MLL League History

League Founding

During the summer of 1998, Jake “Body By Jake” Steinfeld was inspired to start a professional outdoor lacrosse league after reading a magazine article about the growth of the sport of lacrosse. Steinfeld sought out a contributor to the article, Owner and President of Warrior Lacrosse Dave Morrow, a leading lacrosse equipment manufacturer, to discuss formation of such a league. 
In February 1999 Steinfeld and Morrow joined forces with Steinfeld’s friend and business associate Tim Robertson, Chairman of Bay Shore Enterprises and former CEO of the Family Channel, to form Major League Lacrosse, LLC, a Virginia limited liability company. In 2003, New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc. came on board as a Founding Member of Major League Lacrosse, as well as an Anchor Level League Sponsor. 
Major League Lacrosse began play in 2001 to capitalize on the growing demand for world-class field lacrosse driven by dramatic growth in the U.S. lacrosse market.

The league was heralded early on for its on-field play, which consisted of a high level of talent paired with a lightning-paced style of play. The latter of which could be attributed to adjustments in the rules to traditional field lacrosse, namely a 60-second shot clock and a two-point arc positioned 16 yards from the goal line. Those two elements encouraged shooting and an up-tempo style of play that had never been seen before in the sport. 


''Lacrosse is an action-packed, contact sport with a lot of scoring that combines elements of basketball, hockey and soccer, and it's the fastest growing sport in the country,'' Steinfeld said. ''I can't believe no one thought of doing this before.''

 - Jake Steinfeld, New York Times, June 20, 2001



MLL Founder Jake Steinfeld presenting the Steinfeld Trophy in 2016. 


Early Years

The league originally consisted of six teams, the Baltimore Bayhawks, Boston Cannons, Bridgeport Barrage, Long Island Lizards, New Jersey Pride and Rochester Rattlers and they were divided into the American Division and National Division. Some of the greatest players in the history of the sport played in MLL starting with the inaugural season, including John Grant, Jr., Casey Powell, Paul and Gary Gait and Greg Cattrano. 

The Lizards and Bayhawks met in the MLL Championship Game four times between 2001 and 2005, with the Lizards winning in 2001 and 2003 and the Bayhawks winning in 2002 and 2005.  

David Gross, who was the Vice President and General Manager of the Boston Cannons from 2001 to 2003, was named the first commissioner in league history prior to the 2004 season and he held the position until February of 2018.


League Growth

The Denver Outlaws played their inaugural season in 2006 after being added to the league in its first round of expansion. The team advanced to the MLL Championship Game that year and drew nearly 70,000 fans to their games, an average of almost 12,000 per game. Denver played in the Championship Game three times in its first four years of existence, but did not win its first Steinfeld Trophy until 2014. 

In 2012, the league added the Charlotte Hounds and Ohio Machine, allowing teams to expand their schedules from 12 games to 14 games. In 2017, the Machine opened Fortress Obetz Field just outside of Columbus, marking the first ever stadium built specifically for professional lacrosse. 

Expansion in the Southeast continued in 2014 with the addition of the Florida Launch and the Atlanta Blaze played their inaugural season in 2016.  

In November of 2017, the league announced the Rochester Rattlers, an original franchise, would relocate to Dallas, Texas and continue play as the Dallas Rattlers. They became the first MLL team to play its games indoors, calling Ford Center at The Star in Frisco home. 


Steinfeld Trophy History

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Long Island Lizards


Baltimore Bayhawks


Long Island Lizards

defeat Baltimore Bayhawks defeat Long Island Lizards defeat Baltimore Bayhawks
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Philadelphia Barrage


Baltimore Bayhawks


Philadelphia Barrage

defeat Boston Cannons defeat Long Island Lizards defeat Denver Outlaws
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Philadelphia Barrage


Rochester Rattlers


Toronto Nationals

defeat Los Angeles Riptide defeat Denver Outlaws defeat Denver Outlaws
Champ 2010 NEW 2.jpg MLL_CHAMPIONSHIP_WEEKEND_BLUE_TSA_Warrior.png Warrior Champ Logo.jpg


Chesapeake Bayhawks


Boston Cannons


Chesapeake Bayhawks

defeat Long Island Lizards defeat Hamilton Nationals defeat Denver Outlaws
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Chesapeake Bayhawks


Denver Outlaws


New York Lizards

defeat Charlotte Hounds defeat Rochester Rattlers defeat Rochester Rattlers
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Denver Outlaws


Ohio Machine

defeat Ohio Machine defeat Denver Outlaws