Stealth Moves

Pro lacrosse is here to stay. Honest.

By Matthew Halverson December 8, 2009 Published in the January 2010 issue of Seattle Met

ATTENTION, PARANOID SEATTLE sports nuts: Despite what the Internet’s digital sewing circles may have told you, the Washington Stealth have no plans to bolt over the border into BC. (What, you haven’t heard of the Stealth? That’s the—aptly named—pro lacrosse team that kicks off its first season at Everett’s Comcast Arena this month.) Just because they slipped out of San Jose and into Seattle last summer amid a luxury suite’s worth of rumors that they plan to slink into Vancouver as soon as they can secure work visas, that does not make the rumors true.

Yes, lacrosse (think hockey, minus skates, plus balls) is much more popular in Canada than it is on the U.S. West Coast; teams in Toronto and Calgary are thriving, while last season the Stealth averaged 4,000 fans per game and the Portland LumberJax folded. Sure, before settling on Everett, the team’s owners almost inked a deal to move into an arena in BC’s lower mainland. (Trey Bell, the arena’s general manager, says the decision went “right down to the wire.”) And, okay, a couple members of the Stealth’s staff live in BC. But it’s all just a confluence of circumstantial evidence, so enough with this pouty “Seattle is just a stopover on the way to Vancouver” conspiracy–theory nonsense. “I can say with no hesitation that we’ve found our home,” says Stealth CFO David Takata. “We’re very happy here.”

And even if they do move—which they won’t—you could take a lesson from Tyler Fitch. The 32–year–old lacrosse lover lives in Vancouver (Washington!) but hopped a plane to San Jose for most of the Stealth’s home games last year and will drive up to Everett every week this season. “If they have to move again, they have to move,” he says. “I don’t care what I have to do to watch.”

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