Stealth encouraged by opening-night attendance

  • By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
  • Thursday, January 17, 2013 11:19pm
  • SportsSports

EVERETT — The Washington Stealth have started the 2013 National Lacrosse League season impressively, but what’s more eye-catching than their 2-0 record after a horrible campaign a year ago is this number: 7,023.

That was the announced attendance for the Stealth’s 13-12 victory over the NLL defending champion Rochester Knighthawks in the season-opener Jan. 5 at Comcast Arena.

It was the largest regular-season crowd the Stealth have had since moving to Everett prior to the 2010 season and the second-largest crowd at Comcast Arena. Only the 2010 NLL Championship game against the Toronto Rock, a 15-11 Stealth victory, drew more fans (8,300).

The opening-night crowd was nearly 1,800 people more than the next-closest opening-night crowd the Stealth have had in Everett. The team drew 5,264 for the home opener in 2011.

Coming off a season in which the Stealth had their lowest average attendance since moving to Everett — and were the only team to miss the NLL playoffs, finishing with a record of 4-12 — what has changed so quickly?

“There is no science to it,” Stealth president David Takata said. “We started everything much earlier this season in terms of season-ticket sales, being ready to go almost right after the season ended last year with season-ticket renewals.

“It’s probably a combination of things. If we knew what caused it, we would probably just replicate all of those things for the rest of the season and put 7,000 in the building every night. It’s not going to be like that. … We know that was a high point or one of the high points for the season.”

Another reason for such a large crowd for the opener was an effort headed by Rochester Knighthawks owner Curt Styres, who along with a contribution from the Stealth, made 2,000 tickets available to members of 13 different Native American Communities in the Puget Sound area.

“I think there is a lot of room for growth in the Native American communities with lacrosse,” said Styres, who is of Six Nations of Mohawk descent and is believed to be the first person of Native American heritage to own a professional sports franchise. “We have a lot of possibilities for Native Americans to use lacrosse as a stepping stone for their future.”

It is unclear how many of the 2,000 tickets were used.

“I would like to think all of them were used,” Styres said. “I never really went out and looked, but just sitting where I was sitting, there was a strong presence of different (Native American communities) there.”

Takata estimated about half the 2,000 tickets were used.

Before the season, Stealth owner Denise Watkins said the front office set a goal of selling out the home opener. They didn’t reach that goal, but attendance was still viewed as a success.

“We were thrilled,” Takata said. “We were ecstatic to get that many people in the building.”

The crowd was certainly a step in the right direction for a franchise that has averaged between 3,900 and 4,300 fans (including playoff games) since the team arrived in Everett.

This season, the Stealth have six Saturday night games, two Sunday matinee games, but no Friday games. During the past three seasons, Friday games have had the least attendance, Takata said.

“We’ve got a pretty good schedule this year,” Takata said, adding that the team is eager to “find out how these Sunday matinees work.”

The Stealth get their first chance to see what a home matinee crowd looks like at 2:45 p.m. Sunday when they play host to the Edmonton Rush.

Aaron Lommers covers the Washington Stealth for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at

More in Sports

Everett’s Ondrej Vala controls the puck with Swift Current’s Beck Malenstyn trailing Sunday afternoon at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett on January 21, 2018. The Silvertips won 4-1. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Silvertips beat Swift Current, keep winning streak alive

U.S. Division-leading Everett has won seven straight WHL games

Foles, Eagles fly into Super Bowl, rout Vikings 38-7

Philadelphia is headed to the Super Bowl for the first time in 13 years

Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England climbed back from a 20-10 deficit in the fourth quarter against Jacksonville.

UW women earn their first Pac-12 victory of the season

Junior forward Hannah Johnson enjoys a career day as Washington tops Washington State, 56-49

POLL: Evaluating the Seahawks’ assistant coaching changes

Which change — offensive coordinator, offensive line coach, defensive coordinator — is biggest?

Dedication drives local coaches into 100-Season Club

Commitment to student-athletes is a hallmark of the area’s longest-tenured coaches.

Everett’s Tori Odom, right, attempts a shot with Edmonds’ Jake Higgins defending Saturday night at the Walt Price Student Fitness Center in Everett on January 20, 2018. The Trojans won 117-100. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
EvCC races past EdCC in NWAC North showdown

Gio Jackson scores 32 points to lead the Trojans over the Tritons 117-100.

Former QB on Schottenheimer: ‘He’s a win-first’ OC

Kellen Clemens has had the new Seahawks’ play-caller as his coordinator for 7 of his 11 NFL seasons.

Huskies men overcome slow start to beat Colorado

Jaylen Nowell scores 19 points and Matisse Thybulle adds 18 in UW’s 72-62 win.

Most Read