There will be lacrosse talk — professional lacrosse talk — today in Washington, D.C. Morley Kells will be there, and he doesn’t intend to do all the listening.
Kells, whose Brantford Warriors arrive Sunday to begin a four-game tour of the Western Lacrosse Association, said Friday he will meet today with Baltimore’s Dan Snyder of Main Events Sports, a promotional organization, and delegations representing 20 groups interested in forming a pro circuit on the Eastern Seaboard.
“I agreed to be part of the exploration,” said Kells, who says he still holds pro rights for Toronto from 1968, the year the sport attempted to go bigtime. “But I’ll be very blunt with them.” he said, pointing out that this time around backers will have to be prepared to stay in for five years. “I’ll go into it, but I intend to say ‘show me the color of your money.’ If there’s enough guys surely we can put together a strong six-team league.”
Snyder said groups will have to look at a ground floor budget of $125,000, but no, he hasn’t seen any money yet.
“There is interest, or else guys wouldn’t be coming down here,” he said. He named Syracuse, Baltimore, Buffalo, Boston and New York to join Toronto as possible sites.
The meeting isn’t likely to draw 20 people, however. Kells, as well as representing himself, will be on a fact finding mission for Seymour Knox of Buffalo and Bruce Norris of Detroit, both National Hockey League team owners.
“In 1968 it just wasn’t the right type of promotion,” said Snyder, who is hoping to convert field players to the boxla game. “We’ll have to build heroes and villains . . . we’re looking for people interested in promotion, very solid groups. At this stage, negotiations wouldn’t affect the WLA which jumped in with both feet in 1968, he said, as travel costs would be a big factor in forming the league. These trips west, a bonus 10 or 15 years ago, are now drudgery,” said Kells. “But to me it would be awful dull lacrosse if we didn’t make the trip.”
Kells, who announced his retirement after Warriors lost in four straight games to New Westminster Salmonbellies in last year’s Mann Cup final, said he returned “because I wanted to go out a winner. Regardless of the Circumstances, I still was a loser.”
The circumstances, he said, was the Canadian Lacrosse Association stepping in and allowing ’Bellies a player from Vancouver Burrards, Bob Salt, for the final.
Warriors open against the league-leading Burrards Monday at 8 at Pacific Coliseum. They are at Victoria Wednesday, New Westminster Thursday and Coquitlam Saturday.