The National Lacrosse League has announced that Nick Sakiewicz has been hired as its Commissioner. He will replace George Daniel, who resigned to start a new law firm while remaining as Counsel to the league.
Sakiewicz's previous background in pro sports is in soccer. He was a goaltender in outdoor soccer in Europe in the early 1980s after playing at the University of New Haven. Sakiewicz also played two games as a goalie for the New York Arrows of the Major Indoor Soccer League in 1983-84. That team played the Buffalo Stallions.
"That puts a smile on my face. It brings back memories," Sakiewicz said when asked on a conference call about his MISL days. "I spent the coldest day of my life, I think, in a Holiday Inn in Buffalo. We played a game there (in Buffalo)."
Sakiewicz began his associate with Major League Soccer in 1995, when he was an executive with the Tampa Bay Mutiny and later the MetroStars in New York. In 2007 he became the co-founder and CEO of the expansion Philadelphia Union. He left that job in October 2015.
"Something lacrosse has that the MLS didn't have is 30 years of history," Sakiewicz said. "That history is great to build on, and great to learn from."
The new commissioner said he plans to focus on expansion to increase the size of the league, a better video digital platform, grass roots participation, and an improved television situation.
Sakiewicz watched the Buffalo Bandits play the New England Black Wolves in a December preseason game in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He plans to come to Buffalo for a game in the near future.
The Bandits open their season Saturday at home against Calgary.
-- Budd Bailey