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Seals' opener set as NLL labor dispute ends


FU Spanos and Dundon
Staff member

The San Diego Seals again have an opening day on the calendar.

The National Lacrosse League and its players union on Saturday agreed to a five-year collective bargaining agreement, ending a labor dispute that forced the circuit to cancel the first two weeks of the season.

The Seals, an expansion team awarded to San Diego in August 2017, originally would have opened the season on Dec. 8 at Valley View Casino. San Diego will instead start its inaugural season Dec. 22 at Colorado and open its home slate on Jan. 12 against Rochester.

Training camps will open next week.

The league has not indicated if it will reschedule the canceled games.

“We appreciate the efforts of the negotiating committee and their tireless dedication to reaching a fair and equitable agreement for both the NLL and the players,” NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz said in a statement on the league’s website. “This agreement has created a clear path for incremental growth, not just for the players and the existing clubs, but for the sport of lacrosse as well. Thank you also to the fans and the players for your patience as we worked through this situation.”

The deal, according to US Lacrosse Magazine, is a mid-length compromise with an out-out provision as both sides continue to work toward a longer-term collective bargaining agreement. The league had previously rejected the players’ one- and two-year counter offers to its original seven-year proposal.

The labor dispute started when the Professional Lacrosse Players Association opted out of its collective bargaining agreement last November and directed players to stay away from training camps in hopes of forcing the league to add sponsorship, concessions, parking and merchandise sales to players pay.

Details of Saturday’s agreement were not announced.

“This new agreement sets the players in a great position for success as partners in a league and a sport whose best days are ahead,” PLPA President Peter Schmitz said in a statement.