A new ownership group purchased the Lizards in May with an eye toward turning the Long Island franchise into a tri-state team, according to Lizards CEO Jeffrey Rudnick. The change was announced Friday by the league.
"When the new ownership group took over the Lizards in May of this year, we negotiated a deal with Major League Lacrosse to expand the Lizards' exclusive territory,” Rudnick said. “It grew from just Long Island, to now also include New York City, Westchester County, the state of New Jersey, and southern Connecticut. With this tremendous market the Lizards are now a part of, it made sense to change the name to the New York Lizards.”
In addition to a new logo, the franchise announced it will play two home games next season at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island. While the league schedule has yet to be released, the bulk of home games will remain at Hofstra’s James M. Shuart Stadium.
“We feel the name change is very fitting for the Lizards,” MLL Commissioner David Gross said. “The team has done tremendous work in extending the brand beyond Long Island into the surrounding areas and the new name reflects this all-encompassing reach.”
The move into the City market makes sense from a grass roots standpoint. While Long Island has long been a hotbed for lacrosse, the sport has caught on over the last decade in the boroughs and Westchester as youth and high school programs grow in both skill and popularity.
The Lizards went 8-6 and lost in the first round of the MLL playoffs in August.