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New pro lacrosse team provides Mammoth entertainment

There’s one really good way to catch a game at the Pepsi Center in Denver without dropping $80 on an Avalanche ticket or sitting through the sometimes painful spectacle of a Nuggets game.

One would think the idea of watching an indoor lacrosse match wouldn’t excite too many people, save your avid lacrosse-core population, most of which lives on the East Coast. But, when I finally made it down to watch the Colorado Mammoth, our new professional indoor lacrosse team, I was joined by almost 16,000 other spectators and saw some of the best entertainment I’ve seen in a long time. Without even accounting for the unbelievable talent and skill of the athletes involved, the event also included remote control flying inflatable beer cans and a half-time show of Frisbee dog choreography.

For those of us who have struggled for 10-plus years to put the sport on the map in Colorado, seeing almost 16,000 people show up to watch a lacrosse game is no small news.



Having never before witnessed an indoor game, it was a bit startling to see six husky guys in shorts and helmets – who, if outside, would most likely play their game on 100 yards of field – take to the limited turf space confined by the boards around the Avs’ ice. Nonetheless, watching lacrosse in such a small arena was very engaging and somewhat akin to a bubble hockey game.

The Colorado Mammoth began its inaugural season Jan. 3 under the ownership of Kroenke Sports Enterprises. The team was previously based out of Washington D.C., where it played in the National Lacrosse League (NLL) as the Washington Power.



I was lucky enough to catch what has surely been the Mammoth’s most exciting game of the season, Feb. 14 against the Calgary Roughnecks. As if spending Valentine’s Day watching a bunch of guys beat each other with sticks wasn’t good enough in itself, the entertainment even carried on through time outs thanks to the fat guy dressed up in fairy wings and heart-studded boxer shorts who skipped up and down the turf launching Mammoth T-shirts into the crowd with Cupid’s bow and arrow.

The Mammoth had won its previous four home games, and I can see why. The broadcaster made no attempt at being objective with his play-by-play announcements – unabashedly booing into the microphone when Calgary scored, or refusing to give credit to the opponents’ goal scorer. This, coupled with the heavy metal-pop punk cranking throughout the game, gave the experience a sort of Monster Truck-meets-WWF feel. If I didn’t know it was impossible to stage the behind-the-back shots, high-speed deflected goals by Mammoth goalie Eric Miller and the lightning quick, dead-on passes by both teams, I would have thought the thing (like a WWF match) was rigged.

As the Mammoth eventually lost 14-13 in overtime, I knew it was all the real thing. For the $5 price of a ticket (in the cheap seats), the hour and a half of pure entertainment, and the steady buzz of a remote control beer can floating over my head, the game was definitely worth the drive.

The Colorado Mammoth are 4-6 for the season and are leading the Eastern Division of the NLL, which also includes teams from New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia. The team’s next home game is 7 p.m. March 21 at the Pepsi Center vs. Rochester, N.Y.

Shauna Farnell can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at sfarnell@summitdaily.com.


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