(LAS VEGAS) – The National Lacrosse League’s (NLL) 15th expansion team, located in Las Vegas, announced that the team will be known as the “Las Vegas Desert Dogs.” The Desert Dogs will begin their first season in December 2022, and the team will play home games at Michelob ULTRA Arena located inside Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
The team’s ownership group includes Wayne Gretzky, Dustin Johnson, Steve Nash and Joe Tsai – and oversaw a comprehensive naming process dating back to the franchise’s official introduction in June 2021. The team considered over 2,000 fan submissions and conducted surveys throughout Las Vegas to identify Desert Dogs as the name and brand that would best represent the local community.
“We could not be more excited to officially introduce the Desert Dogs to Las Vegas,” said Mark Fine, CEO of the Las Vegas Desert Dogs. “We are so appreciative of this community’s support and patience as we prepared our name announcement. The ‘Desert Dog’ represents all that Las Vegas Lacrosse embodies – scrappy and cunning, friendly but fierce, and powerful alone but unstoppable as a pack. We aspire to create an environment here for lacrosse to thrive, and everyone involved in the Desert Dogs organization – whether it’s our owners, players, front office, business staff or supporters – will play an integral part in making that mission a reality.”
The team will begin assembling players in July when the NLL holds its 2022 expansion draft. The franchise will add additional players in August during the league’s entry draft before holding its first training camp in November.
Fans interested in learning more about season tickets can visit LasVegasDesertDogs.com or by calling 702-818-DOGS.
Shawn Williams, one of the most accomplished players in NLL history, has been selected to lead the Las Vegas Desert Dogs as the franchise’s first General Manager and Head Coach.
Williams brings a wealth of experience to Las Vegas, having played 17 seasons in the NLL from 1998-2014 before being inducted into the NLL Hall of Fame as a first ballot honoree in 2021. The Scarborough, Ontario native ranks eighth all-time in NLL points scored, seventh in assists, and ninth in games played. Williams made the transition to coaching in 2015 as a Scout for the Buffalo Bandits before becoming an Assistant Coach / Offensive Coordinator with the Colorado Mammoth from 2018-20.
“I want to thank our owners for entrusting me to lead this franchise and introduce the game of box lacrosse to the great fans of Las Vegas,” said Williams, “and I want to build a team and culture of excellence that this city will be proud of. Desert Dogs lacrosse will be gritty, hard-working, and community-first. We will bring the best players in the world to Las Vegas to become engaged members of this community who are committed to growing the game. My wife, Tamara, and I can’t wait to move our family here and experience all that Las Vegas has to offer.”
In the coming months, Williams will lead the launch of a local and regional camps and clinics program to support the growth of youth lacrosse in Las Vegas, Southern Nevada, and the Pacific Southwest.