Editorial: Support the Vancouver Stealth

Fans should fill the seats when Langley-based NLL team opens its season at home in the LEC on Saturday

Four teams averaged more than 10,000 fans a night during the 2015 National Lacrosse League season.

And while the Langley Events Centre may not have the capacity to hold a crowd of that size, the Vancouver Stealth did not even come close to sell-out crowds in that time.

In nine home games in 2015, the Stealth had 33,610 fans attend NLL games, an average of 3,734 per game.

And while those numbers were slightly up from 2014 — the team’s first campaign calling the LEC home after relocating from Everett, Wash. — when they averaged 3,590 per home game, the Stealth had the dubious distinction of being last in the NLL both seasons.

The LEC has capacity for 5,276 fans per home game, while the other eight teams all play in bigger venues.

So while Vancouver is likely to finish last in terms of attendance for a third straight season, there is no reason the building should not be filled to capacity for the team’s nine home games in 2016, beginning with tomorrow (Saturday) night against the New England Black Wolves.

The NLL boasts the best professional lacrosse players in North America.

And British Columbia is a hotbed of lacrosse, with the province’s top minor players — male and female — routinely returning from national championships each summer with medals draped around their necks.

More than three quarters of the Stealth’s roster is made up of players from the Lower Mainland, including Langley’s own Garrett Billings and Chris Levis.

Players have jobs during the day — they’re teachers, firefighters, etc. — while practising in the evenings and playing the sport they love.

All of this for an average of $23 per ticket and free parking.

It is time to come out to the LEC and support the Stealth.