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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Release the Hounds!

Charlotte Hounds make their debut.
Tonight, a new era began in Charlotte.

For the first time, the Charlotte Hounds, one of Major League Lacrosse's two newest expansion franchises, took the field. Doing so marked professional lacrosse's first permanent foray into North Carolina, and MLL's first franchise in the South.

That the first game--a 20-12 loss--was against the Denver Outlaws was fitting. The first reason is significant only to me: Having no true home team in MLL (Philadelphia Barrage are defunct and the Baltimore Bayhawks left town) I had adopted the Denver Outlaws as my team, since their roster often finds itself heavily peppered with UMBC alumni (one, Peet Poillon, was today's game MVP). The Charlotte Hounds have now become my team, marking my first home team after nearly seven years of living in North Carolina, save for my current employer.

The second reason is that it its first game, the Hound found themselves facing off against a program that is worth emulating. Also an outlier from the sport's mid-Atlantic and northeastern stronghold, Denver has become a western exclave of lacrosse, routinely drawing large crowds and engaging fans. Might the Hounds be able to similarly provide the sport a bit of southern exposure? Time will only tell, but an announced crowd of better than 6,700 was a great start.
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