting action than ever before.

Freddy Woods

Freddy is the heart and soul of Lacrosse Runner. As a former athlete, Freddy is very passionate about Lacrosse. He keeps up with the sport's changes and innovations and often tests the new equipment released by the leading manufacturers. Read more here