New York Riptide win 2019 Expansion Draft coin flip

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Game 1 of the NLL Cup Final is in the books and the Calgary Roughnecks are heading back to Cowtown with a 1-0 series lead over the Buffalo Bandits following a 10-7 win.

During halftime of Game 1, a coin toss was held between the New York Riptide and the Rochester Knighthawks to decide who would be picking first in the 2019 Expansion and Entry Drafts, respectively.

Rochester was represented by general manager Dan Carey while Riptide assistant GM Lance Basler was in attendance for the coin flip.

After NLL commissioner Nick Sakiewicz gave the coin a hefty toss into the air, it landed on the side of New York, who promptly decided to have the first overall pick in the 2019 Entry Draft, a decision that came as a surprise to no one.

The San Diego Seals won the coin flip during last year’s cup final. They gave up the first pick in the expansion draft in order to select standout forward Austin Staats first overall in the entry draft. The rest, as they say, is history. While the 20-year-old’s campaign was derailed by a torn ACL suffered mid-season, he’ll win the Rookie of the Year Award, barring a crazy outcome in voting.

Philadelphia went on to select Brett Hickey from the Toronto Rock with the first pick in the 2018 Expansion Draft.

After Knighthawks owner Curt Styres announced that he would be moving the franchise to Halifax back in September, the league awarded a Rochester expansion franchise to Terry and Kim Pegula.

The Pegula’s already owned the Buffalo Bandits, Bills, Sabres, and Rochester Americans, who the Knighthawks shared an arena with.

The Knighthawks have announced that they will be holding a launch event at the end of May that will likely feature an official reveal of their new logos that were leaked previously.

In December, the league announced that it would also have a franchise in New York that would be owned by GF Sports. The Riptide will play at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, NY. Their logo bears similarities to the New York Islanders’ iconic fisherman jerseys so here’s hoping that they can bring back a look that fans have been clamouring for.

The two teams will add the first set of players to their respective rosters during the expansion draft, which is set to take place in early July. They’ll know for sure who will be available when each team submits their official list of protected players two weeks ahead of the draft.

The current NLL teams can protect 11 players - they cannot protect more than one goalie and five forwards. Each team will lose two players, either one to each expansion franchise or both to the same organization. Last years expansion franchises, San Diego and Philadelphia, will also each lose a pair of players.

Lacrosse fans will be treated to at least one more week of NLL action. After an NLL Cup champion is crowned, however, the focus will quickly shift to arguably the most exciting portion of the league’s offseason.

Austin Owens