Team moved from San Jose, Calif., and will play its indoor lacrosse games at Everett's Comcast Arena.
Little did Jason Bloom know that when he was traded from the Boston Blazers to the San Jose Stealth last year, he’d end up coming home.
After the 2009 season, the Stealth of the National Lacrosse League moved operations to Everett’s Comcast Arena, bringing Bloom, his wife and baby boy back to the Northwest.
Bloom, 27, is a native of the Vancouver, B.C., suburbs. He works in commercial real estate in Bellevue, but spends his weekends playing professional indoor lacrosse almost entirely for pure love of the sport.
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Until recently moving to Mercer Island, the newly named Stealth captain would fly from the family’s former home in western Florida to Denver or Boston for a practice and a weekend game in those cities or wherever his former teams played. Such is the life of many NLL players in a league with an average salary of $18,000 to $20,000.
Bloom will have a short drive for home games now, but says his Stealth teammates — many from southwestern Canada who will be driving, taking a small plane or riding a water craft to get to Everett for games — have the “weekend warrior mentality.” The Stealth’s regular-season opener is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Comcast Arena against the Colorado Mammoth.
“A lot of the guys aren’t playing it for the money,” Bloom said. “They’re getting the chance to play in front of a crowd for four months.”
The NLL season starts this weekend and runs into May. The NLL game is played indoors with the same playing-field dimensions as hockey and is a combination of hockey rules and strategy and basketball skill and fast-paced action.
The sport is bigger in Canada, where it’s called “box lacrosse.”
“It brings the finesse and skill of the NBA and matches it with the speed and aggression of the NHL,” Stealth coach Chris Hall said.
The ball used in NLL is made of hard rubber and is a bit smaller than a baseball, and the object of the game is to shoot the ball into goals that are 4 feet tall and less than 5 feet wide. There are six players per side including goaltenders, and it’s common to have 25 goals scored in a game.
Hall has quite a collection of accomplished players, guys in their 20s and 30s who are firefighters, students, electricians, cable installers, construction workers and office professionals during the workweek. “We get one two-hour practice a week, a one-hour shoot-around and one hour of scouting and game prep,” Hall, a Victoria B.C., resident, said.
“To bring the pro game (to Everett) is truly a homecoming for us.”
José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or firstname.lastname@example.org