Stealth amped for home debut

History will be made Saturday at the Langley Events Centre as the Vancouver Stealth make their National Lacrosse League home debut.

The first ever regular season home game in franchise history will see the Stealth take on the visiting Minnesota Swarm.

Game time is 7 p.m.

Tickets are available at stealthlax.com.

The Stealth will be searching for their first win of the season after dropping their season debut 13-12 to the Colorado Mammoth last Saturday at Colorado’s Pepsi Centre.

The Washington Stealth became the Vancouver Stealth during the summer, when it was announced the team would relocate from Everett, Wash., to Langley.

It’s been nearly a decade since B.C. has been home to an NLL squad. That was the last year of operation of the Vancouver Ravens, who played out of General Motors Place (now Rogers Arena) in Vancouver.

“We’re all excited to be able to play in front of friends and family and bring home [pro] lacrosse to B.C.,” Stealth rookie Tyler Digby said, during a Wednesday morning telephone conference call.

Digby said it’s “always important to win” in the very competitive NLL but it’s especially key to earn a victory in a home opener.

"To go out there and have a good performance and hopefully we can bring all the fans back, and more,” Digby added.

Stealth head coach Chris Hall said playing in B.C. is significant for the players who grew up playing their lacrosse in this province.

“It’s been a long time coming to get a Lower Mainland franchise in the NLL, and for these guys to play in front of family and friends is a special thing,” Hall said. “They all grow up playing minor lacrosse, junior, and senior [in B.C.] so to play for a pro team in town is pretty special.”

The key for the Stealth on Saturday, according to Hall, is to play good, sound lacrosse, “and play with a high level of energy, and continue to polish our systems and build chemistry.”

Hall knows the Stealth will be challenged by a Minnesota team that is also looking to get into the winning column, after losing 8-6 to the defending NLL champion Rochester Knighthawks on Dec. 28.

“We have to bring maximum effort of our own,” he said.

Looking back on the Stealth’s 13-12 loss to the Mammoth last Saturday to open their season, Hall believes his team lacked some killer instinct.

“We can’t take any nights off in this league and we let one slip away that we thought we had a handle on early in the season,” he said. “We have to be playing hard and playing well, and Minnesota offers a big challenge.”

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